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Wizards Release F Taj McCullough

The Wizards today released rookie forward Taj McCullough. The roster stands at 17 players (including injured G Gilbert Arenas and injured C Brendan Haywood) going into tonight's preseason game against the Pistons at Verizon Center.

By Ivan Carter  |  October 10, 2008; 11:31 AM ET
 
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Comments

After reading about Dee Brown's performance in Training Camp, watching him live in the scrimmage, watching one Preseason game (Detroit) and listening to another (Memphis) - I think he's earned a roster spot. - and that does not bode well for Juan Dixon.

If, indeed, Dee Brown has won a spot, that leaves only 1 roster spot open for:
Linton Johnson
Dermarr Johnson
Juan Dixon

Dixon may have the edge, because of his familiarity with the Princeton Offense, and the fact that Gilbert spoke up for him in the off-season... but Dermarr Johnson has outplayed Juan in Training camp.

Dermarr has also done extremely well in the two Preseason games... with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and a block in 17 minutes against Detroit - and 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 23 minutes against Memphis.

Whereas Juan Dixon has not played (injured calf).

Both Dixon and Johnson could help the Wizards by bringing bench scoring, but
Dermarr Johnson brings some things that Juan Dixon cannot. He's 6'9". He can play multiple positions (SG and SM, and in certain situations PF). He rebounds well, and plays solid perimeter defense. (Juan gambles). He can post up, and stroke from three.

I think he'll make the final roster decision very hard on Eddie.

Posted by: Rook | October 10, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"I think he'll make the final roster decision very hard on Eddie.

Posted by: Rook | October 10, 2008 12:21 PM "

If EJ is getting sweaty palms over the 15th person on the roster, then I don't think he has a true grasp of the predicament Les BouleS are in.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 10, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

It's really not much of a decision. Dixon would, at best, be 4th in the guard rotation (after Daniels, Stevenson, and Young). In all likelihood he'd be 5th (behind Brown) and slide down to 6th (or get cut) when Gilbert returns. Johnson would be, at worst, the 3rd string SF behind Butler and McGuire and could, conceivably, vault ahead of McGuire to the first SF off the bench.

If it's a question of actual need (and it should be) Johnson is the easy pick.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Why don't they drop McGuire? Then they can Keep DerMarr and Dixon. I wasn't too impressed with McGuire last year - he played much better in preseason than the regular season and I doubt other teams would even pick him up. They are just tied to him because we drafted him.

Posted by: NobodyBeatstheWiz | October 10, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

What are you talking about!?!?!?!? McGuire has way more potential than either of those two. I hope you are kidding. Have you seen him rebound, I guess not. I don't even think I have to justify this post.

Posted by: LooseCannon | October 10, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

McGuire can block shots too, and GASP play D. He is a keeper.

Posted by: TPC | October 10, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The only problem to releaseing Dixon is he has a partially guaranteed deal which if we let him go hits our precious salary cap. The fact that he stayed a free agent so long means to me that the market for him has dried up.

Posted by: straub21 | October 10, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Dixon scored 35 pts in a playoff game, for this team, and this coach. I think that is going to carry a bit more weight than performance in a preseason game when you're talking about the 15th roster spot.

Posted by: AndNone | October 10, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

A partially guaranteed deal generally means that if a player remains on the roster past a certain date (usually the midway point of the season) then his contract becomes guaranteed for the rest of the season. If he's cut before that date, then the team has no further financial obligation to him. Releasing Dixon before the start of the season has no impact on the cap.

The only thing that should carry weight when making the decision is who better fills the teams real needs. Right now, that's Johnson.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

jeesh, how long ago was that playoff game??

i love me some dixon, but he's been on what - three teams since then??

Posted by: hmmmmm | October 10, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"The only problem to releaseing Dixon is he has a partially guaranteed deal which if we let him go hits our precious salary cap. The fact that he stayed a free agent so long means to me that the market for him has dried up.

Posted by: straub21 | October 10, 2008 1:15 PM "

I believe that partially guaranteed contract is contingent upon him making the roster.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 10, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

BTW, the actual final decision about who to keep and who to cut belongs to the GM, not the coach.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Why don't they drop McGuire? Then they can Keep DerMarr and Dixon.
Posted by: NobodyBeatstheWiz | October 10, 2008 12:50 PM

They WON'T drop McGuire (or Pecherov, or Young, or any other Wizards player under contract) because his contract is guaranteed; as are ALL Standard NBA contracts.

In other words, they would still have to pay him, AND his salary would still count against the Salary Cap AND, more importantly, against the Luxury Tax.

Juan Dixon has a "partially guaranteed" contract - meaning that he has to make the team, otherwise he won't get paid. But if he makes the team, he's guaranteed a full-year contract. Same with Dee Brown.

Dermarr Johnson and Linton Johnson have "Training Camp" contracts - ie: not guaranteed AT ALL, unless they make the team.

The Wizards have to get down to 15 players by the time the Regular Season starts. Right now, they are at 17. Injured players count for roster spots, and against the Cap, and against the Luxury Tax.

Right now, the Wizards have 13 players with Guaranteed Contracts:
1. Arenas
2. Stevenson
3. Daniels
4. Young
5. McGuire
6. Butler
7. Blatche
8. Jamison
9. Songaila
10. Haywood
11. Thomas
12. McGee
13. Pecherov

They have 2 players with "Partial Guaranteed" contracts (they have to make the team):
1. Dee Brown
2. Juan Dixon

They have 2 players with non-guaranteed "Training Camp" contracts:
1. Linton Johnson
2. Dermarr Johnson

I believe that Dee Brown has locked up the 14th roster spot.... He's the only healthy, true Point Guard on the roster besides Daniels. Another reason is that he's played extremely well in Training Camp and during the Preseason Games - so he's earned it.

That leaves ONE (1) roster spot - and three players fighting for it:
Juan Dixon
Linton Johnson
Dermarr Johnson

My post above explains why I think Dermarr Johnson is the best candidate for that 15th, and last roster spot.

Posted by: Rook | October 10, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Kal and Rook, I've been thinking the same thing on and off, let go of Juan and hang onto Demarr. The Wiz could use a swingman off the bench, especially how thin they might be at the 3 if (or maybe when) Caron goes down with an injury this year. They don't need another short guard who can't play d.

You have McGuire at the 3, but he's still very green. You can put Blatche there, but with Haywood out he's more likely manning the 5 with Etan. So Dermarr would seem the better pickup for that 15th roster spot.

Problem is, where's that catch-and-shooter who can come off the bench? Juan provides that, in fits and starts. Not so sure about Johnson.

Tough call, but DCMan is right, the Wiz have bigger problems than who to keep for the 15th spot.

Posted by: Prazak | October 10, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Dee Brown had better make the team...my customized #17 Brown jersey is on it's way to me!

Posted by: kebzach | October 10, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Problem is, where's that catch-and-shooter who can come off the bench? Juan provides that, in fits and starts. Not so sure about Johnson.

Tough call, but DCMan is right, the Wiz have bigger problems than who to keep for the 15th spot.

Posted by: Prazak | October 10, 2008 1:44 PM

I'm not thinking of him as the 15th guy on the end of the bench... I believe Dermarr could fight his way into the regular rotation; either replacing McGuire as the backup SF, or replacing Young as the backup SG.

Dermarr can be that "catch-and-shoot" guy (his shooting percentages are the same as Juan's).... but he can also be that "post up the smaller guard" guy....

Posted by: Rook | October 10, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Demarr Johnson better make this team. He is much better than linton or juan. I also would like to cut Pecherov.....i don't care if his contract is guaranteed. he is the worst basketball player I have ever seen in my life. I would keep juan and demarr and give pecherov and linton the boot.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

demarr Johnson was starting for the nuggets like 2 or 3 years ago. He can definitely find a spot in our rotation.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I also would like to cut Pecherov.....i don't care if his contract is guaranteed. he is the worst basketball player I have ever seen in my life. I would keep juan and demarr and give pecherov and linton the boot.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2008 2:39 PM

So, if you were the GM, you wouldn't mind cutting Pecherov and his guaranteed $1.1 Million contract (that still counts against the Salary Cap, and Luxury Tax, even if you cut him).... and sign both Juan and Dermarr ...

I assume you mean you'd sign them for the Vet Minimum.... about $1.1 Million each... Which means you'd be approximately $1 Million over the Luxury Tax.

So I assume you're OK with paying the dollar-for-dollar TAX - and forfeiting the Tax payment at the end of the year. A payment that could be worth between $3 - $4 Million dollars....

So - then, you must think that Juan and/or Dermar is worth $5 or $6 Million dollars per year?

Posted by: Rook | October 10, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, Rook. I guess I'm just worried about outside shooting.

It'll be interesting to see what Ernie decides.

Posted by: Prazak | October 10, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"But if he makes the team, he's guaranteed a full-year contract. Same with Dee Brown."

Not necessarily. There's an in-season date by which partially guaranteed deals become guaranteed by the end of the season (not sure when it is, it may be sometime around the all-star break). It's possible (that even if one of them makes the team, their deals won't be guaranteed until that date.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss a memo? Are Nick Young, Caron Butler, Deshawn Stevenson, and Antawn Jamison no loner on the roster? If so, I'm not sure where where all of this "concern" over outside shooting is coming from. Because, between them, I think they have outside shooting covered, at least to extent that Juan Dixon's quite limited services are not vitally required.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Kal, I said off the bench. You listed three starters and Nick Young.

The first unit has a couple of outside shooters in Antawn and Deshawn. I wouldn't call Caron a consistent 3-point threat just yet, and Deshawn seems to go in streaks.

Off the bench, Nick Young is not much of an an outside threat, or any kind of threat (so far).

Posted by: Prazak | October 10, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Deshawn seems to lose his shooting touch this year. In two preseason games, he shot 4 for 16. Last I checked .25 FG% does not qualify as "shooter" in NBA.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"I wouldn't call Caron a consistent 3-point threat just yet."

But you would call Dixon one? Really?

"and Deshawn seems to go in streaks."

And Juan Dixon doesn't?

"Off the bench, Nick Young is not much of an an outside threat, or any kind of threat (so far)."

Last season Nick Young (A) led all rookies in 3 pt shooting % (B) shot pretty much the same percentage as Dixon (40% vs. 41%) and (C) attempted more 3 pointers per game than Dixon.

So, again, the idea that Dixon fills some desperate need for outside shooting that isn't met by assets already available to the team is simply untrue.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

EDIT: I mistyped. Young and Dixon actually attempted the same number of 3 pointers/gm (1.3/gm).

Young also played more mpg than Dixon, shot a better overall percentage and FT%, and got to the line 3 times as often as Dixon, so if he's "not much" of "any kind of threat" then Dixon is even less of one.

And it's not like I'm a big Nick young fan.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Not necessarily. There's an in-season date by which partially guaranteed deals become guaranteed by the end of the season (not sure when it is, it may be sometime around the all-star break). It's possible (that even if one of them makes the team, their deals won't be guaranteed until that date.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 2:58 PM

__________________________________________


Usually that guaranteed contract date is somewhere around January 10th.

Posted by: kebzach | October 10, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

D*mn, Kal. I didn't say Juan Dixon was a "consistent 3-point threat". I said he can provide outside scoring in fits and starts.

The Wiz were ranked something like 19th in the league in 3-point shooting last year. Roger Mason led the way, and he's gone. Wouldn't you agree that the need for an outside shooter coming off the bench is more acute as a result?

The Wiz have one roster spot left (assuming Dee Brown is on) and at least two obvious needs: another body at SF and an outside threat off the bench. Nick's 3-point % might be comparable to Juan's, but he's still very green all the way around. Don't you think having a second guy off the bench who can shoot the 3 in the 40%+ range would be a good thing to have?

So would having another solid body behind Caron. I think it's a close call, and it'll be interesting to see what Ernie decides to do with that last spot.

Posted by: Prazak | October 10, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know what channel the game is on?

Posted by: bullets_0000 | October 10, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

If the money was equal, would you all rather have DerMarr Johnson, Domonic McGuire, or Linton Johnson?

Posted by: NobodyBeatsTheWiz | October 10, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Not necessarily. There's an in-season date by which partially guaranteed deals become guaranteed by the end of the season (not sure when it is, it may be sometime around the all-star break). It's possible (that even if one of them makes the team, their deals won't be guaranteed until that date.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 2:58 PM

Unless that player signs a "Partially Guaranteed" contract that says the entire contract is guaranteed IF they make the team.

That must be what Dixon and Dee Brown have signed - otherwise why call them "Partially Guaranteed" contracts.... vs guys like Dermarr Johnson who has a "Training Camp contract".....

MOST Contracts in the NBA today are fully guaranteed. There are perhaps a some here or there that are not, and the team can release those player by January 10th without incurring the remaining contract costs. But those contracts are usually called "Non-Guaranteed" contracts.

So you can see why I assume that Dixon and Brown will have a fully guaranteed contract if they make the team.

Posted by: Rook | October 10, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

he Wiz have one roster spot left (assuming Dee Brown is on) and at least two obvious needs: another body at SF and an outside threat off the bench. Nick's 3-point % might be comparable to Juan's, but he's still very green all the way around. Don't you think having a second guy off the bench who can shoot the 3 in the 40%+ range would be a good thing to have?

So would having another solid body behind Caron. I think it's a close call, and it'll be interesting to see what Ernie decides to do with that last spot.

Posted by: Prazak | October 10, 2008 6:19 PM

Prazak - Juan Dixon and Dermarr Johnson have very similar 3-point shooting % (within a few 10ths of a percentage points) , except that Juan is considered a "streaky shooter" and Johnson is considered a bit more consistent.

Johnson's True Shooting Percentage however, is much higher. (57% vs 51% for Juan). TSP is a much better way to judge a shooter than just SP. It takes into account fouls drawn, 3-pointers count extra, etc... A TSP over 50% is good, over 60% is excellent.

Dermarr Johnson also has a better career PER (18.0 vs 11.25 for Juan).. Player Efficiency Rating is John Hollinger's overall rating of a player’s per-minute statistical production. The league average is 15.00 every season.

Posted by: Rook | October 10, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

"Unless that player signs a "Partially Guaranteed" contract that says the entire contract is guaranteed IF they make the team.

That must be what Dixon and Dee Brown have signed"

Says who? All we know is that they signed partially guaranteed contracts. That term applies to more than one kind of deal and it was never specifically reported which kind they signed.

"- otherwise why call them "Partially Guaranteed" contracts.... "

Because, as I believe I explained fairly clearly, teams can and do sign players to 1-year, partially guaranteed contracts whose guarantee date falls sometime at the midpoint of the season. If they're cut before that date, then the team owes them nothing. If not, then the entire year is guaranteed. Thus, it is "partially guaranteed."

"So you can see why I assume that Dixon and Brown will have a fully guaranteed contract if they make the team.

So you can see why I assume that Dixon and Brown will have a fully guaranteed contract if they make the team."

Not really.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

"D*mn, Kal. I didn't say Juan Dixon was a "consistent 3-point threat". "

No, but when I pointed out that they already have several players on the roster who could provide just that, you derided them as not being consistent, which implies a belief that Dixon is more consistent than what they have. Which, as I noted, he isn't.

He does one thing well and he doesn't even do that consistently well. And when he isn't doing that one thing, he doesn't do anything of real value.

"The Wiz were ranked something like 19th in the league in 3-point shooting last year. Roger Mason led the way, and he's gone. Wouldn't you agree that the need for an outside shooter coming off the bench is more acute as a result?"

A reliable, consistent 3 point shooter? Maybe. An unreliable, inconsistent 3 point shooter who brings nothing else to the table? No.

"Don't you think having a second guy off the bench who can shoot the 3 in the 40%+ range would be a good thing to have?"

Not if playing him means taking minutes (or a roster spot) away from someone who brings more to the table than a shaky jump shot.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I hope DEE makes the team!!

Posted by: michael12 | October 10, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

A partially guaranteed deal generally means that if a player remains on the roster past a certain date (usually the midway point of the season) then his contract becomes guaranteed for the rest of the season. If he's cut before that date, then the team has no further financial obligation to him. Releasing Dixon before the start of the season has no impact on the cap.

Posted by: kalorama | October 10, 2008 11:15 PM

Nope - sorry. "Non-Guaranteed" contract is the terminology used when someone is signed and not guaranteed a full year contract. With a Non-Guaranteed contract, the player can be released any time up to January 10th, and the remainder of the contract is void. The team does not have to pay the remainder of the contract, and the remaining dollars do not count against the Cap or Tax.

A "Partially Guaranteed" contract is the terminology used when it stipulates the contract will become fully guaranteed once the player meets certain criteria (like or making the final roster). OR, that some part of the overall contract is guaranteed (ie: $2Million of a $5Million contract is guaranteed)... However, the guarantee cannot be less than the Veteran Minimum.

Since both Juan Dixon's contract and Dee Brown's contracts were reported as "Partially Guaranteed if they make the squad"... and since it was reported that both had signed for the Vet minimum - then it is obvious to everyone EXCEPT YOU that in order to get paid, they have to make the roster.

Either Brown or Dixon (or both) can be released prior to the final roster, and the Wizards will owe nothing; and they would save the room under the Luxury Tax.

So - if they wished to do so, the Wizards could release Juan Dixon, and use his salary slot to sign Dermarr Johnson or Linton Johnson.

further info: If the Wizards had signed Juan Dixon to a 2-year multi-million dollar deal, then I could see your argument about "partially guaranteed". The "partial guarantee" might relate to the first year being guaranteed, but not the second.... or perhaps, some portion of the overall salary being guaranteed. However, remember, the Wizards cannot go under the Veteran Minimum - ie: they cannot guarantee only $200K of the salary, because it is under the Vet Minimum - that would be against the rules of the CBA.

Since Dixon signed a 1-Year Veteran Minimum contract, the reported "Partial Guarantee" has to relate to meeting certain criteria. ie: making the squad.

Posted by: Rook | October 11, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I tried to look up DeMarr Johnson's NBA highlights on YouTube, but there weren't any.

Posted by: John Brisker | October 11, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Why don't they drop McGuire? Then they can Keep DerMarr and Dixon. I wasn't too impressed with McGuire last year - he played much better in preseason than the regular season and I doubt other teams would even pick him up. They are just tied to him because we drafted him.

Posted by: NobodyBeatstheWiz | October 10, 2008 12:50 PM

ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!!!!!!!!!!!! This is one of the dumbest posts I have seen on here in a long time and that's saying A LOT!

Posted by: virtueandvice | October 13, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

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