Wizards reach deal with former Virginia Commonwealth star Eric Maynor

The Wizards have agreed to a deal with free agent point guard and former Virginia Commonwealth star Eric Maynor on a multi-year deal, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but it is believed to be a two-year deal worth the bi-annual exception (roughly $2 million), with a player option on the second year.

Maynor confirmed the agreement on Twitter: “I appreciate all the love n support y’all…..I’m excited to be signing wit the Wizards……#Blessed.”

Maynor addresses one of the team’s primary offseason goals to find an upgrade at backup point guard for John Wall. The 6-foot-3 Maynor became an unrestricted free agent last week when the Portland Trail Blazers declined to extend him a qualifying offer worth $3.4 million.

In four seasons with Utah, Oklahoma City and Portland, Maynor, 26, has averaged 4.5 points and three assists. He missed most of the 2011-12 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and lost his job this season to Reggie Jackson. After a slow start in Oklahoma City, Maynor rebounded after getting traded to Portland, where he averaged 6.9 points and 4.0 assists while shooting 38 percent from beyond the three-point line as a backup to rookie of the year Damian Lillard.

The Wizards were seeking a veteran backup after struggling last season in the absence of Wall. A.J. Price, Jannero Pargo, Shaun Livingston, Jordan Crawford, Shelvin Mack and Garrett Temple all took turns playing point guard but the team was just 5-28 before Wall returned to help the team finish the season on 29-53.

Maynor won’t be able to officially sign his deal until July 10, when the NBA’s moratorium on free agent signings is lifted. His signing probably ensures that Price will have to seek employment elsewhere, but the team remains interested in bringing back the 6-6 Temple because of his versatility and ability to defend multiple positions.

The first ever first-round pick from VCU, Maynor was among several reserve point guards the Wizards targeted on the first day that teams could begin negotiations with free agents. They also expressed interest in Beno Udrih, Darren Collison and John Lucas III. Maynor would provide a change-of-pace contrast to the speedy Wall, who pushes the tempo and attacks the basket. In Oklahoma City, Maynor was the primary backup to all-star point guard Russell Westbrook and helped the Thunder reach the Western Conference finals in 2011.

The Wizards consider retaining Martell Webster as their top priority and would use most, if not all, of the mid-level exception to bring him back. Webster spoke with the Wizards on Monday after visiting with members of the trainer staff the day before for a checkup after having surgery for a sports hernia last May.

With Maynor agreeing to terms, the Wizards’ roster would increase to 11. Second-round pick Glen Rice Jr. would push the roster to 12. And if Webster and Temple come back, the Wizards would only have one roster spot available.

Former Wizard Andray Blatche has agreed to return to the Brooklyn Nets for $1.4 million, according to multiple published reports. He will earn close to $9 million under a complicated formula for amnestied players, but his signing only provides a slight reduction from the $7.8 million that the Wizards will still pay him.

If Blatche had signed for more money, the financial hit for the Wizards would’ve been lessened. In Brooklyn, Blatche will become teammates with Kevin Garnett, whom he famously sparred with verbally late in the 2009-10 season.

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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Michael Lee · July 1, 2013