Wizards Sign Forward Darius Songaila

(L-R) Ernie Grunfeld, Susan O'Malley, Jackie Songaila (wife), Darius Songaila, Abe Pollin, and Kornelija Jurgaitieme (Lithuanian Acting Ambassador to the United States)
Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images
Washington Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Darius Songaila (sun-GUY-la). Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Acquiring Darius helps us address several important needs for our team and we're extremely excited to add a player of his caliber to our roster," said Wizards Chairman Abe Pollin. "Ernie Grunfeld did an outstanding job in identifying him and obtaining him in a market that is very competitive for a player with his skills and attributes."

“Darius is a hard-nosed competitor,” said Grunfeld. “He has a good midrange jump-shot, he is an excellent free throw shooter and a very solid rebounder. Darius will add depth in the front court and he has knowledge and experience of our system.”

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  • “Darius provides us with physical toughness in our front court and on the defensive end,” said Wizards Head Coach Eddie Jordan. “At the same time, he is a reliable scorer. Darius has a great work ethic and will be a very good teammate.”

    Last season, Songaila (6-9, 240) scored a career-high 9.2 points per game and averaged 4.0 rebounds in 62 games with the Bulls. Defensively, he helped Chicago lead the NBA in field goal percentage allowed at 42.6 percent.

    Prior to joining the Bulls, Songaila spent two seasons with the Sacramento Kings, where he averaged 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. In his three-year NBA career, Songaila is averaging 7.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 50% percent from the field and 82.5 percent from the free throw line . In Washington, Songaila will wear uniform number 9.

    Originally drafted from Wake Forest by the Boston Celtics in the second round (50th overall) of the 2002 NBA Draft, Songaila’s draft rights were traded to Sacramento on June 23, 2003. Before coming to the NBA, Songaila spent the 2002-03 season playing for CSKA Moscow of the Russian A Superleague. He averaged 14.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in the Euroleague Final Four and earned 2003 Eurobasket first-team all-league honors.

  • The Examiner: Songaila move lauded by NBA brass
  • Washington Times: Wizards acquire Songaila
  • Washington Post: Wizards Add Power in Songaila
  • A native of Marijampole, Lithuania, Songaila has been a member of the Lithuanian national team since 1998, and he helped Lithuania win a European Championship and also capture a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympic Games.

    Songaila and his wife, Jacquelyn, have a daughter Miele. The family resides in Charlotte, North Carolina

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