There’s an affinity for Martell Webster that’s unmistakable.
The Wizards want the free-agent-to-be back, and he is willing to make it happen.
“It’s high on the priority list, I’ll tell you that,” Webster said of returning as he clowned with teammate A.J. Price. “This is a great fit, a great family feel
Webster, who was signed to a one-year, $1.6 million deal for the 2012-13 season, had the best season of his career. He averaged 11.4 points, shot 44.2% from the three-point line and started 62 games.
But with the Wizards (29-53) in need of more scoring, the small forward realizes he could be reduced to coming off the bench if he stays. He's OK with that.
“Being a starter has never been of importance to me since my first and second year in the league. Great players come off the bench,” Webster said. “That’s already shown. Jamal Crawford, James Harden. Ben Gordon. Great players (have) come off the bench, and I don’t mind that.”
Webster was among the top five three-point shooters in the NBA until an abdominal strain slowed his season in March. He didn't play in the final three games of the season because of it and didn't rule out surgery.
“Look at the year he had,” point guard John Wall said. “I think this is probably the first year he’s had the opportunity to prove himself. ... He had nagging injuries that he had to go through. He proved what he can be. He’s a talented player and somebody you would like to have back."
Aside from what Webster brings to the floor, it’s his presence that has been invaluable for the Wizards. He’s quirky, but in a good way. He’ll be entering his ninth season –- the most fun Webster said he has had after previous stop with the Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves -- and likes the culture under coach Randy Wittman.
Wall credits him for some of that. “He’s just a fun guy. He’s just funny all the time. He loosens up the locker room,” he said of Webster.
Webster is serious about wanting to stay. He played well enough to increase his value. The Wizards don't have a lot of space under the salary cap, but they have a mid-level exception and bi-annual exception available.
“The most important thing is attitude and being ready. As long as I have that, but I can guarantee this, coming into training camp I’ll be healthy and I’ll be in shape and ready to go,” he said. “When you mind-set is competing and helping make your teammates better, everything else will take care of itself.”