Before Brian Cook joined the Wizards in Memphis, the veteran big man considered seeking a buyout in order to join a playoff team. The Wizards were even willing to accommodate his desires if Cook was able to find a spot elsewhere, with the team planning to give more minutes to its younger players.
But Cook’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said this week that his client doesn’t plan to actively pursue a buyout by Friday’s deadline for the rest of his $1.3 million salary. According to a league source, the Wizards haven’t had any discussions with Cook or his representatives about a buyout.
“He likes it there,” Bartelstein said.
Coach Randy Wittman didn’t hesitate to use Cook on Sunday against the Grizzlies with Andray Blatche struggling, and Cook responded by hitting a three-pointer in the fourth quarter as the Wizards made a run to tie the game. And in the past few days, Rashard Lewis has experienced a setback in his left knee and Blatche has had problems with his conditioning, creating an opportunity for Cook to play and contribute — something he didn’t get the chance to do with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Maurice Evans, who played with Cook with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Orlando Magic, said he believes Cook will be able to help the Wizards.
“Brian Cook is a player who can stretch the floor. We need that as a 4 again that can stretch the floor take some of the pressure off of John Wall in pick and roll,” Evans said.
Though he rarely played, Cook admitted this week that he was upset about being dealt at the deadline from the Clippers to a team that is headed to its fourth consecutive lottery appearance.
“It sucks that I had to come down here, but at the same time I’m happy to be around this organization,” Cook, 32, said this week about leaving the Clippers. “It was tough. It all happened pretty quick. I was there last year when we didn’t have a good team, we didn’t have a good record. We had a lot of young guys, kind of similar to what these guys have. I was there to help those guys get through. With the team this year, they just got a lot of veterans that came in with Chauncey [Billups], Caron [Butler], [Chris Paul]. I mean those guys are all stars, great, great players. Any time you have that type of veteran leadership you’re going to have a good team.”
Back in a similar situation as the year before, with a young team sorely in need of some guidance, Cook, a nine-year veteran, said he is willing to provide some leadership. Cook vowed to make the best of his situation, and offered some assistance to his teammates, sharing what he saw to John Wall during the loss to the Grizzlies.
“I think you just be positive,” Cook said. “Just be positive and I know Nene’s a positive guy. I’m a positive guy and we’ve both had ups and downs in this league, and just being positive and having the heart to fight on another day. I think that’s what these guys need right now. They’re young, they’ve had a losing season and every time you go out there you’ve got to fight.”
“It’s a crazy business. I like Ernie [Grunfeld]. I like the coaching staff here. Right now I’m a Washington Wizard and it’ll be good,” Cook said.