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Posted at 8:06 AM ET, 11/23/2010

Gee: Signing with Spurs was 'big decision'

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

Alonzo Gee understood that there was some risk when he decided to leave Washington after his second 10-day contract to join a playoff contender in San Antonio.

With the Wizards, Gee was assured playing time on an injury-ravaged and inexperienced team. But with the Spurs, Gee was presented the opportunity for some guaranteed money this season and the chance to learn how NBA champions like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker prepare for their craft.

"It was a big decision," Gee said on Monday after rejoining the Wizards when his stint with the Spurs ended with him getting waived last week. "I thought about it, because going to the Spurs, they was going to the playoffs. It was giving up playing time and sitting. I had to think about it."

Looking back on it all turned out, it's easy to say that Gee made a mistake, since he possibly could've used extended playing time in Washington to secure a guaranteed contract somewhere. But Gee saw the benefit in going to San Antonio. "Just how they approach the game, how everything is serious, everything is family like," he said. "It's just a great organization."

Gee just never got an opportunity to play, which led him back to the first organization that provided him an NBA platform. "I didn't know what was going on. But like I said, I'm glad to be here," Gee said. "It's over with and I got to get ready for the game" against Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Gee's decision to leave upset members of the Wizards' coaching staff, including Flip Saunders, who quickly became a fan of Gee's energy and hustle. He averaged 7.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11 games, scoring a career-high 19 points in his last game with the team.

His departure created an opportunity for Cartier Martin to replace him and eventually make the team this season. But when Gee cleared waivers last Thursday, the Wizards wasted little time in going after the 6-foot-6 swingman. Although Gee was signed to a non-guaranteed deal, Saunders hinted that Gee could be around for a while.

"We like what he did, his ability to get out in the open floor, really run, help defend. So I think he's a good match with the people that we have. He gives us something that we really don't have," Saunders said about Gee. "This is a situation, a guy that we liked. When you look in the future, you look to take guys that have a chance to be with you, whether it's this year, next year or the year after. I think a guy that we can develop in how we want to play, that he can fit in that role."

Gee may have taken a protracted route back to Washington, but he was all smiles on Monday. "It's good to be back in the system. Young players and we feel like we're going to get some stuff done here. It should be a lot of fun. They run, they move the ball and they looking to pass and they can score. It should be a good time."

FROM THE POST
John Wall is expected to return for tonight's game against the 76ers after missing four games with a sprained left foot.

Lester Hudson talks about getting waived.

AROUND THE WEB
Bullets Forever's Jake Whitacre looks at who stepped up in a Wall-less week.

In non-Wizards news, some local products have stepped back into the spotlight. Fanhouse's Charley Rosen analyzes last night's matchup between Kevin Durant's Thunder and Michael Beasley's Timberwolves. And CBSSports.com's Ken Berger talks to Delonte West about his bipolar disorder.

Hoopism offers an update of its entertaining NBA player visualization (mapping player statistics to physical attributes of simple, cartoon caricatures).

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has dinner with Kobe Bryant and discovers that he was mentored by Michael Jackson, not Michael Jordan, as an 18-year-old prodigy with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Miami flop? The Heat is struggling after consecutive losses to Memphis (huh?) and Indiana (what?). After a blowout loss to the Pacers, LeBron James says the team isn't having "fun."

National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter tells the New York Times that he is "99 percent sure" that there will be a lockout after this season.

By Michael Lee  | November 23, 2010; 8:06 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lester Hudson on getting waived: "It's a business"
Next: No official word on John Wall's status

Comments

"This is John's team. So when he gets back, everybody falls back into place. I'll be coming back off the bench as the sixth man, and then from there, we'll find our way."

Has Coach Gil informed Saunders of his decision??

Posted by: divi3 | November 23, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

The issue last year was never about EG not matching the partially guaranteed deal, it was that EG allowed Gee to become a free agent in the 1st place for the Spurs to even offer such a deal. My issue at the time had nothing to do with Gee the basketball player or with the Wizards not matching the Spurs offer, it was that it should never have gotten to that point. Bottom line, both Flip and EG wanted to keep Gee on a talent deprived team and EG let a deadline pass before extended Gee an offer that would have kept Gee on the Wizards for the rest of the season. With the deadline passed, Gee became a free agent and allowed the Spurs to swoop in with a deal. No matter how the EG defenders want to spin the saga, it was a goof plain and simple and brought into question his managerial and organizational skills.

Thanks WizStorm over at RealGM. Melodious Thunk was quick to provide some spin and cover on Ernie's behalf yesterday. I'm happy that we got a 2nd chance with Gee. We should now try to trade AT for scraps if we can.

Posted by: closg | November 23, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Glad we got Gee back. The wizards should win tonight. Actually, I've been hoping they'll keep losing so we can get another lottery pick but that look like it wont happen (Of course I may be wrong). Question to anyone here. I haven't been following Michael Beasley. Did the Wizards made a mistake by not getting him for free? Or he wouldn't had fit with the Wizards?

Posted by: demonj21 | November 23, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

A couple of things: I'm very impressed by Arenas' attitude towards his job. I think he finally gets it. Also, the acquisition of Alonzo Gee is the shot in the arm they need. This team has the potential to do big things by mid-season. However, they still have to pay their dues along the way. I can't wait to see the game tonight.

Posted by: carterm1 | November 23, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

To demonj21,

Personally I don't think that it would've been a good idea to bring Beasley back to this area. Too many distractions for him. He might be ready to play here in another 5 or 6 years but not now, he's too young.

Posted by: carterm1 | November 23, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Well, Gee took a risk and picked up a few $$. The article makes it pretty clear the decision was his alone. It's that family atmosphere at San Antonio that he mentions; maybe he was like the kid next door who sleeps over at your house for a while until your parents get tired of feeding him.

He's a much better fit for a club in the midst of a rebuild, like the Wizards.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 23, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Gee became a free agent and allowed the Spurs to swoop in with a deal. No matter how the EG defenders want to spin the saga, it was a goof plain and simple and brought into question his managerial and organizational skills

Wasnt the deadline a Sunday and the Wiz offered him a deal Monday morning? I seem to recall Flip saying publicly Gee would be with the team the rest of the year, then he was gone. If it was a case of mistakenly letting a deadline pass, that is a HUGE blunder for a GM.

Posted by: divi3 | November 23, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of desertions, looks like Shaun Livingston is averaging 16 minutes over 13 games in Charlotte -- 3.9 points, 1.6 assists, 1.1 TOs, 0.4 steals, 1.8 fouls.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 23, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"We should now try to trade AT for scraps if we can.Posted by: closg"

I assume you mean Al Thornton. Why would you trade that guy at this point in the season?

Posted by: Samson151 | November 23, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm just saying...He's OK for what he is, but he isn't going to be the guy that changes the Wiz history.

I don't think there is anyone who would disagree that Nick Young is not going change the franchise's history. Some folks are just pleased to see him finally coming around, which he clearly is. Credit Flip's coaching, then everyone can be happy

Posted by: divi3 | November 23, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

@divi3:

It's kinda sad. Gil doesn't know the power of the spoken word. He would be a lot better off keeping his mouth closed.

But, if he can put up 20 points and 8-10 assists, let's call him "Assistant Coach" Arenas!

Posted by: musicmanjr | November 23, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse


"Ernest soberly eyeballed Gee last spring and correctly surmised that, at this stage of his career, Gee was not worth a future partially guaranteed contract. Sadly the Spurs had to pay him guaranteed money before figuring out same. Is it now clear that Ernest is a man you NEVER want to play poker with? Even if he only had a pair of 3's, he would still cause a man with a royal flush to fold!"

Posted by: melodious_thunk | November 22, 2010 2:29 PM

That was true yesterday and it's still true today, haters.

Gee was under no obligation to robotically sign another contract with the Wizards without weighing his options (not to mention the fact that we all know that other teams will innocently "touch base" with an agent while an agent's player is still under contract to another team).

Gee likely knew he had a better deal coming from the Spurs while playing out his last few days of his 10-day contract and wisely took it. You can't blame Gee and you certainly cannot blame the master of his craft, one Ernest Grunfeld, for calmly assessing the situation and exercising restraint.

Closg (and other haters), you're off key by at least a semi-tone and you're dragging the tempo!

In Grunfeld We Trust!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | November 23, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

" If it was a case of mistakenly letting a deadline pass, that is a HUGE blunder for a GM.Posted by: divi3"

I don't actually remember what happened either. There were a lot of stories flying around. But if it wasn't the Wiz' fault, would that constitute a HUGE bit of rumor-mongering on your part?

Posted by: Samson151 | November 23, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I think old Gil's got this wrong.
What did Hinrich say about playing along side of Gil "He stretches the floor and opens the lane" or something?

Gil has shown he can play off the ball and as the lead guard. Gil should definitely start with Wall.


Posted by: bozomoeman | November 23, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Gee departed to SA and allowed us to use the roster spot to sign Martin. While Gee is more athletic, Martin is a better outside shooter. And Martin made the shot that allowed us to beat the Sixers. So it’s all good.

Thornton's play has gone down recently (shot 33% and averaged only 3 rebounds in the last 3 games). Maybe that's the reason we got Gee back (hope it's not related to Howard's prognosis, as the team claimed). Gee is more athletic, so hopefully he can defend the bigger forward and rebound better than Martin. With Wall coming back, Hudson would not see the floor, so it makes that he is the one who was waived.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 23, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

But if it wasn't the Wiz' fault, would that constitute a HUGE bit of rumor-mongering on your part?

Relax company man, I seriously doubt anyone in the org cares what is being posted here- especially in this case when it's just speculation on something posted elsewhere

Posted by: divi3 | November 23, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"Relax company man, I seriously doubt anyone in the org cares what is being posted here- especially in this case when it's just speculation on something posted elsewhere
Posted by: divi3"

Chill with the ad hominem putdowns. That tired technique of putting a question mark at the end of gossip is strictly Fox News-desk stuff. I'd like to say you're better than that, but...

Posted by: Samson151 | November 23, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

That tired technique of putting a question mark at the end of gossip is strictly Fox News-desk stuff

Sometimes a question is just a question.

Posted by: divi3 | November 23, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"This is John's team. So when he gets back, everybody falls back into place. I'll be coming back off the bench as the sixth man, and then from there, we'll find our way."

Has Coach Gil informed Saunders of his decision??

Posted by: divi3 | November 23, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

DIVI, this was the message that the coaching staff and organization wrongfully sent to the fans, the players and the media. They gave the kids the keys to the franchise and esientially diminished the worth of every other player on the team other than Kirk Hinrich. But after folks started t get healthy and realty has started to set in, I think everybpdy realies that we have some good ballplayers and the nucleus for rebuilding the franchise all along. There is no major epiphany in the play of Nick Young and Javale MCgEE except they have gotten an opportunity to play. Opportunity breeds confidence which allows players to play at their maximum level.

The other thing is that everyone is starting to grasp the fact that Arenas is a damn good ballplayer. This cat has played 32 games in 3 years and is now strating to shed the rust off. Any objective observer should notice a steady increase in his level of play as he gets healthier and more playing time. Our backcourt is as talented and deep as any team in the league with the biggest problem now is getting everyone to share playing time. Tonight shouldbe interesting.

The key to whether this team continues to progress rests on Andrae Blatche and whether he is committed to egtting in shape, working hard and scoring in the low post. Josh Howard is also critical because of Thornton's inconsistency.

Posted by: NewManagement | November 23, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Gee became a free agent and allowed the Spurs to swoop in with a deal. No matter how the EG defenders want to spin the saga, it was a goof plain and simple and brought into question his managerial and organizational skills

Wasnt the deadline a Sunday and the Wiz offered him a deal Monday morning? I seem to recall Flip saying publicly Gee would be with the team the rest of the year, then he was gone. If it was a case of mistakenly letting a deadline pass, that is a HUGE blunder for a GM.

Posted by: divi3

If it has been a failure to sign John Wall to his rookie deal, that would have been a huge blunder. If he failed to offer and extend McGee, you could call that a huge blunder. If the story is as you say it is (and I think that's what I recall as well was sort of the final story), it's a blunder, but I don't think failing to sign a guy who's at best a bench guy, and who you were arguing yesterday would have a hard time finding minutes, constitutes a huge blunder. EG goofed, no question (based on what we think we know), but it wasn't exactly catastrophic.

Posted by: ts35 | November 23, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

There is no major epiphany in the play of Nick Young and Javale MCgEE except they have gotten an opportunity to play. Opportunity breeds confidence which allows players to play at their maximum level.
Posted by: NewManagement

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Both players have been given extended opportunities in the past and have demonstrated inconsistent play. In both cases, in their recent play, both have exhibited greater and more focused effort.

Posted by: ts35 | November 23, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Last year at this time this was a team that really lacked the parts to play any kind of aggressive defense.

Ernie is collecting a cast of players that can defend, trap in the open floor, and get out and run on offense. Wall, Martin, Thorton, Booker, and Gee are all active defenders that can get out and run. And Hinrich's always had that rep as one of those gritty, grab your shorts, kind of guys that people hate to play against.

Lots of old coaches say that defense is like a disease, if you have a roster full of guys that play it, a new guy will catch right on and play it too, even if he's never played it before. There might be something to that, cause even Gil and Nick Young seem to have caught the bug too. Blatche might still be immune to catching it, but here's to hoping he gets the fever soon.

Down the road Seraphin could be that big assed power forward/center that you need on the boards to pair with an active big like McGee, who is kind of a hybred at the center position. So Ernie could have his replacement for Blatche in hand. Maybe Dray just spent too many years as Jamison's understudy to think D really matters much.

Big Ben had schooled McGee the last time they met and stymied Wall coming out and getting physical on the pick and rolls. It was really nice to see McGee bounce back with the kind of game he had against the Pistons, 16 bounds shows the kid IS getting it.

Overall, watching the game the other night in Detroit, it seems that Flip and Ernie are changing the way this team practices and plays. Gee is just another small part of that change...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | November 23, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

This team is very, very deep. Even more so when Josh Howard returns. Coach Saunders has an abundance of talent to work with. The only problem is Blatche. I'm waiting for him to become a consistent threat inside. He cannot continue to shy away from the contact in the paint area. He needs to step his game up before he's labeled as "soft".

Posted by: carterm1 | November 23, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

To demonj21,

Personally I don't think that it would've been a good idea to bring Beasley back to this area. Too many distractions for him. He might be ready to play here in another 5 or 6 years but not now, he's too young.

Posted by: carterm1 | November 23, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

good call, a coupla years out in Minny should help him out a lot.He might even carve out a niche for himself with that squad. A lil professionalism and maturity could take his game though the roof, think Blake Griffin with less hops, more handle and a better j.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 23, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse


Gee was under no obligation to robotically sign another contract with the Wizards without weighing his options (not to mention the fact that we all know that other teams will innocently "touch base" with an agent while an agent's player is still under contract to another team).

Gee likely knew he had a better deal coming from the Spurs while playing out his last few days of his 10-day contract and wisely took it. You can't blame Gee and you certainly cannot blame the master of his craft, one Ernest Grunfeld, for calmly assessing the situation and exercising restraint.

Closg (and other haters), you're off key by at least a semi-tone and you're dragging the tempo!

In Grunfeld We Trust!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk

It was a minor blunder, but a superior GM from a superior organization (Spurs) ate Ernie's lunch and kicked sand in his face.

It is a FACT that the Wizards had first- rights to Gee after signing him to the 1st 10 day contract. Gee only had the option to sign elsewhere AFTER his 2nd 10-day contract had expired. Ernie was a beat too-slow and Gee signed with the Spurs. Flip and Ernie wanted Gee back-then. Ernie made amends for his incompetence and I salute him for it.

Posted by: closg | November 23, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anybody would complain about Javale and Nick playing better, more consistent defense than previously. They're still a long way from All-Star defenders, but progress is progress.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 23, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

This team is very, very deep. Even more so when Josh Howard returns. Coach Saunders has an abundance of talent to work with. The only problem is Blatche. I'm waiting for him to become a consistent threat inside. He cannot continue to shy away from the contact in the paint area. He needs to step his game up before he's labeled as "soft".

Posted by: carterm1 | November 23, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Kalo is of the opinion that this roster will be completely different in a couple of years. If that becomes the case, we will once again become perennial losers. We have some REAL NICE pieces -- championship contender pieces (if you have a little vision). We cannot afford to turn this roster over again. We need to develop what we have. All of the contenders have had a core group of players together for years. We MUST keep this group together and sink or swim with it if we have ANY hopes of becoming an NBA champion within a reasonable period of time.

Despite the fact that I HATE the recent overall play of 'Dray (although he has had his moments), I also see some signs that he may be ready to break out. I don't believe it's as much the out-of-shape issue as much as it is he seems hell-bent-for-leather on scoring 20 point every night, come hell or high water. He's doing some major forcing, as opposed to just letting the game come to him. He will be much more effective if he just takes what the defense gives him. The way teams are defending him, he could actually average double-figures in assists if he would just move the ball, especially with the shooters we have. The moments where he is doing just that have increased ever so slightly. Cause for hope.

Flip, as well and the team, has shown great improvement over the past couple of weeks. More reason for hope.

Posted by: bpybay | November 23, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Sometimes a question is just a question.
Posted by: divi3"

And sometimes it's just a cover for sneaky innuendo.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 23, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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