In their efforts to revamp their roster after a fourth consecutive lottery appearance, the Wizards traded Rashard Lewis, cut Andray Blatche and only brought back one of their six free agents entering the offseason – Cartier Martin. Roger Mason Jr. signed with New Orleans. James Singleton signed with Xinjiang in China. Morris Almond signed in Serbia.
Veterans Maurice Evans and Brian Cook remain unemployed – but both have received interest from the Wizards.
Cook, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the trade deadline deal involving Nick Young, has even been extended an invitation to training camp, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.
The Wizards hope to hear back from Cook by next week, with training camp set to begin at George Mason on Oct. 2, and a source close to Cook said an agreement on a non-guaranteed deal could be reached by later this afternoon.
Cook, 31, has career averages of 5.5 points and 2.6 rebounds and he produced 3.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16 games with the Wizards last season. He has also been in contact with Phoenix. When the season ended, Cook said he hoped to get another opportunity in the league: “You never know in this business. I’m just going to keep on working like I do every summer, come into training camp trying to win a position. I’ll work my tail off, and come back in great shape and be ready for another one.”
Evans, 33, was under consideration for several roles within the organization – as a player, an assistant coach or even as a front office executive. After graduating with a degree in education from the University of Texas in the summer of 2011, Evans said he had given consideration to life after basketball. But he told USA Today on Friday that his desire now is to keep playing.
“I see myself in that kind of role,” Evans told the newspaper of being an executive. “I just don’t see it quite yet. I still have value as a player and look forward to playing this season.”
A league source confirmed the USA Today report that the Wizards discussed Evans taking a role within the organization and added that the possibility remains. Evans is a vice president for the players union and played an essential role in helping both sides reach a compromise and avoid losing the entire season.
Evans was used sparingly last season, averaging just 4.9 points in 24 games, but he was credited with providing a professional attitude and leadership for the Wizards’ young roster, notably Jordan Crawford. He became less of a priority as a player after the Wizards acquired Trevor Ariza and re-signed Martin, but he was forced to look elsewhere after the team added Martell Webster. The Wizards have four small forwards on the roster with Chris Singleton returning after starting 57 games last season.
The Wizards have 17 players on their training camp roster and roster spot available, which would probably be used to provide the team with more depth up front, if the team decides to go with 15 players. Ariza, Martin, Webster, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely, John Wall, Shavlik Randolph, Shelvin Mack and Stephen Gray have all been working out at Verizon Center in the past week.