The skinny on the elusive Juan Carlos Navarro

Here's the deal on Juan Carlos Navarro, the Spanish point guard who has been playing with Barcelona for the last few seasons after the Wizards spent a second round pick on him in the 2002 draft:

As he does every so often, Navarro recently came out and said he was interested in playing in the NBA. The website ran the story and it has folks wondering what all of this means. Here's what it means: Navarro can talk about playing in the NBA all he wants but until he coughs up the cash needed to get out of his contract or gets the Wizards to pay him enough to cover the buyout, he's not going anywhere.

In the recent article, Navarro declined a chance to say how much the buyout is but I hear it's somewhere in the neighborhood between two and three million big ones. Now, if the Wizards want Navarro - and they do like him - they can pay up to $500,000 and ask him to pay the rest. That's the negotiation that needs to take place. Do the Wizards like him enough to pay him extra thus making it easier for him to buy his way out? Do they trade his rights to some other NBA team? Is he even serious about coming over this time? Will Barcelona scratch and claw to keep its leading scorer and most popular player?

I just came back from the Toronto lockeroom where I chatted with Jose Calderon who played with Navarro for the World Champion Spanish National team this summer. He said Navarro certainly has the skills to play in the NBA and described him as a combo guard type who can shoot the rock, penetrate and generally score. I've heard the 26-year old Navarro called a Spanish version of Juan Dixon. He's averaging 17.2 points on 44 percent shooting for Barcelona this season.

Now, some folks I've talked with believe Navarro will never actually leave Spain. One league source I trust said the feeling is that Navarro loves playing in Spain too much and won't risk coming over here and either failing or being average. We'll see. While in the Wiz lockeroom earlier, I asked Gilbert Arenas about his possible future teammate and his answer was classic: "Who is Juan Carlos Navarro?"

By Ivan Carter |  March 30, 2007; 6:52 PM ET
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Just received some more info on Navarro. A reporter who is here from Spain told me that Navarro is serious about wanting to play in the NBA next season and really wanted to be here last summer but the owner of Barcelona didn't want to let him get away yet. Stay tuned.

Posted by: Ivan | March 30, 2007 8:15 PM

I don't think we need the spanish version of Juan Dixon, but I don't think Les BouleS would mind the spanish version of Steve Nash, Deron Williiams, or Chris Paul. Based on Ivan's description, we don't need another guy who can "shoot the rock, penetrate, and generally score."

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 30, 2007 9:38 PM

Well, I think we can pretty much put the icing on the "Michael Ruffin should not be playing on this team" cake.

Stops the full-length pass from getting to Bosh with 2 seconds left, then throws the ball up in the air rather than hold it and wait to be fouled, and it goes to Morris Peterson who nails a 3 (on his first shot of the game, mind you) with like 0.4 seconds left.

What a boneheaded play. You can't make that kind of mistake in March and April.

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 9:42 PM

And why in the hell aren't the Wizards using Etan or Calvin Booth to cover #@)(*#@(*$&#@($#@ Bosh!

Posted by: George Templeton | March 30, 2007 9:49 PM


Posted by: DC Man88 | March 30, 2007 9:49 PM

Game over, this team is totally deflated, and rightfully so. They had the game won, and Ruffin basically gave the game back to them.

This is inexcusable. I used to think the criticism of Ruffin was a little harsh, but I'm full on seething with rage at this point.

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 9:49 PM

for the size of his chrome dome youd think he'd be smart enough to know to hold onto the ball and get fouled or throw it like a man...what a worthless piece of trash, he cant score, he isnt even that great on defense and above all he is an idiot

Posted by: ruffin | March 30, 2007 9:53 PM

AJ with the Vlade Divac flop! Where is Etan or Brendan? EJ loves small ball!!!!

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 30, 2007 9:53 PM

Remember, this is one of the guys EJ has in his rotation down the playoff stretch because he's such a "smart veteran". That same rotation that would have had Andray Blatche sitting the bench for most of the last month were it not for injuries to Jamison and Butler.

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 9:56 PM

Don't you just love those lineups with Hayes and Ruffin out there. Hurry up and get well Andray, the Wizards need you out there.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 30, 2007 9:59 PM

I know why Ruffin tossed the ball up. Because if fouled, he would have missed both of them anyway.

Ruffin is shooting 28.6% from the FT line this year, and is 46.4% career.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 30, 2007 10:01 PM

Well that has to shoot right to the top of the list for worst loss this season. Holy crap, that was brutal. I know Ernie wouldn't do it, but I would like to see Ruffin cut as he walks back to the locker room.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 30, 2007 10:03 PM

As little time is left on the clock, that would have been fine. If Ruffin throws it towards the basket instead of straight up, the Wizards win. Just awful.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 30, 2007 10:04 PM

I may actually stop watching the games after tonight's little meltdown. I can't take this anymore.

Guaranteed Eddie makes a raft of excuses for Ruffin in the post-game. Before OT, we had this game over. We had overcome some shaky FT shooting, were actually even with the Raps on the glass, had a season low in turnovers, were nearly equal in assists, had great steal numbers and had earned a tough win.

All that goes away and then some because of a guy who shouldn't have even been on the floor doing something absolutely retarded.

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 10:05 PM


Ruffin didn't even need to do that. He could hold them and even if he gets fouled, he doesn't need to make any of the FT's because we were up by 3 and they had no timeouts left.

Worst case scenario he misses both and they still have to make a 3 but with no inbounds play to set up the hail mary, so it's a much harder shot.

There's just no reason that clown should have been in there at that time. He needs to be cut from the team. If you're telling me Etan or Brendan can't stand in front of Bosh and prevent a full court pass with 3 seconds left and you HAVE to use Ruffin there, I pretty much call BS and say you are a horrible coach.

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 10:08 PM

I agree with that Gack.
One of the guys I worked with said, that is loss that can get a coach fired. There are only so many descriptions for a defeat like that.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 30, 2007 10:12 PM

I have offically seen it all now! I smell a Tony K. "curse of Les Boules" article coming.

Posted by: C.Bell | March 30, 2007 10:14 PM

Um, I don't think that really happened. I think we're all imagining it. So don't worry too much.

Posted by: Sports Bog | March 30, 2007 10:15 PM

Words can't convey the level of venomous bile I'm generating right now. This is enough for me to just pretend the season is over today and totally stop watching pro ball. My God.

I'm not going to waste my time watching the post-game because I know it'll be the usual mopey Eddie Jordan but he should be screaming profanities and kicking trashcans, and vowing to run Ruffin into the D-League.

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 10:19 PM

Far be it from me to pile on a man when he's down, but Michael Ruffin must go. He is a guy for the end of the bench and garbage time. For some reason, Eddie insists on playing him in important minutes. I want to see the pictures Ruffin must have on EJ.

Posted by: WestcoastWizard | March 30, 2007 10:24 PM

Who in here is sticking up for EJ now? Someone come to his defense. Anyone -- including Post writers -- who jumped all over people who questioned EJ's coaching acumen early in the season, when the Wizards were winning games (an aberration) should apologize. There's a difference between being a decisively good team and being a team that just strung together a nice hot streak. The Wizards are not very good, and there's plenty of blame to go around. But it starts with the terrible coaching and trickles down immediately to Gilbert Arenas, who cares more about pub and hype than wins. Time to let EJ go and let Gilbert know this franchise means business. It's not about getting your 30-second Adidas ad. It's about winning a championship.

Posted by: Colin | March 30, 2007 10:26 PM

Mark my words, Navarro will be a Wizard next year. Jarvis is done and I think Brendan has had enough (and so have we) of his fluctuating minutes. Ernie has to make a drastic change after making subtle changes to the lineup the past couple of years. Especially with Gilbert coming up on his opt out. A bench squad with Daniels, Navarro, Blatche (and don't forget Pecherov) and Songaila sounds pretty potent to me. Or maybe Eddie grows a pair and asks Jamison to come off the bench and gives a healthy Darius the starting nod. But that still leaves a void at the center spot. But that's why Ernie is one of the top 5 gm's in the game today. That man can find talent anywhere. And yeah, I'm talking about next season already cause I've given up on this year. We're gonna stay a 4 seed, Cleveland's gonna fall to 5 and it'll be a rematch of last year's thrilling series with the refs sucking up to this whole "king james" crap and we'll be 1 and done yet again. Now i'm gonna finish the rest of my drink to try and wash away this loss.

Posted by: C.Bell | March 30, 2007 10:29 PM

Colin, I think Gilbert meant business tonight too, or did you miss the HUGE facial trey he hit late in the 4th to break the tie and give us the lead that Ruffin ultimately surrendered?

If you want to criticize Gilbert, be my guest, but I think there are a lot more pressing low-hanging fruit who have done a lot less to win games for this franchise you should set your sights on first.

I am fully willing to admit I was less willing to jump on EJ earlier in the season because I felt that the team was just starting to gel and that they would get better.

And because a lot of the crap that this team does is maddening and can't be on Jordan all the time. However, we have not improved on last year's record at this point. We have regressed. And there are plenty of things well within Jordan's control that are, quite frankly, being botched badly.

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 10:34 PM

hold on for a sec Colin. It starts AND ends with Eddie Jordan. This team is a very good team and in a position financally to make moves in the future. But Gil didn't throw that ball away. Michael Ruffin did. And we all know he is an extension of Eddie Jordan. Wouldn't be surprised if EJ told him to do that. I'm calling for Antonio Daniels to coach next season. And i mean that seriously.

Posted by: C.bell | March 30, 2007 10:34 PM

Thanks for the facial, Gilbert. Three points. Awesome. Gack, how about his defense? That sure was stellar tonight. Until he learns that there's more to basketball than nailing threes in someone's face and laying his jersey on an opposing team's floor, this team will go no where. I like Gilbert, but I also think it's time for him to take his game to another level. He doesn't have the defensive minded players around him to make up for his obvious defensive shortcomings, so, as the on-court leader of this team, he should take it on himself to improve his all-around game.

And you're right, a lot of what this team does is maddening. But it's the same stuff over and over again, which says to me the coaching isn't very strong. It's gotta start at the top, and right now, EJ is not providing the leadership to these guys. If he had, the Wizards wouldnt' have regressed the last two years. This team is first-round fodder.

Posted by: Colin | March 30, 2007 10:37 PM

Actually C. Bell if the season ended today, the Wizards would open the playoffs on the road in Miami (Cleveland has the No. 2 seed right now). I can't wait to get home from work and have a beer. I will need it after this loss.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 30, 2007 10:37 PM

Wow, that one numbnut mistake could cost us playoff seeding and the season. Could someone please tell me what Ruffin brings to the team? He has zero offensive game. Null set. O. When they play offense with him in the lineup, it's 4 on 5, a huge disadvantage. He can't hit foul shots, so he's a massive liability at the end of the game (Jordan, what were you thinking?). This could be excused if he were a defensive menace, but he is simply an average, overworking defender. He's too short to rebound effectively, too stiff to keep up with speedy, agile players. Allegedly, he has 'smarts', but that was the 'tardest, numbskullerest, crushingly garden tool-esque lapse I've ever seen, even worse than 'The Pass', which was at least an earnest mistake made by a kid in a high-pressure situation. We need real bigs rather than CBA-ers! Bring in Navarro, trade him, Thomas and a draft pick for a shot at a legimitate big. Bosh KILLED us. We need a big, nasty, scoring, 'bounding, shot blocking, defensive presence. Blatch has great potential, Haywood brings it 40% of the time, Songalia works hard, but no one goes far in the playoffs over the last 15 years without a great big.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 10:38 PM

c.bell, what makes this team a very good team? You'll have to tell me.

And yes, I agree that it all starts with EJ. I've been concerned with his coaching since he first got here. I never liked the hire. But Gilbert has to do a better job ALL AROUND to help get this team to the next level.

Ruffin playing at the end of a game is EJ's fault. But it's not just about this one game. It's about the season as a whole, and when I hear Gilbert talk about how he's going to drop 50 points, or when I see Gilbert lay his jersey on an opposing team's floor after beating that bad, bad team by only two points, I start to wonder if he's really concerned about winning, or if he'd rather have a scoring title and a bunch of commercials.

Posted by: Colin | March 30, 2007 10:39 PM

THE WIZARDS ARE NOT GOOD...let's just say it for what it is. They are an AVERAGE to MEDIOCRE team. Because teams like the Celtics and Knicks exist, we refrain from calling them "bad". We eak out wins, we play no defense, we habitually lose to bad teams with injured stars, our bench/depth is atrocious, we have no identity as a club, our veterans are as inconsistent as our rookies, we are 5 games over .500 in the East. And they've hit their ceiling. There is no improving this team unless we jettison some key cogs and do a bit of rebuilding. WE'VE BEEN IN THE CAN AS A FRANCHISE FOR SO LONG THAT WE ARE CONTENT TO TAKE A FEW PLAYOFF APPREARANCES AND A STREAKY ALL-STAR AND CASH OUT.

Posted by: pfunk | March 30, 2007 10:39 PM

Gack, I'm telling you Etan or Brendan couldn't stand in front of Bosh and prevent a full court pass. Its sad because Ruff did everything right except thorw the ball away. And the funny thing is, NOBODY was close enough to foul him any freakin way!!!

Posted by: C.Bell | March 30, 2007 10:40 PM

The painful irony of all of this for me is that I'm in the midst of a relocation. I'm taking a job in Austin, TX and will be out there by the end of April. It'll be much easier for me to catch basketball games there from good, winning teams. Probably one that'll be in the finals.

I think I'll always be a Bullets fan. For a good long while this year I had become a Wizards fan, but they are doing their best to lose me right now. And I'm wondering how hard it's going to be to stay one when I've got Mavs, Spurs, and Rockets to choose from every night??

Dirk, Duncan, Yao and T-Mac, or the Arvis and Fluffin show? Which would you pick?

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 10:41 PM

Colin, we're all aware of Gilbert's defensive deficiencies. That said, I felt the Wiz played pretty decent D tonight, to tell you the truth. The only guy killing us was Bosh and what else is new. That isn't on Gil.

It's easy to take what Arenas does on offense for granted because he does it nearly every night, but I can assure you it's not such an easily replaced commodity. Think back a couple of years and you'll remember what this franchise used to look like -- a lot like this year's Celtics.

That said, I have never disagreed with the criticism of Gilbert as a huge defensive liability. He wasn't even getting the steals tonight -- those were entirely CB3's doing this evening.

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 10:45 PM

Everything you just mentioned about the team Pfunk, falls on the shoulders of the coaches. Again, this team IS a good team with the potential to be great. But we are led by the blind here. We eak out wins because our coaches don't know what plays to call. We lose to bad teams because our coaches are afraid to "coach em up". We have no identity because our coaches feel as if we don't need one. Our bench is atrocius because our coaches have no rhyme or reason with the substitutions. It ALL falls on Eddie and his 6 man staff! But trust me, Ernie knows this.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 10:46 PM

Gack, I just don't think Gilbert does enough to get this team to the next level. And he doesn't seem to care about anything other than scoring. Remember when he threw EJ under the bus? It has to change. He hits game winners, but he doesn't seem mentally tough, overall. He said last season he wanted the series with the Cavs to go seven games. That doesn't seem a like a guy out to crush an opponent. And any time a team gives up 123 points, and I don't think you can say they played decent defense.

Posted by: Colin | March 30, 2007 10:51 PM

Gack, I got the league pass and its like i never left the area. And about 80% of the Wiz games are brodcasted through Comcast so you get Steve and Phil. So grab some black blue and gold paint and some posters and STAY a Bullets/Wizards fan 4ever!! Besides, the Spurs window is closing soon, T-Mac and Yao are always injured and I'm pretty sure you'll come to hate Mark Cuban as much as the rest of the world (including me) do.

Posted by: C.Bell | March 30, 2007 10:53 PM

Oh, and Gack, I know what this team used to be like. They were truly god-awful. But that's in the past, and I'm not going to be happy with simply making the playoffs anymore. It's time for improvement.

Posted by: Colin | March 30, 2007 10:55 PM

Colin, it wasn't 123 points before the OT, that was my point. The last 3 minutes of regulation was basically NBA prevent defense which ran up the score even more.

But whatever, I'm not even going to argue anymore, I'm just too angry to continue thinking about tonight's game.

Posted by: Gack | March 30, 2007 10:57 PM

I know it wasn't, but I'm saying, 123 points is still too much. I mean, even a decent defensive effort from this team, because of how many points they score, would be welcomed. But frankly, they just don't give that kind of effort on that end.

Posted by: Colin | March 30, 2007 10:58 PM

Anonymous, I agree that Eddie needs to get his neck wrung. But I believe it goes beyond coaching. Both Gilbert and Jamison are serious defensive liabilites - less than average as defenders. And yet they are the main cogs of our offensive game. A team can mask the deficiencies of one defensive libaility, but not 2. And yet they both need to be on the floor for the offense to work. On top of that the guys coming off the bench as defenders are a joke...because our bench is so thin, we've been duped into thinking that guys like Booth and Ruff are quality veterans to play in spots. Haywood and Thomas are as consistent as Blatche, only they are supposed ot be "veterans" at this point and not 2nd year guys out of high-school. Haywood and Thomas just don't have the goods to be considered "good" starting centers. They are space fillers that you hope get a few boards and few points and don't screw up the team. There are serious personnel issues that go beyond coaching.

Posted by: pfunk | March 30, 2007 11:02 PM

I'll tell you why this is a good team Colin. First, we have an excellent GM. Second, we have 3 all-stars (2 in their prime). Third, and probably the most improtant, We have a future. Again, I made a comment last week about Eddie being the "Norv Turner of Basketball". Great assistant. Terrible Head Coach. And live by that statement. Just think how good this team would be under someone like Doug Collins or Mike Fratello. Or Avery Johnson or maybe Antonio Daniels?

Posted by: C.Bell | March 30, 2007 11:02 PM

Sorry to break it to you George. But if the playoffs started tomorrow, we'd be hosting the Bulls. I'm a lil too intoxicated to understand or explain how the Bulls have the 3rd best record but are 5th right now.

Posted by: C.bell | March 30, 2007 11:05 PM

My bad Pfunk, I made that post. Must've forgot to put my name under it. I agree that its hard to hide 2 bad defenders, but again, its coaching. The entire Heat starting 5 is a defensive liability (maybe Haslem). Wade is just as bad as Arenas on D. But you never know that because of the coach. If Eddie can turn Gil into the ultimate offensive weapon, then why can't he turn him into an average defender?

Posted by: C.Bell | March 30, 2007 11:13 PM

I don't think Eddie Jordan knows what he's doing. I know he's not perfect, but this team wins with Haywood on the floor along with Stevenson and the Big Three. Look at the record with Haywood on the floor. Ruffin has NO skills, but Jordan keeps playing him. What a terrible loss.

Posted by: Buck Worthy | March 30, 2007 11:31 PM

C. Bell we aren't the divison leaders and we have a worse record than Chicago. Here are the conference standings.

dx-Detroit¥46¥¥26¥¥.639¥¥¥--¦ 
x-Cleveland¥43¥¥29¥¥.597¦¥¥3¦ 
d-Toronto¥40¥¥32¥¥.556¦¥¥6¦ 
d-Miami¥39¥¥33¥¥.542¦¥¥7¦ 
Chicago¥43¥¥30¥¥.589¦¥¥3½ 
Washington¥38¥¥33¥¥.535¦¥¥7½ 
Orlando¥34¥¥39¥¥.466¦¥12½ 
New Jersey¥33¥¥39¥¥.458¦¥13¦ 

Posted by: George Templeton | March 30, 2007 11:32 PM

So I am wrong, the Wizards would play Toronto. Considering their road woes in Toronto, that wouldn't be good.

Posted by: George Templeton | March 30, 2007 11:33 PM

We're both wrong on that one G. I forgot about the Heat winning tonight. But for some reason, I like that Toronto match up better than I do the Heat/Bulls/Cavs.

Posted by: C.Bell | March 30, 2007 11:36 PM

Well, I would too except I think the Wizards are something like 2-23 in their last 25 trips to Toronto? Ugh. I don't care how well the Cavs are playing, I'd love another shot at LeTravel (thank you to whoever first cointed that nickname).

Posted by: George Templeton | March 30, 2007 11:38 PM

True. but you gotta remember that the nba is all about "drama". And if anybody thinks these games aren't rigged is crazy. So I see us getting past Toronto, setting up a "dramatic rematch with either Cleveland or Chicago.

Posted by: C.Bell | March 30, 2007 11:43 PM

C.Bell, I don't think Eddie turned GA into an offensive superstar. GA spends his free time shooting jumpers, he loves playing offense, he loves scoring baskets, that's who he is. As any coach will tell you defense is first and foremost about desire and effort, not coachable skills. That's why schlubs like Ruffin can get NBA contracts; he realizes his niche is to work his no-talent tail off defending people and he'll get a role on a team. Gil just doesn't care than much about playing D...remember his comments after Portland? That was Gil speaking his true heart...he thought the emphasis on D was detracting from his game!!!! Gil doesn't play D. Twan can't play D. Jarvis can't hit a jumper. Haywood doesn;t have the heart to stay up for a whole season. Ruff can't make a basket. What's a coach to do about these things? We need to keep GA, Caron and Blatche; release the rest of the team AND the coach and start over!!

Posted by: pfunk | March 30, 2007 11:57 PM

I just gave up hope of the Wizards becoming anything more than a lower seed joke now. *sigh* DAGGGGGGGGGGGER -_-

Posted by: Bonafide | March 31, 2007 12:07 AM

How can the Wizards close these games out when they are shooting 39%?

G.Arenas 9-29
D.Stevenson 8-18
A.Jamison 5-16
C.Butler 5-15

The centers aren't even in the game plan. Notice has much these players jack up shots?! So it makes sense for Ruffin to have more of the minutes now and be the garbage man. I feel sorry for him though about that last play.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | March 31, 2007 12:12 AM

George, you can thank me for Queen LeTravel.

Just don't thank me for laying off EJ and Muffin earlier in the season. :(

Posted by: Gack | March 31, 2007 12:34 AM

The story didn't run on Hoopshype, it was on DraftExpress. If you actually read it, you probably would know that.

Posted by: Jose | March 31, 2007 10:33 AM

Colin, I agree with you totaly. Been sick of Media Hound Arenas for months and everybody making excuse excuse for his streaky performances. It won't get better if you keep accepting this ADD play and sketchy coaching. How many more excuses should the fans tolerate?

Sorry, CBell & can't win anything hangin onto memories of shots gone by..You HAVE to live in the present.

Arenas former shots won't get Wiz anywhere obviously. All he's done is promote himself. Yeah, it brought the Wiz name int he pic but thats about it. We have less respect now than we when MJ turned this team around and made $30 mil for Pollin.
Wiz still seen as a mediocre average team.

Posted by: j | April 1, 2007 2:16 AM

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