October 31, 2014

Washington Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld discusses Crawford trade

Audio courtesy Sky Kerstein

The Washington Wizards traded guard Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. In exchange, the Wizards received injured forward Leandro Barbosa and center Jason Collins, with the contract for both players expiring at the end of the season.

Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld met with the media at Verizon Center Thursday evening to explain his rationale for the trade.

“Jordan did not fit into our current plans . . . or our future plans,” Grunfeld said during the press conference. “At this time, we thought it was in the best interest of everyone if we make this trade. It will be a good situation for Jordan. He might get an opportunity to go to a better team and help them and it will allow us to continue on the path that we’re trying to build in the locker room, with work ethic and team play, where everybody is on the same page and wanting to play for the same reasons. Being unselfish offensively and playing good, aggressive defense.”

To hear all of Grunfeld’s remarks, please click the link below.

02-21-13 Ernie Grunfeld Presser RAW

Washington Wizards trade Crawford for expiring contract but larger problem continues

The Washington Wizards today traded out-of-favor shooting guard Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics for injured forward Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa has an ACL injury and is out the rest of the season. The Washington Post reports that the Wizards could receive another player in the deal.

[EDIT: The second player is C Jason Collins (1.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 34.8 fg% this season), according to Yahoo! Sports.]

Crawford, 24, has played in 43 games this season for the Wizards, and is averaging 13.2 points and 3.7 assists per game.

Barbosa, 30, is a career 12-point per game scorer, but will miss the remainder of the NBA season due to an ACL injury sustained earlier in February. Barbosa signed a league-minimum $1.2 million contract with the Celtics that expires at the end of the season. [Read more...]

OPINION: Jordan Crawford’s days with Washington Wizards appear to be numbered

The end of Jordan Crawford’s days in a Washington Wizards jersey are coming and if people needed any proof, they can look at last night as the climax of an end to Crawford’s eventful stay in the Red, White and Blue.

With his posture on the bench defined as at a constant 45-degree angle, Crawford failed to stay engaged in what was happening on the floor, failed to even attempt to become apart of team huddles during timeouts and in my opinion looked like he was more interested in making sure his towel stayed in place than in determining how he could help his team win. Add his behavior during the game up with the fact he threw his jersey into the stands, stormed out of the locker room before media could arrive and his cryptic tweets and you get a perfect storm for an unhappy player who wants to be traded.

After the game, I asked Head Coach Randy Wittman for a comment on Crawford’s current status with the team.

“He’s like any of our other 14 guys, he’s got to stay with it, his opportunity is going to come again,” Wittman said following last night’s loss. “Like any of the guys that doesn’t have the opportunity to play or be in the rotation, gotta be ready because it changes like that … [This season is too long] it is a test of your will and character and I look at those things when you’re building a team and who handles it the right way and who stays in it and stays ready.”

Clearly based on his posture alone, one could assume Crawford may not be handling it the right way. When pressed for more information, Wittman did not seem to want to discuss the matter more and said to me he didn’t see Crawford’s in game antics.

“Listen, I’m watching the game. You’re obviously not watching the game, you’re watching him. I can’t comment on that.”

With the trade deadline fast approaching and Crawford’s seeming lack of enthusiasm, it seems he could be a prime candidate to be moved. Sitting four points away from 2,000 and only playing limited minutes since he was pulled from a win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Crawford may not have a spot in the rotation. Wittman alluded to players with good attitudes getting second chances and based on Crawford’s current aura in front of the media, coupled with Wittman’s comments, it might be fair to say Crawford does not have that attitude.

The only players reportedly off limits are John Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene. Those are the pillars this organization is looking to build around and even though fans may have chanted for Crawford to enter the game last night, it does not appear there is room, at the guard spot at least, for him to play consistent minutes.

The biggest question for the Washington Wizards now may not be about whether Crawford can perform for them, but rather does anyone want him on their squad?

Listen here for audio of Wittman’s comments, courtesy of Sky Kerstein. His discussion of Crawford begins three-quarters of the way through the recording.

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Andrew Tomlinson is a Contributor to District Sports Page. He is a graduate of The American University and has experience covering the NCAA, WNBA, NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.  Andrew is a former staff writer for On Frozen Blog, where he spent three years covering the ups-and-downs of the Washington Capitals. You can follow him on Twitter @drew_tomlinson.

Washington Wizards Game 42 Postgame Audio: Nene “We Going To Shut Up People Mouth”

WASHINGTON–The Washington Wizards won their fifth straight home game for the first time since 2008 as they defeat the Chicago Bulls 86-73.  The Wizards have won seven of their last ten, largely because for the first time this season they’re fully healthy, and forward Nene had some words for all the early critics out there.

“I remember like in the beginning everybody say we sucks…now we going to shut up people mouth, that’s what we going to do.”

And they’re doing it as they defeat another likely playoff bound team.  This time it was done by defense as they held the Bulls to only 29 second half points.

“Couldn’t be any more proud of these guys,”  Head Coach Randy Wittman said about the defense.  “These guys defensively tonight were in tune. That’s what won the game.”

Wittman said he switched something defensively at the half, but wouldn’t divulge what. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game 41 Postgame Audio: Wittman, Wall, Nene & More

WASHINGTON–The Washington Wizards came home and kept their relatively good play going as they ran away from the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-101 and earned their tenth win of the season.

Wizards guard John Wall started his first game of the season and had 14 points and 5 assists in the win.

“I thought John Wall was ready after the road trip,”  Head Coach Randy Wittman said about Wall.  “We still have limited minutes with him, but I thought it was time. He has his legs under him a little, but he’s still not where he needs to be. I think another couple of weeks of conditioning to get his legs back, but I thought it was time to play with that unit. He hasn’t played a lot with those guys, but overall I think he did fine. He directed the offense very well and distributed a lot. It’s time for John to be back in the starting lineup; he’s the point guard of our team.”

John Wall was also happy with his effort.

“It feels good to be there, with the starters,”  Wall said.  “Just try to do the same, dictate the game…just try and lead my team and I think that’s what I did and got us to a big lead.”

Wizards center Nene summed up what this win means to them. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 41: Wizards extend home streak to four in win over Timberwolves

Who is this team and what have they done with the Washington Wizards? After having a fairly successful West Coast road trip, the Wizards returned home to down the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-101.

John Wall earned his first start of the year and added his energy, as well as spark, to the Wizards offense off the bat. Never trailing throughout the game, Washington yet again had five players in double-digits. Jordan Crawford led the offense with 19 points off the bench. Rookie Bradley Beal followed Crawford with 16 points of his own and led the team with a plus-24 rating. Nene, Martell Webster and Wall were the other three players in double figures. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 39: Wizards Top Trail Blazers 98-95 on Crawford’s Buzzer Beater

If you’re a Washington Wizards (9-30) fan who has held on throughout the course of the season thus far, Monday night’s 98-95 win over the Portland Trail Blazers (20-21) was your reward.

Jordan Crawford’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer well after midnight on the east coast proved enough to send Wizards fans to bed with a smile on their faces. So, too, was the somewhat clumsy – but hard-earned – celebration that commenced afterwards on the court.

But, while Crawford – who posted 13 points and one rebound in Portland – was undoubtedly the hero of the game, the true promise for celebrations to come rests not in the final seconds of Monday’s contest, but in the fact that the Wizards have learned to spread the wealth and move the ball.

In addition to Crawford, Martell Webster and Nene each tallied 24 points apiece. Nene added nine rebounds and five assists, and Webster another four rebounds and six assists. Emeka Okafor rounded out the double-digit crew with his eighth double-double of the season – which consisted of 13 points and 13 rebounds. Perhaps more telling was the fact that the Wizards added Monday’s win to the books without many offensive contributions from John Wall – who added just six points – and Bradley Beal – who posted just two. [Read more...]

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 30: Wizards Rack up Costly Turnovers in 89-81 Loss to Pacers

Despite battling back from a 17-point hole, the Washington Wizards (4-26) never once enjoyed a lead against Paul George and the Indiana Pacers (19-13) in their 89-81 loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Wednesday night.

George’s 29 points fell just four shy of the 33 posted by the Wizards’ entire starting five. He also tallied 14 rebounds and three assists on the night against a Wizards roster that has managed only one road win thus far this season.

Both Garrett Temple and Martell Webster failed to score a single point in 22 and 14 minutes of play respectively. Even more, not a single member of Washington’s starting lineup obtained a plus/minus in the positive range.

Despite the gruesome box score figures, it should be noted the Wizards showed resolve.

Jordan Crawford posted 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds against the Pacers and kicked off Washington’s 7-0 run to start the second quarter.

From then on, the Wizards held within eight points of the Pacers until just under four minutes before the half. Then, George answered for Indiana with his own personal 7-0 rout to give the Pacers a 10-point lead before Crawford’s layup made it 47-39 Indiana.

Neither team scored in the final 2:55 seconds of the quarter, which featured its fair share of turnovers and yet another offensive goaltending turnover by the Wizards.

Within the first four minutes of the third quarter, Bradley Beal’s layup pulled the Wizards within two points of catching the Pacers, but Washington closed out the quarter down 67-58.

Washington trailed by as many as 13 points well into the fourth quarter, until Shelvin Mack’s driving layup with 7:22 remaining sparked an unprecedented rally by the Wizards.

Crawford’s three free throws and Nene’s shot in the paint trimmed Washington’s deficit to 81-73.

With little over a minute to go, Beal started his own eight-point run, complete with a 28-foot three pointer to make it 85-81 Pacers.

However, the Pacers were perfect from the line in the final seconds of the game, as Indiana closed the book on the Wizards with a final score of 89-81.

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 27: Off the bench, Crawford leads Wizards to 105-97 win over Magic

At last, the Washington Wizards (4-23) have snapped their losing streak which reached eight games before Friday night’s 105-97 win over the Orlando Magic (12-17) at the Verizon Center.

Sure, the Magic are without Glen Davis, who sprained his left shoulder against the Wizards on Dec. 19. And yes, it was a little bizarre that the Verizon Center erupted into chants of “RGIII” in the fourth quarter for Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. But, to take the glass-half-full approach – at least Wizards fans found positive reasons to make noise, right?

The Wizards shot 47.7% from the field and went 15-17 on free throws. They turned the ball over only 11 times – compared with 20 times against the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night.

By day’s end, Crawford tallied 27 points, six rebounds and six assists against the Magic, who are riding their own four-game losing streak. Nene posted big numbers as well with 23 points, 11 boards and four assists.

Washington’s defense did little to slow the Magic in the first quarter. Orlando rocketed to a 15-4 start fueled by three Jameer Nelson three-pointers in a row. Luckily enough for the Wizards, Crawford and Garrett Temple delivered off the bench just as Nene and Kevin Seraphin seemingly mastered the art of sinking free throws.

With the Wizards trailing by just six, Crawford kept things close for D.C. by scoring nine points in the first six minutes of the second quarter.

It was not until much later in the quarter, however, that the Wizards finally took the lead. Down 49-44, Crawford scrambled down the court to pitch the alley-oop to Bradley Beal who slammed it in for the highlight reel. Then, Crawford and Temple sunk back-to-back threes to give the Wizards their first lead of the game, 52-51.

From there, they never gave it back. In fact, with 5:33 left in the third quarter, Seraphin sparked a 12-0 run for the Wizards to make it 78-63 Washington, but the Magic crawled back within eight by the buzzer.

Within the first two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, the Magic trimmed the Wizards’ lead to just four points. However, a flurry of Nene free throws and a pair of jumpers by Kevin Seraphin helped bring the Wizards back to a 92-80 lead.

With just over three minutes left in the game, the Wizards did something they haven’t done since their Dec. 4 win against the Miami Heat – they reached the century mark. When all was said and done, Washington proved it can hold a lead against a sub-.500 team by battling it out to get the 105-97 win.

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 26: Turnovers burn Wizards in 87-84 loss to Cavaliers

The Washington Wizards’ (3-23) 20 turnovers proved costly as the last-place team fell yet again, this time to Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers (7-23) by the score of 87-84 Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers entered the Boxing Day match-up with more losses than the Wizards, but even Santa himself couldn’t wrap up a win for an ailing team forced to start its days-old point guard due to a Jordan Crawford rules violation.

Crawford delivered 17 points and three rebounds off the bench, but reports indicated he was seated for the start due to his late arrival to Wednesday’s shootaround.

Whether or not starting Shelvin Mack sent the appropriate message to Crawford, Mack arose to the occasion soon enough.

In the first quarter, he grabbed a defensive rebound, which set Martell Webster up for an easy dunk to make it 15-10 Wizards. After Washington expanded their lead to 10 points, Mack provided Emeka Okafor with a similar opportunity, opening him up for a dunk to make it 22-10.

Okafor tallied eight of his 17 points on the evening in the first quarter alone. He also managed 10 rebounds and four blocks before day’s end.

With less than five minutes left in the quarter, it looked like the Wizards would make the most of the Cavaliers’ ugly shot attempts and the referees’ reluctance to blow the whistle.

That is, until Irving had something to say about it.

After sinking a technical free throw and a long jumper, Irving set up Tyler Zeller for a huge dunk to trim the Wizards’ lead to just 22-17. Irving’s two free throws to end the quarter trimmed the lead to just four as the Wizards maintained a 26-22 lead at the buzzer.

Despite Washington’s decent start, turnovers continued to cost the Wizards’ countless opportunities to add padding to their lead. Back-to-back-to-back bad passes by Nene, Cartier Martin and Nene again in the second quarter helped spark the Cavaliers’ offense – which, more or less, relied upon Irving, who led with 26 points and eight assists on the night.

Nevertheless, the second piece of Washington’s Christmas signings – Garrett Temple – kept the Wizards within two as he dropped the hammer with just seconds left in the half to make it 45-43 Cavaliers.

Surprisingly enough, the Wizards started the third quarter on a 12-0 run, which included back-to-back three-pointers by Mack.

But, it didn’t take long for Washington’s 62-53 lead to dwindle.

If earlier turnovers failed to indicate that the lead would not hold, Webster’s goaltending turnover – against himself – seemed to leave fans shaking their heads muttering, “Only on the Wizards…” Through traffic, Crawford managed a stellar pass to a wide-open Webster, but Webster drove for the dunk by grabbing onto the rim with his left hand and attempting to sink the ball with his right.

Rather than wowing the crowd, the play resulted in a whistle and no additional points for the Wizards.

It also seemed to awake the Cavaliers’ offense, which made it a tie game – 68 apiece – at the close of the quarter.

The Wizards managed to hold onto a narrow lead for several minutes into the fourth. With 5:11 remaining, however, the Cavaliers’ Alonzo Gee made a huge dunk – two-handed, to be safe – and Zeller followed up with a layup to make it a tie game at 79-79.

Dion Waiters sunk a huge three-pointer to give Cleveland an 82-79 lead with 3:35 left to play, but Okafor’s two-point shot brought the Wizards within one. With under a minute left, Okafor made one of two free throws to tie it, but Tristan Thompson answered with a go-ahead jumper and-1.

With just seconds left, Irving made the first of two free throws due to Temple’s personal foul, but immediately after, Crawford drew a foul himself and sunk both of his free throws.

Down to seconds left to play, Irving made it 87-84 on one last free throw, and Crawford’s missed buzzer-beater attempt from three-point-land allowed the Wizards to tie Cleveland in the loss column with 23 apiece.

The loss also enabled the Cavaliers to do what the Wizards have yet to accomplish all season – win two games back-to-back.

Additionally, the game marked Shaun Livingston’s return to the Verizon Center – in a Cavaliers jersey – but he did not play.

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