The Washington Post

Wizards’ Martell Webster not overly sentimental about his time in Minnesota

(Associated Press) Martell Websterspent two injury-plagued seasons in Minnesota. (Associated Press)

His time in Minnesota was perhaps more memorable for his wacky Mohawk than his proficiency from long range. And as he attempted a jumper on the same Target Center court that he called home for two seasons, Wizards swingman Martell Webster didn’t waste any time trying to be overly sentimental.

“It’s another city,” Webster —  maestro of the four-point play — said before Wednesday’s morning shootaround in Minneapolis. “The fans were great. I loved my teammates. Nothing super special.”

Webster didn’t have many fond memories of his time with the Timberwolves because he spent a good amount of it on the inactive list while recovering from two back surgeries. He missed 55 of a possible 148 games as he recovered from his lower back injury, and rarely felt healthy when he did see the floor.

After scoring just 6.9 points and connecting on a career-low 33.9 percent from the floor, Webster was eventually bought out for $600,000 in order for the Timberwolves to avoid paying his full $5.7 million salary.

The Timberwolves sought financial and/or draft reimbursement from the Portland Trail Blazers for failing to fully disclose Webster’s health ailments when the two teams made a trade in July 2010. While terms of the settlement were never publicized, a Timberwolves spokesperson said the two teams “have resolved this matter amicably.” Webster was not involved in the dispute.

“If I wasn’t injured, I’d still be here,” said Webster, who signed a one-year deal worth $1.6 million last August with the Wizards. “That’s just part of the game. Things happen. Organizations want results right way. Sometimes you don’t get them. They move on.”

Webster has since cut his hair to a more traditional look and exceeded expectations in Washington, where he has emerged as a starter and is averaging a career-high 10.8 points. The former sixth pick of the 2005 NBA draft, Webster ranks second in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage (45.2) and leads the league with seven four-point plays.

The Wizards may need more from Webster with rookie Bradley Beal likely unable to play against the Timberwolves. Coach Randy Wittman plans to lean more on Webster and Trevor Ariza in Beal’s absence, with Cartier Martin also expecting to receive more playing time.

“We got to rally,” Webster said. “One of our soldiers has gone down and been a vital addition to the team. When one of the faces of the franchise goes down, everybody has to step up and fill that void. Doesn’t mean somebody needs to step out of their comfort zone and absolutely do something they’re not comfortable doing. Just means they have to do a little bit more of what they’re doing. It always hurts for one of your teammates to go down, but it’s an opportunity for everybody to step up.”

After shootaround, Webster did sneak away down to Minnesota’s practice facility to catch up with former coaches Rick Adelman and Terry Porter and also huddled for a while with ex-teammate Kevin Love.

“It’s no ill-will or anything. I don’t have a grudge or hatred for the team at all,” Webster said of the Timberwolves. “It’s just the nature of the game. People want performance and have expectations and if they are not met, then they change criteria.”

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.



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Michael Lee · March 6, 2013