The Wizards entered training camp with 15 players under contract and a payroll nearly $1 million below the luxury tax, so Josh Childress, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Xavier Silas would’ve needed extraordinary performances in the preseason to force the organization to make room for one of them.
In the past month, the trio had the opportunity to join the team for the first NBA game in Brazil, develop friendships and occasionally try to show off for the Wizards and other teams around the league. But none left a strong enough of an impression to stick around in Washington.
On Thursday, the Wizards waived Childress, Mensah-Bonsu and Silas.
Silas announced his release on Twitter and wrote: “I’m not worried about anything. I made some wonderful friends on this team. Got to experience Brazil to the fullest.. And scored  points in 10 minutes. I have my God, my family and my journey… But most importantly I have 0 regrets. Like Al Harrington just told me.. I’ll be back, SOON. A journey isn’t a journey without a journey.”
After the Wizards’ 101-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Wednesday’s preseason finale at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, the three players all expressed their gratitude for being a part of the team.
“It’s been a great experience,” said Silas, who averaged four points in three appearances. “We worked hard. I think we grew in the last few weeks. It was a fun time. Brazil was amazing. It was great.”
Childress, the sixth pick of the 2004 NBA draft, was hoping to work his way back into the league after getting cut by Brooklyn last December. During his time away, Childress completed his degree in sociology from Stanford.
In four exhibition games, Childress averaged two points and 2.5 rebounds. He also played for Atlanta and Phoenix and made a startling move to sign with Greece when he became a restricted free agent in 2008. But he returned to the NBA two years later.
“I think that, obviously, throughout the course of my career, I’ve been involved with numerous teams and I just take bits and pieces from each one and I really appreciate the opportunity from the organization,” Childress said. “It’s a great group of guys. In the right mindset, this team is really good.”
Mensah-Bonsu appeared in four games, scoring two points and grabbing five rebounds. A former George Washington standout, who last appeared in the NBA two seasons ago with New Orleans, believes that the Wizards have the talent to reach the postseason.
“I really do feel like, when everything is clicking, this is a playoff team,” Mensah-Bonsu said. “It’s a great opportunity. I glad that they was able to fit me to work with the guys and get the experience. I got to know some of the guys and got to play with them up close. I was able to get close to them on and off the court.”
Childress said he won’t forget his time with the team. “It was great,” Childress said of the experience. “To be the first NBA game in Brazil, it was a big deal. I think culturally, not for myself, but for a lot of guys, it was a great experience for guys, to see a different world, a different culture, so the NBA did a great job with that. Without a doubt, over the past month, guys have bonded. There are lot of guys I did not know before I got here and now we’re friends and we’ll keep in touch throughout the year and in the summer.”