Brian Cook wasn’t excited about the prospect of joining the Wizards when the Los Angeles Clippers traded him last March. He sought a buyout before deciding to stick around for the rest of the season.
Cook received interest from “three or four other teams,” Bartlestein said, “but he really felt good about the way things finished up with the Wizards. He really enjoyed playing for [Coach Randy Wittman] and with the guys on the team and they kind of expressed the same thing to him. And as we were looking at different things, he wanted to go back. He had a comfort level. He’s back and hopefully, it will work out great.”
The Wizards will enter training camp with 18 players and one roster spot up for grabs – if the team elects to enter the season with the maximum 15 players. Cook, big men Shavlik Randolph and Earl Barron, and point guard Steven Gray all signed training camp deals and Shelvin Mack has a partially guaranteed-contract but the remaining players are all signed to guaranteed deals.
Cook averaged 3.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16 games with the Wizards. Though used sparingly, he had a season-high 10 points and nine rebounds in a loss to Indiana on April 4. After the season, Cook explained his initial apprehension about the deal and how his opinion changed shortly after arriving.
“I think when I got here, all the guys, I could see that they wanted to win,” Cook said in April. “If you want to have a good team, everybody has to do their part. I don’t care if it’s the first guy coming in, the starters down to the 15th guy. You’ve got to be professional. You’ve got to play together, and I think that’s what we started doing.”
Cook, 31, has established a reputation as stretch four in his nine-year career and he has a career three-point percentage of 38.2 percent. He shot just 20 percent (10-50) from long distance last season with the Clippers and Wizards. He has also played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando and Houston.
Cook had hoped to return to the playoffs last season after not making an appearance since 2009, but he described his six-week run with the Wizards as gratifying in spite of its shortcomings.
“I don’t think we’ll ever forget it. We had a lot of guys that came in, 10-day guys that came in and we all knew our strengths and weaknesses, and we just tried to play hard and play the right way. That’s by sharing the ball and being a great team,” Cook said after the season. “I had a great month and a half here. These guys, they’re all really good guys. They’re all competitors. They all competed, and hopefully I’ll see them again sometime soon.”