All's quiet as the trade deadline nears
Everything I'm hearing - both on and off the record - leads me to believe that the Wizards will look exactly the same when the trade deadline comes and goes tomorrow at 3 p.m. Ernie Grunfeld likes his team, Eddie Jordan said today: "Let's give it shot" and the players all seem to be hyped about this team's chances of making a serious run at the 50-win mark.
Ernie has spoken with several GMs and there's not doubt that teams asked about Brendan and Etan given their ongoing problems but trading either player makes little sense. Brendan is a 26-year old 7-footer who makes a reasonable salary, cares about his performance and doesn't get arrested in his free time. Read that sentence again. How rare is that combination? Etan is all but immovable. His contract is huge, he has a nasty trade kicker that makes it even more tough to move him and he's missed a ton of games the last three seasons with injuries. I've written this before but here it is again: unless Kevin McHale loses his mind (and that's totally possible) and offers KG to the Wiz for just about anything that doesn't include Gilbert, Caron or Blatche, then you may have something. But that ain't happening so these are your Wizards.
Here's the key: for the first time since camp opened in October, Jordan and Grunfeld are getting a chance to look at the team the way it was intended to be. Darius Songaila is slowly getting his legs back, Michael Ruffin is available again, Brendan and Etan can trade minutes at center, Andray Blatche is figuring out how to play NBA ball and once Antawn gets back, Eddie will have all of his pieces for the first time all season. It will be very interesting to see what kind of rotation Eddie goes with over the course of the next 31 games. Think about his options: he can play the 6-11 Blatche at either the 3 or 4, Songaila can play the 4 or 5 and getting everyone back puts Jarvis where he should be: at the 2.
By the way, how good was Blatche against Kevin Garnett last night? I've seen the future and he wears a headband and No. 32 for the Wizards. His post defense is better than expected and so far, he's been a rebounding machine. The kid has three games with at least 10 boards this season and he's pulling down 15.7 boards per 48 minutes. Also, with the natural ballhandling and passing skills he's shown, Blatche has the potential to be an old-school, coast-to-coast guy. Remember those? The type of player who could snatch a defensive board, wave the fellas forward and lead the attack himself. There aren't many of those around anymore. And the kid is only 20.
Not sure whether you picked up on the trash KG was throwing the kid's way but the old man was trying to put the kid in his place. It was only a few possessions in when KG scored before turning and yelled "Now I'm going to bust your (butt)" Blatche, who grew up idolizing Garnett, admitted that he was a little intimidated but it didn't show and that's yet another sign that the Wiz may have something special.
Again, remember Ernie's future vision: The 6-11 Blatche swinging between two or three spots and the 7-foot Oleksiy Pecherov (he's also 20 years old) playing just about anywhere. By the time Blatche and Pesh (as Blatche calls Pecherov after summe league) get rolling, Gilbert and Caron will be well established in their primes and Ernie can then go fill out the rest of the roster with pieces that fit around that core group. As a Wiz fan, you have to like where this franchise is headed.
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