It was a busy week for the Washington Wizards as NBA free agency continued and summer league play began.

Washington Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr., left, Atlanta Hawks’ Stephane Lasme, second from left, and Wizards’ Micheal Eric (50) battle for a rebound during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game, Sunday, July 10, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Fresh off of last week’s massive $130 million extension for Bradley Beal, Washington continued to piece together their 2016-2017 season roster. Aside from Beal, the Wizards signed several more free agents and shook up the coaching staff by bringing in new faces. The Wizards are intent on going into next season with high expectations after signing coach Scott Brooks in April and re-signing Beal to a max contract.

Washington agreed to terms with coaches Sidney Lowe and Tony Brown, who will join Brooks’ staff as assistants. Lowe played on the 1983 North Carolina State championship team headlined by legendary coach Jim Valvano, and has been an assistant coach for Minnesota and Utah in the last few seasons. Wizards fans should be familiar with Lowe; the former point guard played for Hyattsville, Md powerhouse DeMatha in the late 1970s. Brown, a former player, was an assistant with the Brooklyn Nets before becoming their interim coach last season.

After striking deals during the opening hours of free agency last week, the Wizards followed up by signing former Orlando Magic center Jason Smith to a three-year deal and re-signing shooting guard Marcus Thornton to a one-year contract for next season. However, perhaps the biggest signing of the week came from a forgotten player. Washington agreed to a three-year deal with 2012 second round pick Tomas Satoransky, a 6-foot, 7-inch combo guard from the Czech Republic who operated at both guard spots while playing overseas in Spain. Satoransky, 24, averaged 8.6 points per game along with 4.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds while shooting over 50 percent from the field and close to 40 percent from deep.

It was an impactful week for the Wizards roster. However, with the annual NBA Las Vegas Summer League commencing, self-improvement from within was the topic of discussion on July 9. Washington began summer league play with a matchup against Utah. Despite a sizable summer roster, it’s all about sophomore forward Kelly Oubre Jr. as the Washington brass looks for a big leap from last year’s first-round draft pick. The Wizards need Oubre to make significant strides next season. He got off to a hot start by delivering a dominant performance against the Jazz, tallying 20 points, eight rebounds and four steals in an 88-73 win.

July is always a busy month for the NBA and the Wizards were no exception, acquiring free agents and fielding their summer league team. The core roster is pretty much set unless Washington manufactures some huge trade. As of now, the Wizards will focus on Oubre’s growth throughout the summer as they look for help from within.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO