Gary Williams covers the latest in the NBA
In time to watch Otto Porter and the Wizards summer league team's open practice and scrimmage, Martell Webster strode into the Verizon Center Tuesday night, sporting a frohawk hairstyle and extra, extra long chin hairs.
"I honestly feel like a true Wizard if I have this going on," Webster cracked while stroking the lengthy whiskers attached to the bottom of his face.
Likely sometime Wednesday, the first official day he can sign his new four-year, $22 million contract, Webster will truly be a Washington Wizard once again.
Oddly, the moment when the charismatic perimeter threat knew Washington was indeed his home came while staying in a hotel.
Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld confirming face-to-face that even though the team had just drafted fellow small forward Otto Porter they still wanted Webster back helped as well.
"The fact that I'm actually back home - I came here just to do rehab a few days after the draft and it was just for that," Webster said. "Because [team trainer] Eric [Waters] was working with me, I just wanted to come and get the rehab regimen. When I was here - and I was staying in a hotel -, I felt like this feels right. I feel like I'm home.
"Ernie came down and talked to me and said this doesn't change anything. I knew it was going to happen, I knew I was going to come back here. It was just a matter of moving pieces and getting things done, freeing up some space. They got the job done and I'm excited."
The crowd on hand for the Wizards Summer-fest event became excited when the team's top 3-pointer shooter walked onto the court during practice. They cheered loudly upon his entrance - and when during a stoppage in play, Webster drained a long shot while standing next to Bradley Beal in front of the scorer's table.
"Brad stood me up. He was supposed to shoot the ball," Webster exclaimed. "I told him I'd bet him anything. He wanted to bet me my contract. I was like 'sure, I haven't even signed it yet.' Let it rain!"
Webster and Beal watched the scrimmage, headlined by rookie Porter and Glen Rice Jr. along with veterans Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton. While he's back in the fold now, Webster understood there was a chance he might not have returned.
"After my first couple of years and just understanding the politics of the NBA - this is a business and that's exactly how you have to treat it, how you have to approach it," the 26-year-old said. "They make draft picks, they're gonna make draft picks. If they don't want to go with me, then they don't want to go with me. I'm not going to be hurt about it. I just have to move on.
"So when they picked Otto, I was like, 'I can see where they're going with it.' There might be a chance I won't be in Washington next year. That was the end of that. I didn't think too much into it. I knew I was going to get picked up regardless."
He did, by the team he and his family wanted.
"My wife had a heavy influence on me coming back here, I'll tell you that," said Webster, originally drafted out of High School by the Portland Trail Blazers. "Now this is going to be the primary home. Now, Portland is a summer vacation spot."
For now Webster will continue to rehab in Washington, Portland and his native Seattle after recent hernia surgery.
Webster: "I feel great now. ...When you have an injury, the rehab is the most important thing. It's not like I'm hurt, it's just that once you get injured and have surgery, a lot of your muscles shut off. I didn't do anything for a month and a half. It's just getting those things turned back on and warmed back up."
In addition to revealing his observations of Porter's work during the scrimmage - he's "not forcing anything, but also finding his opportunities to be aggressive" - Webster was asked to reveal whether he would be signing his new lucrative deal at right at midnight.
"Nah gonna wait - until tomorrow."