The Washington Wizards is a professional basketball team based in Washington, D.C., previously known as Washington Bullets. They play in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The club now known as the Wizards began play as the Chicago Packers in the 1961/62 season. The next season, they changed their name to the Chicago Zephyrs. In 1963 the franchise moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and became the Baltimore Bullets (no relation to the 1940s/50s Bullets franchise). In their first year in Baltimore, the Bullets finished 4th in a 5/team Western Division.
Prior to the 1964/65 NBA season the Bullets pulled off a blockbuster trade, sending Terry Dischinger, Rod Thorn and Don Kojis to the Detroit Pistons for Bailey Howell, Don Ohl, Bob Ferry and Wali Jones. The trade worked out well; Howell proved to be a hustling, fundamentally sound player who helped the Bullets get into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. In the 1965 NBA Playoffs, the Bullets stunned the St.
Louis Hawks 3/1, and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. In the finals, Baltimore managed to split the first four games with the Los Angeles Lakers before losing the series 4/2.
Flip Saunders reached an agreement to become the new coach of the team in mid-April, 2009. Despite having the second best chance at obtaining the number one overall pick in the 2009 draft, the Wizards were randomly chosen to pick fifth overall in the NBA Draft Lottery. This pick was later traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, along with Songaila, Thomas, and Oleksiy Pecherov, in exchange for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. On May 21, 2009, Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld announced that the team has named Randy Wittman and Sam Cassell as assistant coaches.Then on August 11, 2009, the Wizards signed Fabricio Oberto, many weeks after he committed to signing with the team.
On December 24, 2009, it was revealed that Arenas had admitted to storing unloaded firearms in his locker at Verizon Center and had surrendered them to team security. In doing so, Arenas violated both NBA rules against bringing firearms into an arena and D.C. ordinances. On January 1, 2010, it was reported that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton had unloaded guns in the Wizards’ locker room during a Christmas Eve argument regarding gambling debts. The D.C. Metropolitan Police and the U.S. Attorney’s office are investigating.
In January, the NBA suspended Arenas indefinitely without pay while conducting their investigation into the incident. NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement that while Arenas would likely face a lengthy suspension (possibly for the remainder of the 2009-10 season, if not longer), “his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game.” Despite Stern’s longstanding practice of not disciplining players until the legal process plays out, he felt compelled to act when Arenas’s teammates surrounded him during pregame introductions prior to a game with the Philadelphia 76ers and he pantomimed shooting them with guns made from his fingers.The Wizards issued a statement condemning the players’ pregame stunt as “unacceptable”.
On February 13, 2010, after a 17/33 record at the season’s midway point, The Wizards traded Butler, Haywood, and Stevenson to the Mavericks in exchange for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton. Three days later, the Wizards traded Antawn Jamison to the Cavaliers in exchange for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and obtained Al Thornton from the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-team deal. Ilgauskas reported long enough to take a physical (to make the trade official). His contract was immediately bought out, making him a free agent.
On February 26, 2010, the Wizards signed Shaun Livingston to a ten-day contract.Despite the off-court distractions, the Wizards finished the season with a modest 26/56 record. However, they were the only Southeast Division team not to make the post-season.
In the 2006 NBA Playoffs, the Wizards matched up with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a first-round matchup, in what would turn out to be the first of three consecutive postseason matchups, as well as James’ first-ever playoff appearance. The series was considered to be one of the most evenly matched of all first-round series that year. After suffering a loss in Game 1, Washington came back to win Game 2 and steal home-court advantage heading back to Verizon Center for Game 3.
Cleveland stole home-court advantage right back. Washington came back to tie the series at two apiece with a win in Game 4, but suffered two consecutive one-point overtime losses and thus were eliminated 4 games to 2.
Dating back to the start of the 2005/06 season, the Wizards and Cavaliers have played each other a combined 36 times (including preseason), far more than they have played any other team in the league.
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