Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi is best known by fans as a punchline because of a four-year, $64 million contract he signed before the 2016-17 NBA season. Instead of becoming a decent starting center, Mahinmi’s time in Washington was set back by injuries or his high foul rate.
This season, Mahinmi is averaging 7.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, stepping up when Thomas Bryant was out due to injury to start the season. But he hasn’t stepped on the court since Feb. 27 and the Wizards made a conscious decision to NOT play him for the rest of the season before the coronavirus suspended play for over four months. And since bubble play started, Mahinmi still has yet to play a second in Orlando.
Barring something crazy, Mahinmi will not play for the Wizards for the rest of the season. In addition, Mahinmi’s contract will come off the books after this game ends.
It is unlikely that he will re-sign with Washington. And it’s possible he may retire. That said, I do think Mahinmi was a positive figure to have in the locker room, even though he was overpaid.
I interviewed @ianmahinmi when he played for the Pacers. He is, a nice, super interesting guy and a NBA champion with a great career. I wish he had a less complicated run with the Wizards.— Shaï Mamou (@ShaiMamou) August 13, 2020
For what it’s worth, I have heard many Europeans describe less-than-ideal situations as “complicated” which he clarified later on.
Well, I should have said "unsuccessful", and he would be the first to admit it. But I also meant he wasn't helped by the dynamic of the team during his time there.— Shaï Mamou (@ShaiMamou) August 13, 2020
Quinton Mayo of NBC Sports Washington also agreed that Mahinmi is a stand-up man and that the team would certainly agree.
Forget the contract size, one thing you’ll hear from everybody within the organization, players included, is that Ian is one of the best humans walking through those hallways.— Quinton Mayo (@RealQuintonMayo) August 13, 2020
I remember meeting him on Media Day ‘19 & it was like we’d known each other for years.
Amazing guy. https://t.co/Q3cEAQeIfG
I realize that being a nice man off the court and in the locker room will never take away from the fact that Mahinmi was overpaid for his role. But as Christy Winters-Scott once said, the worst thing players can experience is a loss of playing time. Like anyone else, it has to be tough for Mahinmi to NOT PLAY.
However, unlike some other past Wizards, Mahinmi didn’t go off on media or worse, post angry tweets at other Wizards fans. Mahinmi was the consummate professional that he is to the end. And he deserves a heartfelt merci beaucoup from us for that.