When the Spurs traded Davis Bertans to the Wizards this offseason, they viewed it as a necessary step to open up their mid-level exception to sign Marcus Morris. However, after Morris reneged on his agreement with San Antonio, Gregg Popovich was upset to have lost Bertans in the process.
As Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks acknowledged that Popovich praised the Latvian forward when the two coaches talked over the summer. While Bertans was known for his shooting ability, Popovich believed the former Spur could take on a more dynamic role.
“[Popovich] is a good scout,” Brooks said on Wednesday, per Hughes. “He nailed it on [Bertans] when I talked to him over the summer. He said, ‘[Davis] is more than a shooter.’”
Bertans is making good on Popovich’s scouting report so far, exhibiting an ability to handle the ball and create his own shot. The 27-year-old may also be turning into a valuable trade chip for the Wizards, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link).
“Bertans is a difference-maker when it comes to his play on the court,” a scout told Marks. “Don’t be surprised if teams are willing to give up a first-rounder for him closer to the deadline.”
Here’s more on the Wizards:
- Wizards owner Ted Leonsis doesn’t necessarily believe that the team needs to endure a long, painful rebuilding process before returning to contention, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post writes. “Next year, we’ll have John Wall back. We’ll have a little bit of space under the salary cap,” Leonsis said. “I think the NBA is very different this year than it’s been in the past, and I stick with, I think, our turnaround can be quick and fast, but we don’t have any expectations about wins and losses. It’s more about culture, identity and what players will be with us on a long-term basis.”
- In an in-depth profile of Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, Trevor Cole of Toronto Life says the Wizards “unofficially” conveyed to Ujiri this past offseason that they’d be willing to give him whatever he wanted – including a stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Wizards – to run their front office. The Wizards denied reports of their interest in Ujiri in June.
- The Capital City Go-Go – Washington’s G League affiliate – claimed Jerian Grant off waivers earlier this week, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Grant, a former first-round pick with four years of NBA experience under his belt, recently signed a G League contract following a brief stint in China.