I caught up with ex-Wizards guard Roger Mason Jr., who signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Hornets, and will be leaving his hometown team for the second time in his career. As Mason explained, it wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the one he felt was right for him at this time.
Mason will turn 32 next month, and will be entering his 10th season in the NBA. A second-round pick by the Chicago Bulls in 2002, Mason spent one season in Chicago, followed by stints in Toronto, San Antonio and New York.
Mason’s best season was the 2008-09 campaign with the Spurs, when he averaged 11.8 points and shot 42 percent from three point range. Last season with the Wizards, Mason played in 52 games and averaged 5.5 points. His previous stint with the Wizards was from 2006 – 2008.
What made you chose the Hornets?
“Where I am in my career, I still wanted to play. I chose the Hornets knowing I could make a contribution on the court. I wanted to go to a situation where I could do both – provide leadership, and also be able to get on the court and make an impact.”
Why just a one-year deal with New Orleans?
“I only wanted to sign a one-year deal. It gives me an opportunity to show my worth and the impact I can make on a team. I’ll be able to re-evaluate things next year. I like the direction of this franchise. I’m hoping for a chance to be here long term.”
What other teams recruited you?
“I spoke to the Lakers, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Houston and Washington.”
What do you think of the moves the Wizards made?
“I like the changes they made. I think they did a great job in the draft, getting [Bradley] Beal, and the second-rounder [Tomas Satoransky]. As far as the trades they made [getting Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor], I think they’re getting two guys that are going to contribute on the floor and in the locker room. I like what they’ve done.”
As a D.C. native, was it hard to leave your hometown team?
“It was extremely tough. I have nothing but respect and admiration for Ted Leonsis and I have a great relationship with Ernie [Grunfeld] and the management there. I feel like a I’m a big part of [the Wizards] franchise, and I’m happy to be going west, so I can still support this city and this team.”