Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld and forward Martell Webster “are talking” as of Monday afternoon, the opening of free agency, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CSN Washington.
Another person told CSN that the Wizards likely will work out a deal to retain another free agent, Garrett Temple, as early as this week.
The Wizards are riding the momentum of moving up to No. 3 in last week’s draft, taking the popular local pick in Otto Porter (Georgetown) and making a trade in the second round to land Glen Rice Jr. (Rio Grande Valley Vipers). Both can play multiple spots on the floor.
Webster, who was a surprise starter because injuries decimated the Wizards, had the best season of his career, his only in Washington, by averaging 11.4 points and shooting 42.2% from three-point range.
He arrived at the airport Sunday and said he was in town for treatment for an abdominal strain that bothered him at the end of the 2012-13 season. He hoped to have at least informal talks with Grunfeld, who has made it clear -- as did coach Randy Wittman and owner Ted Leonsis -- that he’d like Webster to return after he played on a one year, $1.6 million deal.
The Wizards have $5 million available via the mid-level exception and a $2 million bi-annual exception.
Temple, who has played for five different teams and has bounced around the D-League, was signed in December and saw his playing time increase to a career-high 23 minutes per game. He averaged 5.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists and made 36 starts.
He worked his way into the starting lineup when Bradley Beal went down with an ankle injury. At 6-6, Temple was the next best ball-handler to John Wall, helping alleviate the pressure in the backcourt, and showed confidence in his jump shot late in the season.
Temple’s greatest value is on defense, where he can match up with guards and use his long arms to jump passing lanes. Because of Temple’s play, the Wizards were able to finish as a top 10 defense last season despite being 29-53. They were the only non-playoff team among the top 10.
Last season represented Temple’s first full season in the NBA. Prior to that since 2009, he’d only played in just 51 total games.
Temple was released by the Miami Heat before the regular season. He had a chance to return but opted to sign with Washington, where he believed he could get more playing time and opportunity to improve.
It’s a relationship that works for both sides. The Wizards don’t have much wiggle room with the salary cap and Temple is affordable as he played for the league minimum.
Temple made it clear in an interview with CSN earlier in the season that he wanted to return and would like job security for a change.
“I would love to be here next year. We just have a great thing building here with young guys, especially the way we've ended the season with the last 50 games, playing the way we've been playing since John’s been back,” Temple said then. “We have a team that can contend in the East. I love this city. It’s easily the most home like place I've been playing in the NBA in the last three-and-a-half years.”