The Washington Wizards finalized their 2008-2009 roster today by waiving forward DeMarr Johnson and Linton Johnson.
DerMarr appeared in five preseason games for Washington and averaged 8.8 points in 19.6 minutes per game. Linton appeared in four preseason games as a Wizard and averaged 1.3 points in 12.8 minutes per game. Both players originally signed with Washington on September 22, 2008.
Despite cutting both players, Coach Eddie Jordan had nothing but praise for Johnson and Linton.
“We waived forwards DerMarr Johnson and Linton Johnson – both played very well for us and have been NBA players and will continue to be NBA players. We really appreciate their efforts and their professionalism.”
With Gilbert Arenas possibly sidelined until January, and Brendan Haywood out for another four to six months, this leaves with the Wizards with 13 available players for the remaining preseason games and opening day next Wednesday against the New Jersey Nets.
The importance of this was not lost on team veteran Caron Butler.
“(We need to be) very serious. We have to be professionals and go out to San Antonio and Cleveland and get some momentum. We need to get some momentum going into the season. The last few practices have been exceptional. The younger guys have been playing great and the veteran leadership has been awesome. It is what it is now – we made our final cuts to the roster and this is the team, so we know our personnel and what to expect going forward.”
Center/forward Andray Blatche is considered one of the younger guys Butler spoke of, and this upcoming season is an important one for him. Blatche has been criticized about his erratic play by Coach Jordan and Antawn Jamison, and considering that this is now his fourth year in the league, he is expected to live up to his potential.
“It’s time for us to get more serious,” Blatche told reporters. “We’ve got to start trying to develop a flow together with the rotation guys. Even though it’s preseason, (we need to) try and get some wins and compete. The season is right around the corner – it starts on Wednesday. It’s time for us to get serious and focus.”
The 2008-2009 version of the Wizards will have the opportunity to show that focus and seriousness tomorrow night when they take on Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.