Now that Daniel Orton has had a series of catching on with teams and being released without a definitive explanation, he wants to get an honest answer from the Wizards if they don't keep the journeyman 2010 first-round pick around.
"The same reason they give everybody," said Orton, a 6-10 center of being cut by the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers. "It didn’t work out, roster spots. ... No one is direct. I want you to be straight forehead with me, any day."
Orton's greatest hurdle to convince the Wizards he's worth a strong look is conditioning. He had enough skill for the Magic to draft him in the first round after one season at Kentucky with Wizards point guard John Wall who went No. 1 overall that year. The Wizards have five unrestricted free agents remaining on the roster and likely will have a couple of spots available for new faces.
And Orton has the size they're looking for. He has gotten past the knee issues that slowed his career during his first two seasons with the Magic. Mini-camp at Verizon Center this week and then competing on the Wizards' summer league team in Las Vegas is the next step for him. The Wizards open by playing the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
"There’s a lot of guys in my situation. It’s just a journey. It is ups and downs. You just have to find your niche, figure how to stay in this league," Orton, 23 said. "It's figuring out where I’m going to fit in best."
When Orton was in Orlando, he was stuck between Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat. Their epic practice sessions set a tone that Orton admits he wasn't prepared to handle. Gortat is the starting center in Washington after signing a five-year, $60 million deal last week.
"That was hell every day. Coming into a situation like that where you got to battle the best center in the league and the best back up in the league. You can pretty much figure it out yourself after that. Practice wasn’t fun at first ... then you kind of get into everything," Orton said.
"Marcin, when we traded him (from Orlando to Phoenix Suns) I thought, 'OK, this is my opportunity. ‘ Unfortunately it didn’t come around. In Oklahoma City I saw flashes here and there but really didn’t see anything set in stone. I really thought Philly was going to be my opportunity but it didn’t work out.
"Getting released from OKC, that was discouraging. It kind of hurt me. Going to Philly I had a little animosity towards that. Then getting released from Philly it was kind of like what’s going on, what’s wrong? That was definitely a huge down."