Washington Wizards swingman Martell Webster said he will likely retire at the conclusion of his current contract in three years.
The decision is due to concerns over Webster's health. The 27-year-old has already had three back surgeries, all in the last four years.
Webster dealt with significant pain from a herniated disc in his lower back last season but postponed surgery until late June so he could play in the Wizards' playoff run. He said he began to think about retirement last spring.
“I know this game is probably not going to be the healthiest thing for me if I try to stretch it out as much as a possibly can,” Webster told The Post Thursday. “So I intend to really give everything I got for these last three years of my contract and probably walk away from this game so I can be healthy.”
“I’ve always wanted to retire young,” Webster said. “I love this game and I respect this game, but I only want to be in it as long as I can be effective and as long as I can feel comfortable.”
Though he hasn't yet been cleared for contact, Webster said he's "ahead of schedule" in his rehab. At the time of his surgery, the Wizards said Webster would be out three to five months, keeping him out potentially until the end of November.
A 10-year-veteran, Webster entered the NBA out of high school and was selected No. 6 by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2005 NBA draft. After a stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves and one season with the Wizards in 2012-13, Webster signed a four-year, $32 million contract to stay with Washington before last season.
Webster averaged a career-high 11.4 points per game in his first season with the Wizards. His scoring average dipped to 9.7 points per game last season as he played more off the bench.
The Wizards went 44-38 last season and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. It was their first winning season and playoff appearance since 2007-08.
- Ben Estes