Marcus Thornton played just 14 games with the Washington Wizards last season, but over that short time, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard expressed great interest in coming back to the team. Part of the reason, Thornton said, was because he felt Wizards’ front office personnel were forthright in communicating with players.
Both he and the club officially reunited on Thursday when the club announced Thornton had been re-signed. He agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum earlier this month.
“At the end of the season, that was my goal, to re-sign back with the Wizards,” Thornton said in a telephone interview on Friday. “They’re genuine people, trustworthy people in everything they said. Everybody has been great with me. Everything they said they were going to do they did. Throughout my career I haven’t had that. Loyalty is big with me, and I wanted to be back there.”
Thornton averaged 8.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16 minutes per game last season after being signed as a free agent on March 9. He was nearly traded from the Houston Rockets to the Detroit Pistons at the trade deadline, but after the deal was voided because the Pistons found issues with forward Donatas Motiejunas during his physical, Thornton was bought out and signed with the Wizards.
His primary role will be as a backup to Bradley Beal, who signed the most lucrative deal in franchise history earlier this week. With career averages of 12.3 points in 23.8 minutes per game, Thornton, 29, is expected to help fortify a second unit that struggled to score when John Wall was out of the lineup last season.
“Marcus is a proven veteran who gives us experience and scoring off the bench and will add depth at the two-guard position,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement.
Both Beal and Wall are continuing to recover from injuries that nagged them last season. Wall had surgery on both knees, and Beal played a career-low 55 games while dealing with a stress reaction in his right fibula that has plagued him throughout his four seasons in the NBA.
Also nursing ailments last season were, among others, center Marcin Gortat and small forward Otto Porter Jr., both starters.
“Last year, I wasn’t there that long, but we had a lot of injuries,” Thornton said. “I think once everybody gets healthy, we should be a team to be reckoned with. I feel like everybody is coming into this season with a chip on their shoulder. I like that. We feel like we’re kind of being left out this year, and that’s a feeling I love to have because everybody is going to work hard, and we’re going to get it done.”