Wizards dealt with life without Nene
The last time Drew Gooden came to Washington, four years ago when he was acquired in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks, he didn't actually suit up to play. He is here now, after signing a 10-day contract Wednesday morning and practicing with the Wizards before they departed for Thursday's game at the Toronto Raptors (CSN+, 7 p.m. ET).
"I'm going to jump in with both feet. I don't think I can ease my way into anything," said Gooden, who initially sent to the Wizards in a six-player deal in 2010 but attempted to negotiate a buyout. "I don't think they want me to come in to ease my way. They need a guy to help replace what Nene did and that's going to be a hard task."
Gooden, 32, has played 11 seasons with 10 team, averaging 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds. The 6-10 forward-center last played with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012-13 and still remembers his exact playing time.
"I was actually out last season because I only played 151 minutes… a little less than four games," he said. "I've been spectating. I'm thirsty. I'm hungry. Definitely there's a reset button that's been hit."
Back to why the Wizards (29-28) weren't good enough for Gooden four years ago:
"I just think it was a rough year, not only for the Washington Wizards as an organization that season but for me, too, being on a one-year deal in Dallas and coming into a situation like Washington at that time," Gooden said about the rebuilding process that came after locker-room gun incident . "I think the best decision at that time for me was to move on and (president) Ernie (Grunfeld) understood that."
The Wizards being in a much better place helped lure Gooden, who will occupy the 15th and final roster spot that was created with last week's trade of Eric Maynor and Jan Vesely. With a recurring injury to Kevin Seraphin (right knee), Gooden's presence could be more significant pending his conditioning and ability to pick up new concepts and terminology.
"It's only a handful of teams that seem like they want to win a championship whereas in the past when I first came in it seemed like the whole league was eager to win a championship," Gooden said. "It wasn't really realistic but they made those moves and those efforts to win. I see a handful of teams doing that now and I believe the Washington Wizards is one that wants to win. That's why they added me for depth going into the playoffs."