Wizards sign Shaun Livingston (updated)

November 15, 2012

I’m back! (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Updated, 8:15 p.m.: Shaun Livingston, the last player to start at point guard and wear No. 2 for the Wizards before the arrival of John Wall, has returned the franchise that helped revitalize his career three seasons ago.

The Wizards signed the lanky, 6-foot-7 point guard on Thursday to help them get by as Wall continues to miss time with a stress injury in his left knee.

Livingston became a free agent on Oct. 29, when the Houston Rockets cut him to clear roster spots and money after finalizing a deal with Oklahoma City for James Harden. He joined Houston in an offseason trade with Milwaukee, where he averaged 5.5 points, 2.1 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 58 games, including 27 starts.

In seven seasons, the 27-year old Livingston has career averages of 6.8 points, 3.5 assists and 2.6 rebounds.

Taken fourth overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2004 draft, Livingston had a promising career derailed by injuries, including a gruesome knee injury in February 2007 that had many wondering if he would walk again. He missed most of the next two seasons rehabilitating and bounced around to Miami and later Oklahoma City before finally finding a real opportunity in Washington.

With Flip Saunders giving him the ball and his former teammate Sam Cassell working with him after practice and before games, Livingston averaged 9.2 points and 4.5 assist in 26 games. He left that offseason to sign a three-year deal worth $7.5 million with Charlotte.

“We are obviously familiar with what Shaun brings both on and off the court based on his previous time here and we’re confident that he will be a positive addition to our team,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said. “His size and playmaking ability will give us more flexibility in the back court.”

To make room for Livingston, the Wizards waived Jannero Pargo, who struggled in his role backing up A.J. Price. Pargo barely beat out Shelvin Mack for the final roster spot, with the Wizards elected to go with a 32-year-old veteran with playoff experience and a reputation for being a streaky shooter.

But after scoring a combined 16 points in the first two games against Cleveland and Boston, Pargo struggled mightily. He scored a total of five points on 2-of-19 shooting with six turnovers in the next five games.

In seven games, Pargo averaged 3.0 points and shot just 25 percent from the floor and 15 percent from three-point range.

Pargo was on the court as the Wizards staged another inspired fourth-quarter rally in Dallas, cutting a 22-point deficit to three in the final minutes. But with the Wizards down 101-98, Pargo perhaps expedited his exit when he looked off a red-hot and wide-open Cartier Martin and missed a potential tying three-pointer.

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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Michael Lee · November 15, 2012

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