When the Washington Wizards off-season began, the goal of the franchise was to maintain the core nucleus that allowed the team to reach the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals for the first time in nine years. Although it may have gone unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of the season, the signing of Drew Gooden was one of the most essential keys to Wizards success. Washington added Gooden when Nene went down with a knee injury and kept him aboard after he averaged 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds over 32 games game. It wasn’t always his play that impacted the team, but rather the leadership he displayed in the locker room allowed the young Wizards to play far beyond their years.
Now, Washington will bring back the 32-year old for one more year in search of the elusive NBA Championship. Gooden will again be relied upon to play key minutes when the team is in search of their mid-range game.
Former Wizards forward Trevor Booker signed with the Utah Jazz freeing up the salary cap and roster space need to re-sign Gooden and acquire fellow big man Kris Humphries from the Boston Celtics. Both additions should prove to be major upgrades for a team that was just two games away from the Conference finals.