John Wall will have more time to get to know Drew Gooden, who now has a name plate above his locker next to the Wizards' start point guard. The 6-10 forward-center, who is coming off his best game since signing a 10-day contract last week, will be retained if he accepts another 10-day deal, CSN Washington has confirmed.
After Gooden plays out the second deal, the Wizards will have to offer him a pro-rated contract for the rest of the season or Gooden becomes a free agent again.
Gooden took over the locker space, next to Wall's, that previously was for Jan Vesely who was traded Feb. 20 to the Denver Nuggets. Until Tuesday, it just had a generic "Wizards" plate and Gooden joked maybe this means he'd be sticking around. And he is.
Gooden didn't play in his first game in uniform at the Toronto Raptors last Thursday, a triple-overtime win for Washington. He was rusty in the next two games and didn't make a field goal but had a breakout performance vs. the Utah Jazz in Wednesday's 104-91 win. Gooden had 12 points to lead the bench on 6-for-7 shooting, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 19 minutes.
The next game is Saturday at the Milwaukee Bucks, the last team Gooden played for, and that also will be the final day under Gooden's first 10-day contact with Washington.
The Wizards (32-29) don't have Nene until the final week of the regular season at the earliest because of a left knee ligament strain. Backup center Kevin Seraphin has missed five consecutive games because of a sore right knee.
"Taking that much time off really tests your professionalism," said Gooden, who the Wizards allowed to train at Verizon Center after he relocated to nearby Bethesda, Md., before he was acquired, after Wednesday's game. "Staying in shape, waking up everyday on your own schedule and having to get some type of workout. It was tough to emulate any type of basketball, practice or NBA game."