Credit John Wall with perhaps his most important assist of the season. He was instrumental in getting Drew Gooden on board and to sign with the Wizards, and the point guard declares they better retain him after his second 10-day contract expires Tuesday.
"We've got the same agent (Dan Fegan) so I'd been talking to him, been cool with him for a while. I was just waiting until we had the opportunity to bring somebody in like that. He came to my house a couple times before we signed him," said Wall, who had a game-high 33 points in Saturday's 101-94 win vs. the Brooklyn Nets. "We chilled. Watched basketball."
But it was Gooden, 32, who came off the bench to spark a 10-point comeback in the fourth quarter. He scored 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Eleven of those points came in the fourth quarter when he went 5-for-6.
"You guys joke about me being old, but I'm still Drew Gooden. That's what I do," said Gooden, speaking himself in the third person for the second time in less than a week. "Once I see a couple go in, I feel like I can't miss."
When the Nets needed a big man to fill the void for the loss of Brook Lopez to a foot injury, they signed Jason Collins to a pair of 10-day contracts before securing him for the rest of the season. The Wizards, who had Collins after a late-season trade in 2013 but didn't retain him when he became a free agent, had an ace up their sleeve with Gooden. He already was living and training in the area, and at Verizon Center, when he signed his first 10-day deal on Feb. 26. Collins didn't play Saturday.
"He's coming in playing the way he can play and not forcing the issue," Wall said. "He's a must (to re-sign). Capital M.U.S.T. Or I don't know what we're going to do."
Wall isn't worried. He made that final remark with a smile. As CSN Washington reported earlier in the week, Gooden isn't going anywhere when he comes up for another deal.