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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 02/25/2011

General Wall and Private McGee

By Lee Friedman

The Wizards rebuilding continues, and judging by their awful performances against Indiana and Philadelphia, there is a long way to go. John Wall and JaVale McGee also gave us some insight into the psyche of young players after the game.

The Wizards traded Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong to the Hawks for Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans and a first-round pick next year. Every trade the Wizards make at this point in their rebuilding should either a) clear long term salary cap space or b) acquire young talent or picks. So how does it measure up?

Salary Cap Impact

It’s basically a wash, with the Wizards saving only about $500,000 next year.

Talent/Picks

Mike Bibby: He’s a shadow of the player he once was and his FG percentage and PER are both lower then Hinrich’s. He can still shoot the three and his role on the Wizards will be to back up John Wall so the drop off on the court will be minimal. The off-the-court stuff could be a problem. Hinrich was helpful in mentoring Wall and Bibby has a history of being petulant when he doesn’t get enough playing time. It makes sense to do a buyout on him, but wait until after the season so the Wizards don’t have to go trolling around the D-League looking for a backup.

Jordan Crawford: Crawford hasn’t been on the court much this year, playing in only 16 games and averaging just 10 minutes per game. I remember being impressed when he torched the Wizards in the preseason, but I hope Ernie went off of more than that in deciding to acquire him. Best case is that he develops into a scorer off the bench at a good price.

Maurice Evans: He was included to balance out the salaries. He plays small forward so at this point, I’d be happy with anyone but Al Thornton backing up Rashard and his deteriorating knees. Cartier Martin has been given the opportunity to play more and has responded by going 7-29 from the field, including 2-15 from three over the last four games. Is it too much to ask that if someone is named after a luxury good that they be really good at their job?

Draft Pick: This pick will probably be somewhere between 18 and 22 (the Hawks would currently draft 20). Assuming the Wizards draft well (see Pecherov, Oleksiy), there is definitely talent available. Among the players drafted in those positions over the last five years were starters: Rajon Rondo, Darren Collison, Ty Lawson, JJ Hickson and JaVale McGee.

John Wall/JaVale McGee: After last night’s debacle in Philadelphia (they lost back to back games to sub-.500 teams by a combined 40 points) John Wall rightfully called out the team for not playing hard. It is said that leaders are forged by adversity, well after this year Wall should be General Patton minus the insubordination. The flip side to having a team full of young players is exhibited in McGee’s temper tantrum after getting yanked for what I think was his second consecutive defensive three seconds call. Those calls are basically mental mistakes by the player. McGee said that the losing was getting to him and he was upset his good friend Hilton Armstrong got traded (by the way JaVale, when Andray Blatche is the cool voice of reason you might need to reevaluate your behavior). Now in his third NBA season, I don’t understand how McGee is shocked when a player gets traded, did he think that Hilton Armstrong was going to spend his career with the team? Speaking of which…

Nick Young: Ernie, you should have traded him when you had the chance. Nick is having a career year and is arguably the best scorer the Wizards have. Unfortunately, he’s a restricted free agent after this season, which means the Wizards can match any offer another team makes. It also means there’s a good chance someone will offer him much more money than he is worth, and the Wizards will be forced to either match it or lose him for nothing (see Marcin “The Polish Hammer” Gortat’s five-year/$34M contract offer from the Mavericks subsequently matched by the Magic, for a back-up center who has never averaged more than seven points, six rebounds or one block per game). So what would be Nick’s contract value be in an open market? Looking at shooting guards and small forwards who had similar PPG and PER to Nick this year, and who are under 30, here is the list with their 2011-2012 salary:

- Brandon Roy: $14.9M
- Luol Deng: $12M
- Gerald Wallace: $10.6M
- John Salmons: $8.5M
- Wes Matthews: $6M
- J.R. Smith: Free Agent, making $6M this year
- Dorrell Wright: $3.8M

The average salary for the group above is about $9M per year for 2010-2011, but Nick would probably get something similar to John Salmons four-year/$32M contract (he’s obviously not on the Gerald Wallace/Brandon Roy (pre-knee injury)/Luol Deng level). So are the Wizards ready to invest that kind of long-term money in Nick based on one year? At that price Nick would be the second-highest paid player on the team. That’s all assuming he keeps scoring at the same rate next year, which is far from certain. Are they willing to take the risk that someone won’t offer Nick some overpriced contract? This is a league that employs GMs who are paying players like Travis Outlaw $7M and Brendan Haywood $8M per year. I think Ernie missed an opportunity to upgrade the team while leaving open the potential for having to make a tough long-term salary cap decision this summer.

By Lee Friedman  | February 25, 2011; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Lee Friedman, Wizards  | Tags:  Lee Friedman, Wizards  
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Comments

Weird to call out Gortat's contract, which is one of the better big man contracts in the league. What kind of stats should you expect for the guy playing behind the league's best center? Gortat would start for quite a number of teams in the league.

Posted by: greenies | February 27, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Will be interested when the BULLETS return.

Posted by: SeattleRob | February 27, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

"Wizards will be forced to either match it or lose him for nothing (see Marcin “The Polish Hammer” Gortat’s five-year/$34M contract offer from the Mavericks subsequently matched by the Magic, for a back-up center who has never averaged more than seven points, six rebounds or one block per game)."

You mean the guy who has been averaging 13/10 on 55FG% over the past month for the Suns and is key to their current 10-3 run? I suspect they are pretty happy with his deal.

Posted by: divi3 | February 28, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

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