Why three Wizards veterans want to stay in Washington

(John Dowling / courtesy the NBPA)
(John Dowling / courtesy the NBPA)

A few weeks ago, I talked to Wizards veterans Al Harrington, Drew Gooden and Garrett Temple about their time at Sportscaster U., the NBA Players Association’s summer broadcasting boot camp.

But I also talked to the three veterans about their NBA futures, which I forgot to mention at the time. So here you go.

“Right now, I think I want to play, but my body’s going to tell me the story,” said Harrington, 34, who had started working out again in the first week of June. “As  the summer goes along, I guess the Wizards will give me a deadline of letting them know….I don’t see myself playing anywhere else. I like what’s going on there, I like the environment. The cast of players we have there is perfect for me to be around.”

Gooden will be spending time in Montgomery County this offseason regardless of his NBA future, but he said “hopefully it’s in Washington.”

“I have a comfort level there like no other right now,” he said. “I can’t see myself wanting to go play with another team, to prove myself again for another coach in another organization, doing all those things again. I feel like what we did last year and the potential of what we could build on, I think that’s something I want to be a part of.”

“I’m going to talk about that when the time comes, talk to my agent, but I’d love to be back in Washington,” Temple said, echoing the others. “We have a good atmosphere, and they brought back [Randy Wittman], which was great. We have a chance to make an impact in the East, and I’d love to be part of that.”

Gooden, too, was glad the Wizards retained their coach.

“That’s great,” he said. “These are the steps you have to take to keep that nucleus together to be successful in years to come. I mean, that definitely played a big role in my decision if I was either going to come back to D.C. or not. There was a comfort level playing for these guys, playing for Randy. That makes my decision a lot easier.”

I also asked Gooden if he thought Harrington would return.

“Al is just joshing us,” Gooden said. “He’s just playing around. He loves the game too much. He’s pulling our leg. He’ll be back next year. He’s just trying to catch everybody off guard. Old-man tactics.”

By the way, if you’re curious, I asked Gooden if he has plans to visit his favorite North Bethesda supermarket.

“I’ll definitely go to Whole Foods,” he said. “I’ll be there every day, after my workout at L.A. Fitness.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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