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More of the latest....

An update on my earlier post: assistant coaches Mike O'Koren (who retains the title of Associate Head Coach), Phil Hubbard and Wes Unseld Jr have agreed to one-year contract extensions. They join recently hired assistant Tom Thibodeau on Coach Eddie Jordan's staff.

My earlier entry:
If you read today's Post (and I know you did) you saw that yesterday was a busy day in Wiz country. The team signed Oleksiy Pecherov and Nick Young to standard rookie contracts (no shocker there, just a formality really), offered one-year contracts to asst. coaches Mike O'Koren, Phil Hubbard and Wes Unseld Jr. (more on that in a minute) and, according to my sources, made DeShawn Stevenson a four-year, $12 million offer. Also, I hear that Ernie Grunfeld continues to mull possible offers for the elusive one, Juan Carlos Navarro.

To break it all down:

1. With Pesh and Young signed and second-rounder Dominic McGuire expected to sign either today or tomorrow, the Wiz will have 10 players under contract: Those three, Gilbert, Antawn, Caron, Antonio, Etan, Brendan and Darius. We know that Ernie's plan is get deals done for DeShawn and Andray (more on those two in a minute) so that makes 12. The team is over the salary cap and we know Abe Pollin isn't going anywhere near the luxury tax. Teams can carry as many as 15 players. Not hard to see that this roster is just about finished (unless Ernie can use JCN's rights to get some team to take Etan's contract). Also, Ernie will have the by-annual (about $1.8 million) to add a veteran later this summer (Calvin Booth?).

2. The situation with the coaching staff is extremely interesting and says a lot about how important this upcoming season will be to the direction of this franchise. We know Eddie Jordan got a three-year extension last summer after a long period of negotiation. We also know that Eddie likes his guys: O'Koren, Hubbard and Wes Jr. Because of a "team policy" those three worked without extensions last season. Tom Young - Eddie's mentor - retired recently and Bill Berry, an Eddie guy who was added last summer, was not asked to come back.

Then, the team hired Tom Thibodeau as an assistant and I hear he got a two-year contract. So, assuming that Eddie's guys take the one-year deals (I hear the salaries are right on par with what they made last year), the staff will include an associate head coach in O'Koren who has one year on his deal and a new assistant (defensive guru?) in Thibodeau who has two. Interesting. The other thing to factor into all of this was the timing. Ernie waited until yesterday to make offers so Eddie's guys don't have a lot of options. Most staffs are full and summer league starts next week.

2. As for DeShawn...I don't see him taking four years, $12 million. Remember, he turned down three-years, $10 million from Orlando last summer and basically played for free (just under $1 million) last season. The guy started all 82 regular season games, put up 11.2 points per, shot a nice percentage (46.1 percent), played defense and helped keep the lockeroom tight. Yes, he got exposed in the playoffs as a guy who is not going to carry a team offensively but did we really expect anything else? I didn't.

The other factor to consider is the market. Not sure that you've noticed but I'm positive DeShawn and his agent have: Jason Kapono, a non-starter who probably couldn't guard me, just got four-years, $24 million. Matt Carroll, a guy who was in the D-League three years ago and has helped Charlotte win what exactly?, got six-years, $27 million. Now, DeShawn is not a shooter like those guys but he's a far better defender and we saw what he gave this team when it was riding so high before the injuries hit.
Now, I'm not doing DeShawn's negotiations for him - I'm just a reporter and in my opinion, way too many guys have been overpaid in recent summers and that's why so many teams are cap-strapped right now - but you can see why he's looking for more than what the Wiz have offered so far. The other thing to keep in mind is that Gilbert wants DeShawn here. What's the value in keeping Gilbert happy?

3. As for the elusive one: I hear that Cleveland may be interested in JCN (as well as Andray). The Cavs have a restricted FA SG in Sasha Pavlovic, who like DeShawn, has noticed what Kapono and Carroll got and could be asking for more than the Cavs want to cough up.
Would Danny Ferry, who is also shopping Larry Hughes and his nasty contract all over the place, be receptive to a deal that would bring JCN's rights and Etan Thomas to C-town? What would Ernie take back? Donyell Marshall (who is on the hook for $5.56 next season and $5.95 the following season)? I've heard nothing new regarding Memphis and/or Miami with regards to Navarro since Wednesday.

Also, a report out of Dallas this morning said the Mavs may have some interest in Andray if their other free agent options don't pan out. Someone on my previous post asked why Andray isn't ballin' in summer league. That's easy. He doesn't - and probably won't - have a contract in time to play.

A non-basketball related note: Why is it, as a Minnesota Twins fan, that each time my boys play the Yankees or Red Sox, I have to read columns out of those cities detailing how good Torii Hunter, "Cy Young" Santana and the M&M boys (Morneau and Mauer) would look in a Yanks or Sox uniform? Get off of my players and develop your own you big market, greedy, television dominating, overhyped %$#@^% ! Does that sport need a salary cap or what? If I see T Hunter wearing pinstripes or running balls down near the green monster later this summer or next season, I'm tossing my Kirby Pucket throwback in the trash and officially banning myself from baseball.

I'll keep you posted on Wiz news as the day goes along.

By Ivan Carter  |  July 6, 2007; 11:06 AM ET
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Next: Thibodeau has "change of heart", steps down



Thanks Ivan, awesome updates. So we bloggers had the right idea w/ EJ, Thib, and his other asst coaches. Very interesting indeed. Donyell Marshall? No thanks, even if we rid ourselves of Etan... On DS, as soon as I saw those figures for Kapono and Carroll I knew it would be tough with DS. You can't blame him, the market is crazy overpaid this year for small role guys even not just the big boys. This is going to be extremely rough with negotiations let's hope there's a reasonable middle ground since DS is Gil's boy and we do want some type of continuity for quicker/better success.


Posted by: Wizzin' By Ya | July 6, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Ivan. On DeShawn, can't blame him for looking for the best deal, and if that comes in for him, all the best to him. But the Wizards did right by him -- for his service the past year, they gave him a very reasonable offer. Maybe not as much as he wanted, but it was real and substantial.
In my view, there are a lot of guys like him out there that can be had, so you need to avoid overspending. Fortunately, Ernie seems to know that. Sure, some other teams overspent for other free agents, but that doesn't mean Ernie should.
If the options are (1) resigning DeShawn for most of the MLE and trading JCN for someone else's garbage, or (2) letting DeShawn go, resigning Jarvis and signing Navarro, then welcome back Jarvis!!

Posted by: Sean | July 6, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

By offering EJ's assistants one-year contract, I think Ernie is sending EJ a message. If Wizards do not improve next year, wait for Ernie to bring in his own man. Besides, EJ wants to get rid of Haywood, while Ernie wants to trade Etan, that tells you something.

Many people have criticized Haywood's behavior after his team was ousted in the playoff. I do not condone his behavior either. However, I heard that even some NBA coaches are questioning EJ's substitution patterns in the playoff. EJ did not play Haywood in game 2, and Big Z went wild. Many people suggested that Haywood, with his long frame can play better defense against Big Z. So EJ played Haywood in game 3, and quite frankly, Haywood did an adequate job. What did EJ do in game 4? By playing Haywood 0 minutes!

Regarding JCN and DeShawn, I agree that Kapono and Carroll are way over-paid. However, if we can sign JCN as mid-level exception, would that be a real bargain compares to Kapono's and Carroll's? DeShawn didn't get what he wanted last year. Sure he ought to be rewarded for his play last year, but I would not go too much beyond that. If DeShawn insists on getting big money (i.e., being over-paid like Kapono and Carroll), then I would bring in JCN instead.

Posted by: Sagaliba | July 6, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, didn't I read somewhere that Thibodeau was coming in as the lead assistant, meaning that he was above O'Koren? Is that correct?

I'm guessing Ernie does the same thing with Stevenson he did last year -- give Stevenson an offer, let him shop around for a better deal, and if he can't find one, accept the Wizards offer. But then again, Ernie might put a time period on this offer so that DeShawn has some time pressure.

Posted by: Joe | July 6, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse


Yanks and BoSox aren't the only ones with grubby hands.

Just imagine Hunter in a Dodgers or Mets uniform.

Posted by: burd | July 6, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Why would Ernie trade JCN for Posey? He could sign Posey
for the exception if he wants him(he's unrestricted)and not give a division rival a player they want.

Posted by: jo | July 6, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Gotta give props to Ernie. Wiz have never had "pieces" like we do now. Andray & JCN are both 2nd rounders (like Gil.) Most teams don't get value in the 2nd round like we do. (Hope the new 2nd rounder this year pans out.) Ernie seems smart enough to make use of the JCN situation, hopefully wont go for a deal like JCN for Posey or something like that. Its a good feeling to have confidence in your GM, particularly for us loyal DC fans.

Posted by: andy | July 6, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse


I too thought it was posted elsewhere that Thibodeau was the incoming lead assistant?

Posted by: Dante | July 6, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Kind of funny, Ivan, how you report that the Cavs, Mavs and others are eyeing Blatche and Navarro (in exchange for junk), and then you get pissed off that the Yankees and Sox are eyeing some of your Twins. You know how it feels!

Posted by: Joe | July 6, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Ivan.

I see JCN as a commodity. If they can get something for him and a center I'd be impressed. I love the enthusiasm, but in my opinion some of the posters have gone overboard on him. Ivan said himself the Wizards see him as a backup.

Posted by: Patrick | July 6, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

get rid of haywood and etan they cost to much sigh kyle get ds signed and andry signed and let get it started we need to trade hayes he is a some times player who going to be good some where else

Posted by: ranmac | July 6, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

we did the right thing by not bowing to pressure to resign Larry hughes as well as jeffries. We should not bow now and offer a ridiculous Kapono/Carroll contract. as long as gil sees that we are trying to improve, he should be ok. he was also friends with Larry hughes and stayed after larry left. i DO think we should give DS slightly more than what Orlando offered just so he can save face and to make him feel batter about his gamble last year. They offered 3.3 and our present offer is 3 mill. We oughtta cough up 3.75 per year and call it a day. $ years, 15 mill is plenty. If he declines it, move on without him.

Posted by: mark | July 6, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

It looks like all of the Wizards summer league games next week are on NBA TV. Too bad Andray will not be playing. It will be cool to see Nick Young and Pech in Washington jerseys though.

Posted by: CurtisLee | July 6, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Ivan.

We'll just have to see how it plays out. EG is trying to dump Etan, so maybe packaging Navarro with him is the best thing to do and give the Wiz more flexibility cap wise.

Personally I just don't see DeShawn being here next year. I would love ot see Booth back next year, but for some reason Jordan doesn't like him either so even if he is he won't play.

Glad the assistants got one more year, too bad they will all be gone next year including Jordan. The funny thing is Haywood is still going to be here and Jordan will not. Now if we can just get him to play every game. :P

I think Thibodeau *could* be the Wiz's next coach.

If they can just get this Etan thing settled the Wiz is going to have a really good roster for this upcoming season. I'm very excited.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | July 6, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse


Can AB or Pesh start at center or what is the Wizards' path to a decent center?

Posted by: KSM | July 6, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Ivan - I was the one who asked that question about AB playing in the summer league. However, it is not that easy to answer as you noted above because in one of your articles last week you said AB was not playing in the summer league this year "EVEN IF HE SIGNED A CONTRACT IN TIME".

To me, that sounds a little odd that he would not be playing, even if he had his contract. As I noted before he looked pretty pissed off, like Haywood, when he was seeing no minutes in the playoffs. I hope he is not "souring" on EJ and his "crazy" rotations (like the rest of us).

Remember, AB has seen Haywood work his butt off all last summer, before and after practice and even being the bigger man and coming to EJ in the summer to bury the hatchet and ask EJ what he needed as a man and player for him to get some major minutes. Haywood did everything EJ asked of him, or at least tried (i.e. rebounds) and even when Haywood came off of the court, EJ would "met" him and smack him on the back and say "good job".

Fast forward two months, then Etan came back from the injury list, and may we say the rest was history. Well after Etan came back; you, me and AB starting seeing subtle little "jabs" by EJ towards Haywood. It started with DNP's in the 4th quarter (even when Haywood was on a roll)and verbal jabs in the media questioning BH's toughness in an indirect way.

Something to remember, BH and AB are "boys" and the young fella might not like the way he sees or saw BH being treated by EJ with the minutes and everything else. Because guess what, AB started noticing he was being done the same way with minutes in a sense.

With this said, I still want EJ here as coach; but he really needs to work this thing out with Haywood and really work on his substituion patterns. With the bench EG has prepared for him now, there is no excuse for him not to be "outcoached" anymore in the 4th quarter.

*** Big note. This formula will only work if Etan and Jarvis are no longer on the team. These two are EJ's favorites and he does not make the right "business" decisons when he has them as options.......

Posted by: mikie | July 6, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Ivan - Where is a story on our 2nd round Pick. No pictures, quotes, nothing......

What's the deal. Do you have to be a 1st rounder to get a small article written about you.....?????

Posted by: mikie | July 6, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse


mark, I totally agree with you on DS in your above post. Many here thinks he's trash and he certainly was exposed in the playoffs, but for the role he is expected to play even for 3-4M/year he is what the Wiz need. He certainly isn't a lockdown defender and he never said he was, he just said he enjoyed putting the effort towards playing D and he did that. I thought he did a pretty good job playing good positional defense and contesting shots without fouling. He's certainly not a Bowen who gets in lots of small physical chops and bumps to slow down players when they're driving but then again he doesn't have that reputation yet so the refs would probably call fouls on him as opposed to a Bowen type rep player. He took the offenses' best perimeter player and made them all work hard for it.

What he did last year is akin to what Hughes did in the last year he played w/ Gil - shoot 46% FG and put out the effort to play defense. Sure Hughes is much more talented than DS, but his career certainly doesn't show that in terms of production and efficiency - he just never used those talents well. Hughes career is littered w/ below 40% shooting and injuries for $14M/year? Many here still pine for Hughes but at around 3-4M/year, DS would be a much wiser investment.


Posted by: Wizzin' By Ya | July 6, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"I think Thibodeau *could* be the Wiz's next coach." Ray, I'm feeling this too.

Mikie great post on BH and AB... I couldn't agree more

Posted by: Dante | July 6, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Kapono and Caroll are overpaid, but those guys have a unique skill that make them commodities in the NBA. D.S. is average at a lot of things, but not great at any one thing. He, therefore, is replaceable commodity, unless he has value off the court, i.e., in the locker room.

Everyone in wizard-land is going biserk over JCN simply b/c he is an unknown quantity that has garnered some buzz. Relax. E.G. is probably considering trading him b/c JNC's skills are duplicative of presently signed players. I have faith that E.G. will do the right thing.

Posted by: M.E.G. | July 6, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Kapono can't guard anyone, but he shot 50% from 3 point range. If Deshawn had done that he'd have all the money he wanted. He shot 40%, even if that is the best on the team, its not going to get him the same money. I agree he's worth more than they've offered. His counter offer, as far as we know, was even more ludicrous.

Its been mentioned that Carroll played in the D League and then 3 years later got a big contract. So what? Is Deshawn, or Ivan, really hung up on that fact? Is anyone sitting back saying "If he got that, then I want more?" Isn't that how he blew it the first 2 times around? Thats a petty point. Did he say the same when Rafer Alston/And1 got the full MLE? I doubt it. He needs to put the petty jealousy away and get his without screwing it up again.

Carroll's deal is for 4.5 million per season. The Wizards just offered him 3. Find the middle ground Gents. The Wizards aren't going to keep bidding against themselves. He's not going to find a better situation.

Posted by: Johnny Boy | July 6, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm not worried much with the last 3 roster spots. Basically they wouldn't be needed unless injuries pop up, so you would like to add some depth there, while still be able to send those players to the D-league, only first and second year players are eliglible. Mc Guire might be one of those candidates along with some mixture off of the summer league roster.

Posted by: dc | July 6, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse


You wrote "Not hard to see that this roster is just about finished (unless Ernie can use JCN's rights to get some team to take Etan's contract)."

Are we to assume that there is little hope of a significant move to upgrade the center position on this roster? Assuming you can move ET's contract, who plays center besides Haywood? Unless they think Pesh or Blatche can fill the void, this team has still not addressed it's most glaring weakness. And, given the Haywood/Jordan relationship, why would you go into the season with that mess waiting to blow up again?

Your thoughts?

Posted by: Daydreamer | July 6, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff Ivan!

I told everyone that this marriage isn't going to last between eddie and ernie.If you remeber last season, I think the wiz dogs lost there first 8 to 11 road games to strart the season. If eddie gets to a similar start or plays 500 ball up to allstar break its over.

As for deshawn you can't blame him if he doesn't come back after seeing those other bums get those type of contracts. The wiz should have offered him around 20mil for 4 years. He would take that in a heart beat.

If Ivan sources are correct AB probably will not come back. Even if ernie matches another teams offer. Like all young players he wants to play. Eddie doesn't do a good job of developing and manageing talent. When you have a "Tom Landray" approach it doesn't work. Just because he is young he knows that in order to be a great player he also needs a great teacher. Edie doesn't fit the bill! So look for AB to play elswere.

Notice the two teams Ivan has mentioned mavs and cavs. If they were to offer him how could he turn those two organzations down. Those are championship caliber teams at the moment. If he stay with the wiz dogs I personnaly guarantee you that eddie will sit this kid in favor of Pesch. If eddie doesn't like BTH he probably doesn't like his boy.

They will not trade BTH or Etan at the moment that will happen right before or after allstar break. as part of the Eddie Jordan canning. Then you will see the wiz dogs take off.

Posted by: The Godfather | July 6, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Mark and Wizzin re DS. A nice piece to keep, if he'll take a face-saving offer. Or, I'd be ok with him getting the full MLE but on a 2-yr deal. But, anyone who gives him the full MLE for 4 or 5 years will be regretting it in a couple years--just like the Carroll and Kapono contracts.

How about JCN for K Lowry as the basis for a trade? Wonder if Memphis would do that with the teams swapping harmless C's in Stro Swift and Etan. AD probably makes more sense than Etan from the Grizz perspective, to have a veteran backup PG/mentor to Conley, but then the Wiz would still need to find a landing place for Thomas.

I'd like to see one of those extra roster spots go to Visser. Aaron Miles has done well in Europe and could be worth a look.

Mikie--I thought the same thing re AB-EJ watching them interact this year. I'm really starting to wonder why EG didn't just can EJ at the end of the season.

Posted by: Bmore | July 6, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Godfather, stop scaring me.

Anyone know if the Wiz can come over the top with a longer/larger contract for AB if he gets offered the full MLE, or are they limited to matching?

In a choice between EJ and BTH, I'd prefer BTH, but wouldn't be devastated to lose him. In a choice between EJ and AB, I'd fire EJ on the spot.

Posted by: Bmore | July 6, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

As for the elusive one: I hear that Cleveland may be interested in JCN (as well as Andray). The Cavs have a restricted FA SG in Sasha Pavlovic, who like DeShawn, has noticed what Kapono and Carroll got and could be asking for more than the Cavs want to cough up.

Depending on what he's asking salary-wise, I'd gladly trade Navarro to Cleveland for Pavlovic.

Posted by: kalorama | July 6, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

From what Ivan said, it sounds like the assistants agreeing to the proposed contracts is a given. Even so I wonder if there is a Plan B. I would assume that the spots would be filled by an Ernie guy and not an Eddie guy.

Posted by: CurtisLee | July 6, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Cleveland has nothing I want.

On JCN the Wiz are in a decent position to sift through offers. The Spanish papers all suggest PGasol has made it clear that if Memphis obtains JCN then he wants to stay.

I'd love to pry away little 'NovaCat Kyle Lowry from them, and they could use some real size and scrappy-ness next to Gasol. I'm rare dissenter in the 'trade Etan' conversation.

Etan battles hard, gives consistent effort, is a coachable guy, articulate, reasonable, community-oriented. Has been a co-captain, works as hard as anybody in the weight room. Has good character. There's a reason why our owner worked to ensure we retained him at all costs.

He never gives less than 100% effort and every now and again will do somethign remarkable like shut off Dwight Holy Howard like a spigot. Or Block Yao Ming 3 times in one game.

But looking at roster depth, the realities are we'll need some elbow room to find minutes for all out young Bigs. Especially if CBooth is part of the discussion.

PF: Tawn, DS-9, Pech, Dray
C: 'Wood, Etan, Pech, Booth, Dray, DS-9...

Scribbling on my mental napkins various Princeton offense plays:

Andray Blatche should actually develop into the best option & fit as a Princeton Center, especially as tutored by Songailia in the High Post plays. As a 'Mid' in this offense he's touch footslow, but as a 'Big' he's remarkably talneted and can outclass most of the guys he's matched against.

Defensively it doesn't matter if he's set against 4's or 5's once he's paired with the 7' Pech. You can put tham on whichever one matches better. Both look like they'll hustle well, rebound, and use their length to eat up space and passing lanes, challenge shots. Blatche especially has a knack for timing the Block well, especially not that he doesn't bite on every fake.

But offensively his passing skill and remarkable body/ball control outclass most of his match-ups at 5, and he can hit a set-shot 3 from outside which draws the opposing Big out to respect his range. We saw him blow past Big Z in the playoffs.

His athletic skill-set creates positive mismatches against the mega-Bigs, neutralizes their advantage in size or strength.

And no telling what his upside is in power anyway. He's still growing into his body, but now that he doesn't have to recover from a gunshot wound he can start to build real adult strength in the weight room. Somewhat.

But the best Princeton/hybrid systems pivot around the center, and his passing skill (there's a reason Vlade and Brad Miller ended up in Sac-town). He has to know whats happening with every player on the floor, offense and defense. The only way he can develop that is experience. The only way he gets that is live-fire play time.

Which he can't deep in a rotation 5 deep. Especially since coaches tend to prefer to play seasoned vets.. the upside isn't there but they're more reliable, you know what you're gonna get from one minute to the next.

And if the Wiz can get more flexibility under the cap (dropping Etan's contract) they get more freedom to add pieces.

The key is trying to find a Win-Win for everybody. Or everybody but Etan I suppose-- though he'd be closer to home-state of Oklahoma, not sure that's an attraction or a drawback.

The only hold-up is: the trade kicker. Not sure Memhis thinks it's worth it to add Europe's best guard, a solid frontcourt workman, and motivation from their skilled Big -- at the expense of roster flexibility and a talented youngster.


Posted by: doclinkin | July 6, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse


if the wiz match any offer for blatche, he has no choice but to come back and play, he's a restricted free agent.

Posted by: JC | July 6, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why resigning Stevenson is such a priority. I say let him walk, slide Caron over to the 2, with Young as the backup. Any additional minutes needed there could be filled be Gil/AD/JCN. That would also open up a spot for AB/Pech in the starting lineup.

Posted by: 1Baller | July 6, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Many folks seem to be saying that JCN will not live up to his hype, so he needs to be dumped. Why is that?

The reason Kopono and Carroll get the big bucks is that they can shoot. What is wrong with bringing in a shooter?

Garbajosa averaged 9 a game in the Spanish league and came to the NBA and did just fine. Why wouldn't folks think the champ and MVP JCN, who scored double the level of Garbajosa, would do just as well?

Somebody please explain why the Wiz need to unload this guy?

Posted by: Ed | July 6, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

What he did last year is akin to what Hughes did in the last year he played w/ Gil - shoot 46% FG and put out the effort to play defense. Sure Hughes is much more talented than DS, but his career certainly doesn't show that in terms of production and efficiency - he just never used those talents well.

Posted by: Wizzin' By Ya | July 6, 2007 01:02 PM

I agree with your general point about Hughes. He never used his talents well and for the most part hasn't been terribly efficient or productive.

However I completely disagree with the notion that DS' performance last season somehow matched what Hughes did for us his last year here.

DS cannot create his own shot. We saw that when he put up possibly the worst performances in NBA playoff history by shooting 19% from the field and 42% from the line. He had PER of -0.04 for goodness sakes!

But we had seen DS and his inability to create all year. Nor could he finish around the basket. Nor could he create opportunities for others. Hughes had these traits in spades.

Hughes was an all-star level player his final year here.

Now Hughes was simply awful this season, but even still, his level of productivity was similar to DeBrick's performance with us. Hughes' worse season is pretty much DS' best.

Prior to coming here, it was argued by some that DeShawn was the worst starter in the league.

It just goes to show you, plug in any middle of the road or even bad SG next to Gil, and you have yourself a decent player.

Heck, back in '04-'05 when Arvis Hayes got extended minutes at SG (w/ Hughes down), he even played rather decently and managed to hit the occassional jumper.

Bottom line is, the Wiz shouldn't overpay for DS much like they decided not to overpay for Hughes. Neither guy was worth it. Hughes more for his health and decision making, DeShawn more because of his lack of ability.

The Wiz would do better to sign another cheap stopgap and watch him have a career year next to Gil in '07-08.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe anyone said they needed to unload him. But there's no guarantee that just because a guy was successful in a Euro league that he'll be equally successful on the NBA. Some great Euro players come over and become stars. Some become decent journeymen backups. Some become benchwarmers. There's no way of knowing which Navarro will become.

No one said the Wiz have to unload him, but at the same time there's no real argument against them listening to offers and taking one if they think what they get back will help the team. There's certainly no reason for Navarro to be considered untouchable.

Posted by: kalorama | July 6, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"Cleveland has nothing I want."

Personally, I wouldn't have any problem with LeBron in a Wizards uniform.

Realistically though I think a guy like Drew Gooden would address an immediate need for the Wiz on the front court. If the Wiz could deal Etan and the rights to JCN in exchange for Gooden and maybe squeeze a #2 pick out of the deal, I'd take it.

Posted by: JPT | July 6, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

you put a lot of thought into how our pieces fit into our Princeton offense. My problem is with the offense itself. I like a motion offense but relying on smarts instead of athleticism isn't what I want to see with this team. I'm not saying we're stupid but we're young and have good athletes. The 93 Bullets with Googs, Mclean, Michael Adams, maybe.We were talent poor back then. Our guys now can run and jump with the best of them and shouldn't be restrained. Maybe I'm cynical because I was led to believe that by year 2 we'd be clicking like a well oiled machine and backdoor cutting everyone. It hasn't worked out that way. We're at our best offensively when we are running or just abusing the weak defensive link. There's no team in the league that has 3 great defensive players.One of our big 3 should get hot every game.

Posted by: mark | July 6, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse


Can you please tell me what's up with my boy JR Reynolds?? Can't find him on ANY summerleague roster. Hard to believe Wizards have no interest in looking at him.

Next, just a couple deals that come to mind that would be good for the Wizards IMO. Etan and rights to Navarro for either Turkoglu or Ricky Davis. Either guy works in a trade salary-wise for Etan. These deals would not effect the MLE. Both teams need a center and a shooter.

Turkoglu knows the princeton and would be a great fit. Davis could compete for the starting SG. Both guys have good all-around games, and can play at either SF or SG. Davis has just 1 yr left, so could keep him or use his freed up salary next offseason when we have to re-sign Gil.

Lastly, please tell me we can do better than Booth with the 1.8 mil bi-annual. Perhaps Joe Smith?? Brevin Knight? If we wait someone will fall through the cracks, like DeShawn last year.

Posted by: Darnell | July 6, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"Etan battles hard, gives consistent effort, is a coachable guy, articulate, reasonable, community-oriented."

I don't doubt his effort, but he plays much smaller then his 5'10" frame suggests and is a hacker at best on defense.

He's a career back-up. If he was that good a lot of people would want him at 7 mil a year to start but nobody does.

If he was any good EG would not be trying to trade him.

Funny thing is part of me thinks EG is dumping guys who Jordan plays favorites with, lol!

Hopefully he won't be able to go smallball in the 4th with 5 minutes left anymore with EG's moves this summer. The Wiz will have a very large lineup this year to put on the floor.

If the stars alighn right they should be able to compete for a "finals" spot in the east this year. Maybe win the whole thing next year.

Jordan and his staff is really on the hook this season.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | July 6, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Folks, no one deals with people in their conference or division unless they absolutely have to or it's a no brainer. Cleveland, Miami, Detroit, Boston, etc. deals are not happening. We can forget any Gooden deal or Haslem deal or Posey deal. With Ernie in charge, i doubt we're that stupid. I HOPE we're not that stupid. The only way it happens if it is a one sided deal in our favor.

Posted by: mark | July 6, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, what you say about DS is probably true, but teams don't seem to be blowing up his cell phone with offers, either. I think EG is doing the right thing in letting the market set DS's price. If no other offer materializes, I might eventually sweeten the pot a bit, but I probably wouldn't go over, say, $13.4 mil over 4 years. This would be one more year and a higher per year average than the offer he turned down last year and would allow him to say that he got a better contract by taking less initially from the Wizards.

And Sagaliba, even if the Wizards do disappoint next year, I don't think there's any way that they fire EJ, not until Gilbert signs an extension with the team. He's on record as wanting EJ and his system to remain in place, and I think the Wizards will pay attention to that.

Posted by: rbpalmer | July 6, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Ed. If I'm the Wizards' GM (and lord knows that if Pollin fires Grunfeld, I should be), I'm using Navarro as the chip that will get me a very good center. If that's not going to do it, though, I'm keeping the little dude. I'm not trading the MVP of the Spanish league for a backup point guard on Memphis (the league's worst team) who apparently is so good Memphis just drafted Mike Conley.

I've already offered Stevenson a decent salary. If he rejects that, I'm looking around for another SG. If he accepts that, I'm offering the rest of the MLE to Navarro. If Navarro rejects that, I'm telling him, "We should have more money next summer. See you then, brother!"

I'm shopping Daniels and Thomas, but if I can't get something good back or at least cap relief, I'm keeping those two. They are solid players, and PGs and Cs are the hardest positions to fill in basketball.

I'm requiring Jordan and Haywood to get group counseling. No joke. That's what counseling is for -- when people have the same goals (both guys want to win and want Haywood to be successful), but don't have the communication skills to get along and overcome the hurdles they face, you bring in a trained counselor to help them. What have you got to lose?

I'm telling Jordan to stop fooling around with smallball, and to stop talking about defense and get serious about it. I'm telling him that if the team is in the upper half of the league in FG% allowed this season, his assistants get extended for two years with a raise.

And I'm totally redecorating Susan O'Malley's office.

Posted by: Sean | July 6, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse


anon, again I did say that Hughes is/was more talented but within the Wiz team his effectiveness is similar to DS'. I've watched Hughes play ever since he played with Iverson and I was quite optimistic with his talents then but I've realized it's mostly fool's gold just looking at his talents. There's no doubt he can create his own shots but his success rate on them aren't much higher than poor DS'.

Different wording, but we essentially agree in any case. And we definitely agree that most any average guard will play well with Gil but if DS and Wiz can find a middle ground, it's for the best. No need to learn each other's tendencies again, chemistry issues, plus DS usually doesn't force many shots up w/ the full Big 3 on the court. He knows how to play his role pretty well - nothing more and nothing less - isn't that what the Wiz need as a 4th or 5th cog on the floor? That is worth 3-4M/year IMHO. Thanks.


Posted by: Wizzin' By Ya | July 6, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Also agree, I'd take a future 1st round pick for Navarro's rights.

P.S. I hate the Yankees

Posted by: Darnell | July 6, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Good point Mark. You brought back memories mentioning that 93 team of the Bullets. The 07 Wiz. Version well oiled machine is not running as it should because Gilbert is still a "shoot first" point guard. That is not a knock on him, but he is who he is. This offense runs at its best when the point is doing what he is supposed to do.

The Nets have Jason Kidd to run their "O" (pass first guard) and the Kings have Mike Bibby (pass first guard). The Wizards run that offense when Daniels is running the show because he is also a "pass first guard".

I tend to compare this offense to learning the "West Coast" offense in football. Gilbert is the quarterback and like D. McNabb with the Eagles (running first instead of staying in the pocket and passing) Gilbert has to fight his natural urge to shoot first and instead make the one or two extra passes and let the offensive sets develop first.

The back door cuts and the high pick and rolls will come because everyone is afraid of the "big three's scoring power. How is it the Wiz stayed in every game with Cleveland with that starting five we had out there?

It was the system!!! When the system is ran like it is supposed to, you will get the great results. Again, for all the negative things I have to say about Eddie; he has taught his system well.

It is up to Gilbert to run it correctly. By that I mean Gil needs to pick his spots when he will take over and when he will be an assist man. Comes with time and I am willing to wait for him.

As for EJ being called out about not teaching defense, I believe the guy tries, but when you have Gilbert and Jamison trying to play defense on the perimeter you will have a total team breakdown.

Is this Jamison's fault. No, the man is just not gifted in the area. His feet look like they are in cement all of the time on defense. He even looks awkard with his footwork on offense, but he found a way to get around that with his crazy looking shots.

As for Gilbert, he is perfectly capable of playing great deal, but he tries to save himself for offense. He will jump an occasional passing lane every now and then but that is about it. When his man "blows" past him that puts stress on the rest of the defense. So certain people get "called out" for it when it was not even their man.

Look for good things from Gil this year. I think he will be even more "well rounded" with his game now. With all of these scorers now, he might now feel he does not have to save himself for offense anymore and he can then start playing some better defense out on the perimeter.

Posted by: mikie | July 6, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Here's a few deal that work and are acceptable salary-wise, and would not use our MLE.

Etan Thomas + rights to Juan Carlos Navarro


Orlando for SF/SG Hedo Tukoglu


TWolves for SG/SF Ricky Davis


Miami for F Udonis Haslem


Memphis for F/C Stromile Swift + F Hakim Warrick

I would take any of those trades

Posted by: Darnell | July 6, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

God I hope EG doesn't make any of those trades.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree - those trades blow.

I think people are assuming that if Etan's contract goes away, the Wizards have cap room next summer to sign a big free agent. Looking at the numbers, if Blatche is signed this summer and Gilbert next summer, that's not the case.

Posted by: Joe | July 6, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse


It's not so much about dumping JCN. I'd be happy to have him here too, he would add a veteran clutch scorer and distributor with Big Time experience. He's won at every level besides the NBA. If I get nothing back for him, I'm happy to keep him.

The only hesitation I got: His likely drawbacks are a poor fit with our current weaknesses (defense) which in his case can't be helped by a guy like (defensive guru) Tommy T since the flaws are athletic not fundamentals. His fundamentals are actually pretty good, now. They used to be Jamison-esque, he didn't even try to defend.

The Euroleagues get a bad rap, but they have far better team defense than you see here, and because the guys aren't as athletic as the NBA, when they are forced to foul they will hack the crap out of you. You have to get tough to play in say, Turkey for instance.

But that said why would I deal JCN?

1.Player development.
2.Roster flexibility/cap issues.
3.Chemistry/roster issues.
4.Retain Gil.
5.Add young talent.

The first part I talked about: we lose one of the two co-starting centers, and his large contract, we have flexibility to grow our own Bigs and to add/retain pieces we like. Abe maneuvered Ernie into keeping Etan, but it wasn't the most fiscally sound move.

I'm not on the 'dump DeShawn' bandwagon. We can't lose our starting 2-guard every year and hope to improve. It's a guard oriented offense. There's a reason why DS-2 fit in quickly with the team, while other offguards had to struggle to learn the system. DS2 knows the offense, they played a similar style in Orlando.

If we try to plug'n'play a new 2-guard every year in a guard-critical offense, we're always going to be playing catch-up. You keep him even if he eventually loses his starters job to a better talent, he keeps the offense clicking at the pre-all-star level of last year.

The system works best when all players are familiar with it/each other. You're read and react is at the speed of thought, you don't have to be the smartest guy, just familiar with the other personnel.

The best teams keep their core together long term. Even if they're not the best at their position, they play better than their talent because they are complementary and know their role.

N1 Nick Young will eventually replace DS2, but you can't hope for it in year one.

If the team loses DS2, and struggles trying to integrate a replacement... well we've seen that story before. And so has Gil.

WE CAN'T LOSE OUR STARTING 2-GUARD EVERY YEAR and look like serious contenders for the Finals. (oops, sorry about the caps).

So the question is: can we keep DeShawn and JCN both? Nope. Prob'ly not.

So: is retaining JCN worth losing Gil? Or backsliding once again: one step forward one step back?


But if we can add a talent (I'll break down Lowry in a bit) and maybe get some picks int eh bargain, as well as build roster flexibility and improve the chemistry....

It's a good move.

(I'll jabber on the Princeton thingy in a bit, but got to run an errand).


Posted by: doclinkin | July 6, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's JUST a question of unloading Etan's contract--although that would be a plus. It's also question of improving the Wizard's talent in the front court.

Etan has good energy on the court, but I have a hard time seeing him as a starter at the 5 for any NBA team. Even if he were to move over to the 4, I still don't see him starting on the average NBA team. Haywood may be locker-room poison, but he's got the talent of a mid-level NBA starter, and he's got a contract that fits that profile. Etan is not delivering at the level that you'd expect from a guy at his pay grade.

So yeah, if the Wizards can upgrade their talent here obviously they should.

As far as Mark's point about not trading with teams in your conference or division goes, I agree. I think it holds more true for the division than the conference, but it's got to be part of the calculation.

Posted by: JPT | July 6, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, doclinkin

The obvious thing to do is to keep JCN, but I guess the Wiz have to think deeper than the obvious.

The Wiz have used all sorts of valid reasons and logic to talk themselves out of winning players over the years. Your reasons not to accept the JCN gift are as good or better than anything the Wiz will come up with--but the Wiz will find those valid reasons not to bring JCN in.

I would like to see the infusion of new talent to elevate the team in the playoffs and move beyond respectability.

Resigning DeShawn won't do that. DeShawn is a good .500 player on a .500 team.

Based on your reasoning, it sounds like the Wiz have no choice but to lose the nice JCN addition. If so, I'll look forward to collge BB around here.

Posted by: Ed | July 6, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

But Doc, while you make good points about keeping Stevenson for continuity's sake, why do you need to get rid of JCN? If there isn't the money to sign him this summer, sign him next summer. He won't like it, but tough.

And again, why would you trade a potentially very good player just to move Etan's contract? What would dumping Etan's contract allow you to do? The team won't have cap room. The only possible way to get cap room next summer is to not resign Jamison at all next summer, and then you might only have $6 million or so if you resign Stevenson and Blatche this summer. So you would dump Jamison, Etan and JCN for a $6 million signing? That's crazy.

If moving Etan's contract is so important, should the Wizards consider trading Caron along with Etan and Daniels? I would think not -- why trade a good player to get salary off the books?

Posted by: Sean | July 6, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Doc, those are hard priorities to argue with. Also those sound like the right questions to ask about trade-offs.

Stevenson is also a proven talent that meshes with the starting talent here in DC whereas JCN is an x-factor. At some point you have to build around the known quantities--and the Wizards are certainly in a position where they can't afford to tinker too much.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Princeton O.

Posted by: JPT | July 6, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Grunfeld has a minimum for JCN and a maximum for DS. If no team puts up an acceptable talent/pick for JCN he would be happy to have him on the team. Also if Stevenson balks at his best offer, I don't think Grunfeld would think twice about letting him leave. No one on the team has to be traded and they are not handcuffed by a role player they have to keep. Even if no moves are made the Wizards have the best looking roster top to bottom in the East(esp if Andray comes back). Again no one has to be traded. The Wiz should be looking for the right package to come across and make a small tweek to the roster. Maybe I am too excited for Young and Pech, but unless they unexpectedly stink it up in Vegas everyone thinks they will be solid contributors next season.

Posted by: CurtisLee | July 6, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Ricky Davis, are you kidding? Dude has been disowned by his home state and hasn't been on a good basketball team in years. He can't be a contributing member on any decent team, he's a cancer through and through. I can't believe anyone suggested trading for Ricky f'ing Davis. Wow that's pretty crazy.

If Stevenson doesn't want the $3 million/year then he doesn't want to play here very badly. It's a more than fair offer for a guy not long removed from the status of the worst starter in the entire league. No way he should get the entire exception, that's almost as crazy as trading for Ricky Davis.


Posted by: Don't do it | July 6, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

One thing we haven't talked about is where else Stevenson could go. What other teams need a SG? I assume that to get more money than the Wizards are offering, he would need to be that new team's starting SG. So which teams are in the market for a starting SG? Or which teams would be willing and able to beat the Wizards' offer for a backup SG?

Posted by: Red | July 6, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

If Stevenson doesn't want the $3 mill per year then let him walk. Say goodbye to Hayes and plug Navarro and Nick Young in their place (we won't have to worry about getting new 2 guards for awhile after that). I think we are going to have to get used to the idea that BTH and Etan are going nowhere. I still wish Ernie Grunfeld would consider using Jamison to try and get us a frontcourt presence (and get either BTH or Etan off the team), but it doesn't appear that is going to occur.
As for Thibodeau I think some of the posters are right, you could see him replace Eddie Jordan if the team gets off to a crap start in the first 15 or 20 games next year (I just wonder how he will mesh with Gilbert if that occurs).

Posted by: George Templeton | July 6, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Etan battles hard, gives consistent effort, is a coachable guy, articulate, reasonable, community-oriented. Has been a co-captain, works as hard as anybody in the weight room."

LOL, Etan has been in Washington for 6/7 years (longest tenure I believe), as the highest paid center, and do not have number to justify that. If he is so coachable, then whoever coaching him must not doing a good job. :)

He started all 4 of Wizards playoff game this season, and averaged 5 points (in comparison, Haywood's playoff average is 9.3 when starting). He is an over-priced commodity, and any good financial manager will tell you to dump them whenever you can.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Cynic alert!

Does it really matter who the players are if Eddie Jordan's the coach? He misuses his players, he doesn't understand rotations, he can't manage this team. Cases in point:
- His sickening, season-long love affair with Jarvis Hayes.
- His hatred toward Brendan, who IS MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE THAN ETAN. Facts are facts, no matter what anyone may think of his softness, attitude, etc. The way he used Haywood in the playoffs was a travashamockery.
- Keeping Blatche bolted to the bench, and consistently taking him out when he was playing well. Not only did it cost us in the W/L, but it's stunted Andray's growth.
- Overplaying starters from the beginning.
- Going smallball at every opportunity, costing us more games.
- The worst substitution patterns this side of Doc Rivers.

Need I continue?

Posted by: Keithinator | July 6, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

ESPN's John Hollinger suggests the Wiz should keep JCN:

Posted by: Mike in SD | July 6, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

We weren't gonna win the championship with DS anyways...JCN is probably an upgrade. this team is only competitive not championship material. what's the goal...playoff appearences?

Posted by: George | July 6, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

People need to stop posting Insider articles. No one is paying to be an insider. This is the reason why SI and Yahoo overtook ESPN as my online go to's for sports (besides Wa Post, obviously). Everything on that site you have to be an Insider for. Also Simmons has been running on fumes since the NFL season ended.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse


wut happened to your boy fresensko...or wuteva his name was

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I think the Haywood in the blogs is much better than the Haywood I saw on the court. "Better Statistally on Defense" maybe so but the guy lets rebounds hit him in the chest. Now Thomas...he gets his hands on the ball - it's just that he has stone hands.

Neither of those guys is a starting NBA center. Ernie...Go get Yi

Posted by: Cballer | July 6, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

The goal is definitely championships--and the Wizards won't get there without a dominant front-court presence and/or some significantly improved defensive play.

Assuming that JCN even comes to the NBA--and that's still a BIG "if"--he won't give the Wizards an answer to either of those questions. If Stevenson walks it would be nice to have JCN as an option, but otherwise I see his presence as more of a lateral move. JCN will give the Wizards a little bit more on offense, but he's going to be a downgrade from Stevenson on the defensive end. There's the Arenas factor too (a plus in Stevenson's favor) and questions about whether JCN's style of play will blend with the Wizards offense.

With Stevenson we know what we're getting--and when all of those pieces were clicking, and everyone was healthy--that "something" equaled the 2nd best 5 man unit in terms of point differential in the NBA. Let's not sell Stevenson short on this one. He may not be worth an MLE to most NBA teams, but he's a good fit here in Washington.

Has anyone considered too that JCN might NOT come to the NBA? What will happen then to the value of his draft rights? Any way you cut it there's some risk here regardless of what the Wizards do (or don't do).

If it was a question of getting some extra help in the front-court and keeping Stevenson, or losing Stevenson and bringing in JCN--I would opt for choice #1.

The worst case is to lose both JCN and Stevenson and to have nothing to show for it.

Posted by: JP2 | July 6, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Mark goes :
Princeton [zip]

My problem is with the offense itself. I like a motion offense but relying on smarts instead of athleticism isn't what I want to see with this team.

Our guys now can run and jump with the best of them and shouldn't be restrained. Maybe I'm cynical because I was led to believe that by year 2 we'd be clicking like a well oiled machine and backdoor cutting everyone. It hasn't worked out that way.



Nothing restrained about it. Last year for about 2-3 months there we were playing historically efficient offense. Equivalent to a 70+ win team on the offensive end.

But notice the system broke down when Jamison got injured, the spacing fell apart and suddenly Gil & Caron were easier to defend.

It's not just a matter of hoping the players get hot. Gilbert and Tawn played together with Larry -- but none of them found a way to get 'hot' enough to carry the team to anything more than a losing season or two.

Caron played with Dwade and Odom, and Kobe, but has had his best/most efficient years here with this squad.

The point of the NBA-hybrid Princeton offense is about creating mismatches. You turn your weaknesses into strengths. You turn the game inside out, make the Bigs evacuate the middle, then everyone else has room to attack inside.

It's the reason why the team has had successes with guys who were considered talented but ultimately expendable 'tweeners' at every other stop.

Jamison is a finesse 'power' forward? Fine, suddenly he's hitting threes from outside and the opposing Frontcourt has to abandon the paint and chase him.

Caron is a Power Forward in a shooting guards body? Great, now he's crashing downhill into the paint like a bowling ball on a spiral staircase.

Gil is too small to play the Shooter's spot? Maybe but he's too strong for PG's to defend and too quick for anyone else.

They just need the space to operate.

But it's not gonna look like your traditional slow, smart, short, pale Ivy League version. And there's not enough time for the 35 second careful working the ball around that the college game can handle.

The NBA hybrid is about running a set or two to get the right spacing, the right mismatch, then exploiting the mismatch. In many cases, letting Gil attack the basket is the right mismatch.

The system is dangerous because within the structure it puts decision-making in the hands of the players. Thus it's harder to game plan against, they can improvise and surprise you.

It's jazz, not a symphony.

But that said. Right now we have a Big Three, and nothing else. If any one of those parts isn't clicking, the team falls apart.

Some part of that is because we're missing half the playbook. Remember the offense was initially developed watching Bill Russell and Sam Jones run teams ragged. The sweet-passing Big Pivot is a huge part of the game.

With a quality Big who can pass (and shoot, and dribble and finish) we suddenly have a chance at a Big Five. He can see and make dump passes and lobs--

(now that we have a couple alley-oop possibilities in Quik Young and the Dominator)

-- in passing lanes that others can't see/reach or defend.

The team becomes dangerous from every position.

Then in kill-time, we can turn it over to Gil as needed. Shoot, if the system was good enough for a few unathletic pocket-protector nerds in Princeton, it becomes twice as deadly when you have All-star quality ath-elites running it.

Last thing: until the Wiz get a certifiable dominant low-post Monster there will be premium on figuring a way to solve the enemy super-bigs.

The league is changing to take advantage of skilled smaller quick players, but Big Uglies still weigh heavy in the postseason and NBA Finals.

A team can't bank on recruiting one, they're as rare as ecologically-sensitive Republicans-- but what we do have is two skilled ~7 footers with motor and hustle and energy. Both young, both growing up with the squad (knock wood) and seemingly they get along with each other.

We're well-positioned to be a remarkably dynamic team with an unsolvable puzzle of an offense, attacking like ninjas then fading like smoke.

You know, provided all develops as planned...

(Scary ain't it Wiz fans? Sometimes the good times make you more nervous than the bad. You can only hope and work hard do good works build good karma and be thankful for all the little things. But mostly you can always pray...)


Posted by: doclinkin | July 6, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

We've got to stop thinking of JCN as a starter, it's just plain unrealistic.

Look, practically every team in the NBA has weaknesses. For the Wizards the most glaring appeared to be interior defense and bench production last year. Nothing has changed inside (so far). If they are fortunate enough to bring in JCN and keep Blatche and Stevenson, their bench could consist of Navarro, Blatche, Pecherov, Songaila, Young.....

You see where I'm going I'm sure. Aside from Songaila (who I can't wait to get a full season out of), we are talking about around 4 points a game last year. I'm just exaggerating to be funny, but that's a whole lot of "potential." Look through previous drafts, the middle of the first round is full of hits and misses.

I love the character of this team and can't wait for the season to start, but I think we should be realistic and open minded as far as possible trades that don't sound very flashy (Posey).

Posted by: Patrick | July 6, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Seattle should trade Kevin Durant to Miami for Posey so they don't have to worry about Durant living up to his potential.

Posted by: To Patrick | July 6, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Rather extreme example but point taken.

Posted by: To: To: Patrick | July 6, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree with your point, in principle, Patrick, but I still wouldn't bother with Posey. Until the Wiz solve the toughness deficit inside, they're not going to take the next step.

As for "just exaggerating to be funny" ... it's not much of an exaggeration. By the numbers, the Wizards had one of (if not the) least productive benches in the NBA last season.

Neither of those guys is a starting NBA center. Ernie...Go get Yi

Posted by: Cballer | July 6, 2007 05:29 PM

They'd be 20 mpg backups (if that) on almost any other playoff caliber team.

Posted by: kalorama | July 6, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, do you know what is up with JR Reynolds?

And to the anonymous poster, Kyrylo Fesenko was drafted by Philly. He will prove to be the steal of the draft.

Posted by: Darnell | July 6, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

And you all are crazy! You don't like those trades?? What kind of spinach you been smokin?

All these trades work salary-wise and do not involve our MLE. All players are in prime under 30 yrs old.

Etan + rights to Navarro


Turkoglu: 6-8 SG/SF knows the princeton, played same system in Sac, avg 13.3 pts, 4 boards, 3.2 assts last season.

Udonis Haslem: 6-8 F, defense oriented scrapper, avg 10.7 pts, 8.3 boards, 1.2 assts last season.

Ricky Davis: 1 yr left on deal, salary off books next offseason when need to sign Gil. 6-7 SG/SF avg 17 pts, 3.9 boards, 4.8 assts last season.

F/C Stromile Swift AND F Hakim Warrick: Swift 6-10 avg 7.8 pts, 4.8 boards, 1.1 blocks last season. Warrick 6-9 avg 12.7 pts, 5.1 boards, 1 asst last season.

Personally out of these, I like Turkoglu the best. But Haslem would add some badly needed D and rebounding. Warrick is a good young player also. Any of these deals would be good additions to our bench.

Posted by: Darnell | July 6, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

OK. I am going to throw up now. we have a stud euro guard who can hit the three at a 40% mark and all we are talking about is getting rid of him for......wait for it......JAMES POSEY and DONYELL MARSHALL! I am dizzy with the dubmness of whoever is contemplating those moves.

Posted by: tmac | July 6, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

>>>>>>>>>>>Posted by: Sean
But Doc, while you make good points about keeping Stevenson for continuity's sake, why do you need to get rid of JCN? If there isn't the money to sign him this summer, sign him next summer.

And again, why would you trade a potentially very good player just to move Etan's contract? What would dumping Etan's contract allow you to do? The team won't have cap room.

Bring in JCN next summer? You mean after we re-up Gilbert to a MAX $ extension?

Not likely.

See the Salary Cap isn't the mugger in the alley in any of these scenarios. What the team would like to avoid at all costs is the Luxury Tax.

Unless you have a billionaire in the pocket for whom the team is a vanity project--

-- or if you have a media empire and can afford to take a loss just to have programming (see NYKnicks--

--it just doesn't pay to exceed the Lux tax. Literally.

Every dollar you exceed the cap gets sent out to the League to divvy up with your competitors. You not only have to shell out dollars to make your competitors richer and better prepped to outbid you-- but you forfeit your right to all that free cash that is being taxed off other poor money managers.

It's not about being greedy, it's about sane business practices. Who can afford to give up as much as 10 million dollars in free revenue?

And as for what you do with the flexibility-- it's not just about picking up free agents (unless they're your own UFA they're notoriously a poor deal).

It's about having room to make a trade for a quality player. If we don't have Big Poet's awkward contract, we have very few other deals that handcuff the team.

We're stocked with young talent or productive stars being fairly compensated. We have Jamison's deal, but it's expiring--

--which in and of itself is an asset to a team trying to carve out cap space and trade a discontented MAX contract megastar.--

And that's it. After next year we have Gilbert and whatever we can land in trade, can develop at home, or can squeak in under the Lux tax.

Though in the Lowry scenario I left out the idea that the Wiz try to flip-flop Griz draft picks, or pick them up outright.

So. The point isn't JCN for Lowry.
Or JCN vs. DeShawn. The Point is:

Resign DS = keep core & build on previous success (with improved talent on the bench)= Keep Gilbert.
Free up minutes room for the young Bigs to develop.
Preserve flexibility to land qualified superstar, or trade for best fit.
Land developing talent, or improved/extra picks for the future.

Memphis is only one scenario, the one more likely to bid high and give good value. But I expect there are other bidders, which keeps it all interesting.

If in the end we decide to keep JCN, like I said, I'm cool with that. But the fact that we get good value whether the Wiz keep him or let him go only makes the team's position stronger when they take calls inquiring what he's worth to the team.

Finding out his value to see if we have leverage to get roster flexibility as well as stock up for the future is the smart thing to do.

Which is why a smart guy like Ernie is clearly doing that very same thing.

Posted by: doclinkin | July 6, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

JCN + Ruffin + Mike Hall for Boozer

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

By the way. Just because I mentioned his name a couple times, I figured I'd give a quick sketch on Lowry.

Tough fast defensive point guard/combo guard. Plays far bigger than his height defensively, is fast as a cockroach and about as tough.

Has an attacking style that forces fouls on opponents, had the highest ratio of Free Throws per Field Goal Attempt of any Point Guard in his draft class.

Basically on the Wizards bench he'd be equivalent to Juan Dixon plus pitbull-tenacious defense. A decent fit for the team needs.

Posted by: doclinkin | July 6, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Ivan mentioned Cavs as a possibility....

Etan + rights to Navarro for Gooden also is a deal that works salary-wise.

Not a big Gooden fan, but I'd take him over Marshall.

Posted by: Darnell | July 6, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

JCN + former rights to Steve Colter for Yao Ming

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Have the Wizards talked to the Jazz about Kirilenko at all? Jamison would have to be part of the deal, but isn't AK-47 the player this team needs.

Posted by: George Templeton | July 6, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Based on Les BouleS offer to DS, his back is clearly against the wall. He has absolutely no leverage whatsoever. If he doesn't swallow his pride and sign that 4 year, 12 mil deal, it'll be another year of making 1 mil, and that means he'd have lost 4 million over 2 years, something that he won't ever make up. I don't see an upside to DS.

Ivan can compare him to Kapono, but Kapono has college experience, is 6-8, and is a deadeye 3 point shooter. DS will never scare anyone with his defense, not Luke Ridnour, and not even Earl Boykins.

Gilby might like DS and want him on his team, but for sure, Gilby ain't dumb enough to cut him a lil' somethin' somethin' off his contract to pay for DS. Plus, Les BouleS need that roster spot for JCN.

Posted by: DC Man88 | July 6, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Gil doesn't need to cut Stevenson a check to make him feel better. This is a business. If Stevenson rejects the latest offer, Ernie should move on and work with the Navarro camp. This thing is getting ridiculous, it's either one or the other.

Posted by: Raf | July 6, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Also, based on what Grunfeld signed EJ's assistants for, we all know EJ is going to be on a short leash this season. If they cann EJ, then they won't have to pay much severance when they cann his assistants too due to their 1 year contract.

For sure though, we don't have to worry about Unseld Jr. being out of work. Abe's got his boy Unseld Sr.'s back, and Unseld Jr. will move to the front office at least until Abe sells to the team to Leonsis.

Posted by: DC Man88 | July 6, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Ricky Davis: 1 yr left on deal, salary off books next offseason when need to sign Gil. 6-7 SG/SF avg 17 pts, 3.9 boards, 4.8 assts last season.


Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think they need to clear cap space in order to resign Gil.

The damage Ricky Davis would do to team morale, not to mention inevitably clashing with Arenas, far outweighs any potential cap relief.

Gil doesn't need Stevenson to be happy, he needs to win. He liked Larry Hughes and Laron Profit well enough among other and look where it got them?

I can't stress enough how bad making a move for Ricky Davis would be. I mean the other deals weren't exactly players I would like to have, but I wouldn't object nearly as much to a deal for Davis.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

"A league source yesterday indicated that Navarro could be looking for a three-year deal worth $9 million to $12 million."

Someone please tell me what the heck EG is waiting for?

Sign Navarro NOW and let Stevenson go somewhere else since he thinks he deserves more money. He's really not that good.

You're telling me that Navarro can't score 11.2 points a game???

Com'on take a chance EG, show some balls.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | July 6, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ray! I'd rather have Navarro! We've been waiting years for this guy! Now he's available to us, asking for a reasonable contract. What are we doing!!? La Bomba baby!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ray! I'd rather have Navarro! We've been waiting years for this guy! Now he's available to us, asking for a reasonable contract. What are we doing!!? La Bomba baby!!

Posted by: Darnell | July 6, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Amen to that. We need to see JCN in the summer league, especially since all the games will be televised by Comcast.

What does scare me though is JCN's numbers. He's supposedly 6-4 and 170lbs. Even AI is 6-0 and 165 lbs. Doesn't seem like JCN is going to go inside much, or he'll take a beating.

Posted by: DC Man88 | July 6, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

So from reading Ivan's article it seems pretty clear to me, its either JCN or Stevenson.........I vote JCN 10 times out of 10. it would be shocking if he did less than stevenson.

Posted by: tmac | July 6, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Bad news, this could have been a good pickup for les boules, but it seems like EG is not really in the free agent market this season:

"The Bulls have agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Andres Nocioni, general manager John Paxson confirmed this afternoon. Nocioni's deal is in the neighborhood of $38 million over five years. It will become official when the NBA's free-agent negotiating period ends next week. Arlington Heights Daily Herald"

Posted by: DC Man88 | July 6, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

More bad news for Les BouleS if Dallas/Cuban gets into the Blatche Sweepstakes:

"The Mavericks want a free agent or two who can provide immediate help, but they also have backup plans, such as Washington's Andray Blatche, a 6-11 forward-center who turns 21 next month. Blatche, who averaged 3.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season, is a restricted free agent, meaning the Wizards can match any offer tendered to him. Dallas Morning News"

Posted by: DC Man88 | July 6, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Good news for a local hero:

"The Heat fulfilled one of its priorities Thursday -- signing first-round pick Daequan Cook -- and is working on acquiring help at point guard and small forward. Enter Blake, one of the most coveted point guards on the free agent market. Cindy and her husband, Richard, have put nearly 300,000 miles on their two vehicles during the past 10 years traveling to their son's games at the University of Maryland and NBA arenas during Steve's stints with Washington, Portland, Milwaukee and Denver. Miami Herald

Now that Blake can choose where he plays the next several years, Riley isn't the only one recruiting him ''back home,'' where he once starred for Miami High. ''I hope Miami is the one, and I know he would love to play for Miami,'' Cindy Blake said. ``But he knows wherever he goes, this will be the biggest contract of his career and the biggest decision. He'll lean toward the best money and opportunity.'' Miami Herald"

Posted by: DC Man88 | July 6, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

EG doesn't have enough room to go after the major free agents, and we kinda knew that. His priorities are Blatche, Stevenson, Navarro and the possibility of trading Etan. Everything will fall into place eventually.

Next year is the key though. Jamison comes off the books, which gives us around $12 million in cap space as of now...possibly a little less depending on his signings.

Posted by: Raf | July 6, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

True, Jamison comes off the books next year, but also next year is when Gilby wants his "max" contract. Grunfeld does not seem to me to be a guy who will bow to any player's demands. It'll be interesting what Gilby will get, but a lot of it will depend on what Gilby does this coming season. If he doubles up the first half of this past season, he'll probably get whatever he wants.

Posted by: DC Man88 | July 6, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

DC Man88 is all about some blogging 2 night

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

That's OK, as long as he (DC Man88) sticks to B-Ball and keeps it clean I for one am more than happy to have him back....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

the NWO is toooo SWEEEEEEEET

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

With Rashard Lewis getting a max deal, there's almost no way Gilbert takes (or deserves) anything less than max. The only scenario is if he sacrifices some cash to leave the team some room to sign or resign others.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2007 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Just to add to the constant chorus: Wizards fans have been waiting for years for Juan Carlos Navarro to become available. Each year, right around draft time, we would hope against hope that this year, finally, JCN will somehow get out of that Barcelona contract.

We've grown accustomed to thinking that Navarro could be a missing link for this team. We would track him, looking for his name in the blurbs in the press about Spanish basketball. We would look for any mention of him at all in the draft-time articles about what lies on the Wizards' horizon. And now, after investing ourselves in this for so long, we're being told that the investment may be traded before we know what he was worth. You can understand why people might be a little upset.

The enthusiasm you see for JCN on the part of Washington Wizards fans has been years in the making. Ernie Grunfeld, I beseech you: please don't take it lightly. All I want is for Wizards management to value this guy as much as the fans do.

Posted by: Chris in Santa Fe | July 7, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!keep the euro dude here!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: FLINSTON E | July 7, 2007 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Even if ernie matches any offer to AB all AB has to tell the wiz dogs that he does't want to return and not sign the offer sheet.

The problem ernie has is there isn't enough money for AB, Deshawn and JNC to divie up. They only have the MLE of 5 Mil. Remember JNC is a second round pick and he isn't going to settle for peanuts!

Posted by: The Godfather | July 7, 2007 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Doc indicated above that trading JCN was needed due to the luxury tax. He didn't provide any details, so I checked it out, and apparently the luxury tax could be an issue. Could be THE issue.

The salary cap this past year was $53.1 million, Luxury tax threshold was $65.4 million. Let's guess that those increase to $56 million and $68 million this season.

Wizards salary this year (so far):
Antawn Jamison $16,360,095
Gilbert Arenas $11,946,667
Caron Butler $8,218,990
Etan Thomas $6,370,000
Antonio Daniels $5,800,000
Brendan Haywood $5,000,000
Darius Songaila $3,942,000
Nick Young $1,491,240
Oleksiy Pecherov $1,345,800
TOTALS: $60,474,792

Add $3 million for Stevenson and $4 million for Blatche, that bring the total to $67.4 million, just under the luxury tax threshold. So signing Navarro (or giving Stevenson and Blatche a total of $7.5 million or more) would cause the Wizards to exceed the threshold. (Note that even signing a couple of other players to the minimum, including McGuire, threatens to push the team over the threshold.)

Wizards salaries next summer:
Antawn Jamison $0
Gilbert Arenas $12,800,000
Caron Butler $8,999,980
Etan Thomas $6,860,000
Antonio Daniels $6,200,000
Brendan Haywood $5,500,000
Darius Songaila $4,234,000
Nick Young $1,602,960
Oleksiy Pecherov $1,446,720
TOTALS: $47,643,660

Add about $8 million from the Stevenson and Blatche deals (due to increases each year), and you get $55.6 million. Gil is going to opt out, so that will raise his salary by about $3 million more, so that's $58.6 million. Assuming the luxury tax threshold is set next summer at around $70 million, that means Jamison and any other free agents (including Navarro) would need to be resigned for less than a total of $11.4 million to avoid the tax.

So, moving Etan or another large salary alleviates the luxury tax problem to a great extent. The problem that I have with all of this is, of course, that Navarro could be really good, so why is he the carrot that will be used to fix this problem that Ernie created? Think about it -- Ernie could do a lot of things to solve this problem: (1) Not resign Stevenson; (2) Not resign Blatche; (3) trade Etan, Haywood, Daniels or Songalia to any team with cap room in exchange for just a second round pick; (4) entice other teams to a trade of the above by throwing in Pecherov or Young or whoever; etc., etc. But somehow Ernie apparently has decided that Songalia, Daniels, Young, Pecherov, Stevenson, Blatche, etc., etc. are all less expendable and all are better players than Navarro. On what basis? I fear that he decided that simply because Navarro wasn't his pick.

If the Wizards traded Navarro to get something great in return, I'd have no problem with it. But it seems he might be traded to (1) avoid the luxury tax; (2) clean up a problem that Ernie and management have made; (3) allow the team to keep Stevenson, Blatche, Pecherov, and Young; and for other reasons that have nothing to do with Navarro's skills as a basketball player. It's too bad.

Posted by: Henry | July 7, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I am sorry but if it is a choice between Stevenson at 3 mill per and Navarro at 3 mil per, I will take Navarro. The chance that Navarro is a steal at that price is very high and if they have JCN, they don't neeed Mr. 50.
Gilbert's decision to stay here or leave will not rise and fall on whether Stevenson is here. Keeping Stevenson here and dealing JCN on the promise (and that is all that is) that Gilbert will stay is a big mistake.
Two other things. One I thought it was already explained in another blog post that the Wizards won't have to use any of the MLE to resign Blatche. Second I thought I read somewhere that ComCast SportsNet was going to have the Wizards summer league games. Is that true or not?

Posted by: George Templeton | July 7, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Been away for awhile, didn't have access to the Internet, but have been following all the Wizards news via. the paper and then I skimmed through the posts when I got back. Lisa, no that wasn't me a couple of days ago. If the other GM is going to post I guess one of us will adopt a number.
First of all, Grunfeld went to Spain this winter and the Wiz have scouted Navarro quite a bit, I can't imagine this move took him by surprise. I'm thinking that it's the reason that Daniels name suddenly popped up as being available prior to the draft.
I enjoyed Doclinkin's posts about the Princeton. But one thing that gets overlooked about the Wizards, for a team that has a rep as an offensive team we have very few offensive players. What I mean about an NBA caliber offensive player is someone that can create his own shot or can draw a double team to create spacing for others.
When Jamison went down teams quickly adapted by shading their players a little closer to the lane so they could help on Gilbert or double down on Caron. Jarvis got open J's because the book on the Wiz was without Jamison there wasn't a reliable 3 baller for Arenas to kick it to.
With Young and Navarro we have two new offensive threats to go in the rotation. With Pecherov and an expanding role for Blatche we have two long young guys that have developing skills at the 4 and five.
In effect Jordan has 4 guys to a roll into the rotation that he didn't have last year. Blatche at the beginning of this year will be a completly different player that the one that reported to camp last year.
Ernie Grunfeld is a GM that gets his ducks in a row and acts and responds as needed. I think right now Grunfeld is concentrating Stevenson at a reasonable deal, he won't break the bank for him because he's got other guys to take care of. Since Blatche is restricted, he's got to wait to see what his agent comes back with. One thing that hasn't been discussed much is Blatche has the option to sign a one year tender and then test the waters as an full free agent next year.
The only way Blatche would leave this year would be if someone offered a hugh deal that we'd have to match, if that happens then sign and trade could be an option. It was discussed here a couple of weeks ago and because of the rules there are only a couple of teams that can make the kind of offer that would be cap busting to us because they'ed have to be under the cap.
I stated back in January that Abe might have to be ready to go a few million over to get everybody signed this yr. if Navarro came over and I still think it's true.
One thing about this team's defense, because Gilbert, Caron, and Jamison have been required to play heavy minutes and most of the offense goes through them it's difficult to ask them to be strong defensive players. More offensive options will allow the big three's minutes to go down and give them a chance to concentrate more effort on defense. Eddie had to rush them back in the game too often last year when the offense staggered to a halt. The odd man out on this roster seems to be Daniels, because with Navarro and Young added and Stevenson resigned he would seem expendable.If Stevenson turns us down I'd think Daniels would stay unless a deal to move one of our excess big guys would bring a gaurd. Haywood and Etan are others that would seem to be losing their role. I'd assume Ernie will let his staff continue to look at Pecherov, the Summer league will be the first test to see if he really can play center. With Vereemenko set to arrive next year I'd think that Ernie will be looking for ways to move Etan and Haywood this summer and next.
Packaging a future first rounder and cash with Etan would make his salary easier for a team to swallow as part of their rebuilding process. Haywood is tradable because his salary is modest for what he is, packaging him and Daniels would seem to make some amount of sense.
If Ernie can move thoose three contracts without getting stuck with a really bad deal in return he should be able to wade his way through the next couple of seasons and build a winner in the process.
I still wouldn't be shocked if a deal to get Gasol wouldn't be possible. It would take a couple of moves and we would have to give up one of the young guys that we have(Pecherov,Blatche, or Young) in the deal but it's possible. Chicago now seems to be sticking their foot in the Garnett waters and haven't been talking much about Gasol. If he's still available late this summer Ernie might have the pcs. now to pull it off.

Posted by: GM | July 7, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"I am sorry but if it is a choice between Stevenson at 3 mill per and Navarro at 3 mil per, I will take Navarro."


Look, Stevenson has NEVER averaged more then his 11.2 points a game he got last year. His shooting % went up because people had the defend the big 3 and people leaving him constantly open.

He WAS defended in the playoffs and promptly disappeared.

Ok now imagine Navarro in the same role. I think you're looking at a guy who can average 15 points a game and occasionally have a big game here and there and this will only make the big 3 better.

I'm sorry, but Stevenson doesn't do that. All I've ever seen the guy do is that "someone farted" thing with his hand after he makes his measley 11.2 points per game and he wants 6 mil a season?


Stevenson is a very average player at best. I'm willing to bet Young can have the same effectiveness at the two as a rookie in this offense.

Listen, if Gil thinks he can win a championship in Washington he ain't going anywhere.

Do the right thing EG, make yourself look like a genious. Sometimes you have to take chances....sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

11.2 points a game Ernie, Navarro can do that.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | July 7, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

True Henry writes:
Think about it -- Ernie could do a lot of things to solve this problem: (1) Not resign Stevenson; (2) Not resign Blatche; (3) trade Etan, Haywood, Daniels or Songalia to any team with cap room in exchange for just a second round pick; (4) entice other teams to a trade of the above by throwing in Pecherov or Young or whoever; etc., etc.

But somehow Ernie apparently has decided that Songalia, Daniels, Young, Pecherov, Stevenson, Blatche, etc., etc. are all less expendable and all are better players than Navarro. On what basis? I fear that he decided that simply because Navarro wasn't his pick.

Actually what you fear is that Ernie's eye for talent-evaluation/ business acumen aren't as good as yours. Let's see what we can do to alleviate it by addressing your points above:

(1) I'll recap:

Resigning the starting 2-guard for the first time in 4 years goes a long way towards looking like a legit team.

Retains the chemistry of the team that was #1 in the East for about a month and a half last year, before injuries hit.

Which reassures our Franchise player that the team is trying to win. Nevermind that the 2-guard is a pal of his, that's the least relevant point.

Fact is: you're retaining a known successful, proven player that fits with the team If the price is even in the ballpark of 'reasonable', it's worth it.

Vs. taking a flyer on a player who may be a poor fit, considering his defense has been (in the past) sub-average for Euro-ball standards. Compounds our current weakness at combo guard.

Essentially: you're risking Arenas for JCN.

(2)Combo guards are dime a dozen. Yes JCN is an interesting commodity. Nice resume. All else being equal he'd be a nice fit. But 6'11" guys with agility and skill are a rare breed. You pay to keep Bulletproof. Not even a question.

(3) 'Just trade someone for a 2nd rounder':

Haywood has a great contract. Impossible to get decent value for it in any trade. Would it be worth burning the contract for a round 2 guy? Uh. No.

He's cheap and productive and the Wiz' win/loss record when he plays decent minutes is unquestionable. Even if he is a big whiny punk. He's a 7' whiny punk with a 9'6" standing reach. Among all active NBA players drafted since 1999, only Yao Ming has a taller stretch. Only Dikembe Mutombo forced more outside shots than Haywood.

It boils down to this: even when he plays like a total sissy, Haywood is more effective (defensively) than most starting centers. And defense is what the Wiz lack most.

Can't stand the guy, he's a lousy fit for the offense... and the truth is the Wiz don't win much without him. And his contract is such a bargain that you don't clear up much space by losing him, nor can you get decent value back in trade.

A 2nd rounder? Doesn't come close.

Daniels. The league's top PG in assist to turnover. The guy who averaged something on the order of 11 assists in the playoffs. He's a solid commodity, a proven vet, has a sizeable contract, teams will trade for a point guard. But we can get better value for him in future trades than just clearing cap for 'Joan'.

Songaila. Burn Songaila for nothing? We need one player who knows how to run the High post to show young guys like Bulletproof and Pech how it's done. And it sure doesn't hurt that DSong speaks Russian (can help tutor Pecherov). It would be stupid, frankly, to lose the guy.

Etan. We're deep in the middle, cam afford to let him go, but he's got some value irrespective of his contract. You don't improve the team by trading something for nothing. That said most teams in the league would look at the value of his contract and decide it's not worth the production.

Teams with cap room are rare, usually they're trying to build space to make a play for a Big Ticket item ( to speak...) If you want them to take on a contract, you got to give them some inducement. JCN is the only one we got worth anything, that we're willing to trade. Well, AD as well, but we weren't getting many takers for that combo either.

At least nothing worth pulling the trigger for.

(4) Too late on Young and Pecherov now that we signed them (base Year Contract issues).

But come on. You want to get rid of the top 2-guard in a deep draft; or a high energy 7 footer with a sweet outside shot. For what. A guy who plays the same position as your franchise player, but possibly worse defense?

I like JCN but he's not worth all the contorsions here.

And by the way. The reason to free up space, and retain tradeable commodities is not just to limbo under the Lux Tax. But also to remain a potential player in any Big Ticket (...) trades that become available...

JCN is just not likely to be the keystone in any of those kinda deals.

Posted by: doclinkin | July 7, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

It's not even close, JCN is a proven, clutch player, one of the best in Europe DS???, he's decent role player who is being offered exactly what he is worth. Has he gotten any other offers??? and he wants Kapono/Carrol money?..puhlease.
It's only because he is Gilberts best buddy that we are still haggling with him.

Posted by: Wizzy | July 7, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

JCN is proven talent? Huh?

Have the Wizards moved to Barcelona this year? Are they playing in the Euro leagues now?

I'm joking here a little, but come on.

DS2 IS proven talent. We know pretty well what he can do against NBA talent; more importantly we know EXACTLY how he meshes with the talent on this Wizards team. And when the team was healthy in December and January only the starting 5 at Phoenix had a better point differential.

Let's keep things in perspective here. Stevenson is a good fit for this Wizards team. JCN would be a good addition here too based on what we know--but truth is we don't know much. The next Ginobili or Tony Parker? A perennial All-Star? Probably not. NBA quality talent? Probably. A better match for the Wizards starting rotation than Stevenson?

If that starting rotation last year was the 2nd worst in terms of scoring, then yeah you roll the dice. But there was only one unit that was better when the Wizards were healthy--last I checked the Wizards didn't have Amare Stoudemire as their starting center last year, and they won't this year regardless of were JCN goes.

Posted by: JP2 | July 7, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse


doc, great post - very valid points and thorough.


Posted by: Wizzin' By Ya | July 7, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I dont think getting Gasol (13 million this year)is a good idea. One reason is you have to give up some young prospects(young,pesh or blatche) for him and maybe even a additional first rounder. Gasol is 7'1 240(just turn 27 yesterday). I think pesh is now 7'0 245(age 22) for 1.2 million.
Know the reports I have heard is pesh looks extremely good, probably will be a better player than Darius, Blatche, Haywood and Etan by the end of the year. (But I will be paying close attention to that next week.)If that is the case and if he can play at least back-up center. Then I would not do the trade. But I would do the trade for a combination of blatche/darius/etan/daniels and 1 first rounder(which should not be that high next year). But I would not give up anything else.
Also a question to all Wiz fans; to me Blatche is getting to the point we his skills are getting to much credit, way to early. Just like DS I would not go over 3 million for each for them. If Blatche get a better deal then I would want something in return becasue he is a R Free Agent.I also really want to get a good look at Mcguire.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: d square | July 7, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: d square | July 7, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Look Navarro has proved to be one of the best players in Europe and to sign that guy it is only going to cost $3 mill. per. Is Stevenson a proven talent at $4 mill. per year or more? Is he worth the whole MLE. Absolutely not!
Navarro has a game that can translate over here and unlike Gilbert, Navarro best asset is his point guard half of his combo guard skills, not his two guard half. The idea that the Wizards are risking Arenas if they sign Navarro and let Stevenson is a premise I do not accept. Now that Young is here and assuming they sign Navarro, we have stability in the backcourt (unless Gilbert decides to leave).
Stevenson isn't going to get any better and here is what he has proven. That he is ok 4th option (46 percent, 11.2 ppg) and his defensive prowess was very much overstated. And doc you seem to have a bit of a double standard here. Daniels is someone we should keep because of his excellent playoff performance, but we should ignore Stevenson's and give him a raise far beyond the one we offered to boot! And all to make one player happy (who may still not stay here anyway).
And I find it hard to believe that swapping in Navarro for Stevenson is going to ruin the chemistry on this team. Also there run to the top of the conference didn't occur in a vacuum. We can't assume they would have stayed there if everyone stayed healthy. They would probably have been no worse than third, but we can't be sure. This team needs to get better and adding Navarro does that. Trading him away unless it gets the Wizards a very good frontcourt player will not.

Posted by: George Templeton | July 7, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

DS2 plays the 2 position and defense. JCN plays the point, the only way that we can keep JCN is to get rid of Daniels 5 million per contract. period. The Wiz cant have 9 million in salary tied up in 2 back-up point guards.Who will take AD contact thats the problem. period

Posted by: d square | July 7, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

D square, why can't Gilbert move to the 2-guard spot and the Wizards start Navarro or Daniels.

Posted by: George Templeton | July 7, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Doc's post was on the mark. His point about continuity can't be undersold either.

JCN could be a good addition, but a lot of people seem to have short memories. Stevenson isn't getting paid like he can carry the team when two of its top players are out. He's getting paid because of the way his skills mesh with the Big 3. $3 to $4 mill. isn't outlandish money for what he has actually shown us in live game action in the NBA. The numbers don't lie.

I sure hope that Cleveland and Memphis are buying all JCN hype--maybe we can get their #1st round picks for the next 3 or 4 years. He really must be that good. And the Iraq invasion turned out to be self-financing after all.

Posted by: JP2 | July 7, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Stevenson doesn't want just 3 or 4 mill. he wants the whole MLE! What you are saying is that continuity is so important that we should sign a player with less talent for the same amount of money as a player with more talent, a guy who was the MVP of the Euro League no less.
And did you really have to compare those of us arguing for Navarro to some wrong neo-cons. I mean give me a break. That is a cheap shot.

Posted by: George Templeton | July 7, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, with all these posts I don't know if you'll see this, but I got a question...

Can the Wizards combine or merge the 1.8 mil bi-annual with whatever is left of the MLE in signing Navarro?

For example if the MLE is 6 mil, could they use 4 of that for Stevenson and sign him for something like 4 yrs at 16 mil. Then still have 2 mil avail from the MLE, and combine with the 1.8 bi-annual to offer Navarro a 1st yr salary of 3.8 mil?

If they can do that, they could basically give both players the same deal with 1st year salaries of 3.9 mil or right around 4 mil year.

Also, you reported in the paper the Wizards start summer league Wednesday, and I thought they started on Tuesday.

Posted by: Darnell | July 7, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Arenas, Navarro, Stevenson, Daniels, Young would be a sweet backcourt rotation! There's got to be a way to do it!!

Posted by: Darnell | July 7, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah--the NeoCon shot was below the belt. Sorry about that one.

But I don't agree that JCN is necessarily a better fit for this team than Stevenson. The guy may have been the MVP of the Euro league, and I'm willing to bet that he does have NBA level talent. That doesn't mean that his strengths/weaknesses necessarily are going to be a better fit than what Stevenson brought last season. The Wizards had one of the top starting rotations with him in place--better than the previous season. I don't think you can write all of that off to just improved chemistry between Butler, Jamison, and Arenas. Stevenson may have been a difference maker on the margins, but he was still a difference maker.

If you take Stevenson out of the equation, and put in a new piece, no one knows for sure how it will work out. I don't think it's wise to assume that Navarro will necessarily be a better fit than Stevenson just because he was the Euro League MVP and because he averaged 6 points more a game than Stevenson in a different context.

It's possible that Stevenson's financial demands will make this a moot point, and he'll walk. But I suspect the Wizards front office will try to work something out first. That's the right move.

Posted by: JP2 | July 7, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

We'd basically be replacing Mason and Taylor with Young and Navarro. That would be a huge upgrade! There's got to be a way to do it!!

Posted by: Darnell | July 7, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

JCN + Etan for Marshall?? I hope to God not... If we HAD to get rid of JCN (which I don't see why we do), don't send him anywhere in the east, especially to the cavs or Miami. This kid would immediately, along with Young, solve our biggest glaring problem, bench scoring. Gil, Tough Juice and Jameson playing 40mins a game for another season would be terrible.

If it comes down to either signing DS or JCN, we better go JCN. He has much more upside than DS ever has had, and DS ain't worth 4/12, even if most of that is to keep Gil happy. Gil knows this is a business, and if he gets upset over DS not playing for the Wiz, then he's a hypocrite.

I just don't understand where everyone has been getting "JCN doesn't want to play in DC." Is Ivan making this up? Because in every interview I've read by him since this past March, he's said he wants to play alongside Gil and thinks that the Wiz is the best team for him. He also said he's a loyal player and has shown that with his stint with FC Barcelona. I've read nothing FROM HIM saying that he would rather go to Memphis to play with Gasol, I've never seen him say anything about wanting to play with Gasol.

Keep JCN, trade Etan and AD (would love to keep him, but noone will take Etan on his own), sign DS if you can, don't resign Jarvis (Young will give us more), and hope that Pech and Blatche will give us some decent low post play.

Posted by: Justin | July 7, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Instead of using that 1.8 mil on Booth, we should use that toward Navarro, and combine it with whatever is left of the MLE.

Instead of Booth, we can sign Visser, I'd rather have his young upside anyway. We'd be deep at center with Haywood, Etan, Blatche, and Visser. Sign Hall to a minimum contract to finalize the roster, and we got a rotation at forwards of Blatche, Songaila, Pecherov, Jamison, Hall, McGuire, and Butler. That's 15.


Posted by: Darnell | July 7, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

darnell-- No you can't combine the LLE and the MLE. You can split them, but not combine them.

Otherwise it would amount to one great big 'somewhat more than mid-level' exception.

GT sez:
And doc you seem to have a bit of a double standard here. Daniels is someone we should keep because of his excellent playoff performance, but we should ignore Stevenson's and give him a raise far beyond the one we offered to boot!

Did I say that? No. I said we should pay DSteve anything in the ballpark of reasonable.

Daniels is irrelevant, we have him under contract already. But his playoff performance gives him value _in trade_ beyond his performance in the regular season. It shows his potential value as a starter to interested teams.

We should keep that because it helps sweeten the pot for later trades. Just business.

The 'trade JCN' impetus is more to clear cap for bigger, better trades. Ie.: is JCN better than say...

[insert pipe dream trade here]

Posted by: doclinkin | July 7, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Justin, this is from Friday's Reuters, the Wizard's Washington Post section has a link to it:

"Navarro, rated as one of the top guards in Europe, said he was not yet sure with which team he would play next season, but would be happy to join former Barcelona player Gasol at the Memphis Grizzlies.

"Washington Wizards have got my rights so anyone that wants me will have to negotiate with them first," he said.

"Playing with Memphis would be a good option and having a friend there would be a great help. He's an extraordinary player and helps everyone around him play better."

If we are dealing him to Memphis, I would trade him for Conley who they just drafted.

Posted by: Darnell | July 7, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the response, Doc. Although you mischaracterized some of my points, at least you are now on record for the opinion that Thomas, Haywood, Pecherov, Songalia, Daniels, Young, Blatche and Stevenson will all be better NBA players than Navarro, so he's the expendable one. We will see. Personally, if I had to bet, I would bet that he will be the best of that bunch, not the worst. I think he would rather quickly become the 4th best player on the team. He was one of the top players on the World Championship team. That counts for something in my view.

(And team success is what's going to keep Arenas here, not signing his buddies. If it were the latter, we'd be signing Awvee Storey to the MLE.)

Posted by: Henry | July 7, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

To clarify :

JCN +Etan, clears cap and roster minutes for young Bigs, that's what I mean.

Posted by: doclinkin | July 7, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse



Trade Navarro for Conley!

Conley has not yet signed, so you are trading the rights of 1 player for the rights to another. It works because no salaries are involved. We can then sign Conley to his slotted rookie contract!

He gives us a backup pg immediately, and an insurance policy in case Gil bolts next summer!!

Posted by: Darnell | July 7, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse


Exactly, most of the trades I've seen (especially on RealGm) are pipe dream trades or trades that give us something that we don't need or already have. We ain't gettin Garnett, we ain't gettin JO, we ain't gettin Gasol, etc, etc, etc. I wouldn't trade JCN for Lowery or Connelly. Only person I would trade for is Gay, but that ain't happening either.

BTW, loved your post about McGuire, was a thing of beauty..

Posted by: Justin | July 7, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Lol, guess I didn't read the wires on Friday, thanks for the find Darnell. *eats his words*

Posted by: Justin | July 7, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

If I'm EG here's what I'm thinking:

Lux tax-wise I gotta pick between DeS and JCN.

DeS is a known commodity. He brings peace with Gil. Not much upside but not much downside. So I sign him and I don't do anything stupid. I got a nice multi-million dollar job if I don't blow it.

JCN, more upside, maybe even lots more, but more downside too. Not even professional talent evaluators really know how JCN translates into the NBA. Yes, JCN could help us climb higher. But he also could be the scapegoat of a mediocre season, especially if we miss the playoffs.

So, let's see, wealth and power vs. maybe a chance for a little more success? I'll go with the known commodity. It's DeS. Bye to JCN.

For the same reason, Jamieson gets signed to the long-term deal until he draws Medicare. A Daniels, soon approaching Medicare with his 5 year deal, was the safe move too.

At least with EG, Wiz won't do anything overly stupid. I just don't see steps (yet) to build a real winner. JCN and Jamieson are tests of EG as a true winner.

Posted by: Ed | July 7, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Henry goes:

Thanks for the response, Doc. Although you mischaracterized some of my points, at least you are now on record for the opinion that Thomas, Haywood, Pecherov, Songalia, Daniels, Young, Blatche and Stevenson will all be better NBA players than Navarro

Better NBA players?
No and Maybe.

Better fit for the team?
In a few cases, yes.

Better fiscal or financial decisions?
Ultimately yes.

If adding JCN sacrifices Arenas. Then yes. JCN is you know, not much better than Arenas...

Nor is he better than adding, say, a disgruntled all-star power forward HOF candidate. Or whatever.

Posted by: doclinkin | July 7, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The thing is about JCN, if EG is determined to trade for value there's no real pressure to do anything with him immediately.

The Wiz own his rights. They can sit on them until someone offers a deal that's good enough to take.

I like that he's trying to squeeze DS2 and JCN both under the cap. I like that he's shopping Etan with JCN to get good value.

Posted by: dcolinkin | July 7, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect to DocLinkin--who I consider to be one of the finest commentators here and at RealGM--I can't quite see why Grunfeld would make more than one trip to Spain unless he intended to keep Navarro. In other words, one trip to Spain means he's recuiting him for Memphis or Miami, two means he wants him for the Wizards.

There have been a lot of great comments here about tactics for the salary cap, fantasy trades, and personnel changes for the next year. But it seems to me that Grunfeld is a long-range planner. Look what he's quietly accomplished in the last few months--he's gotten rid of O'Malley (and actually gobbled up her job) and put his own man in under Jordan. Pro basketball is an entertainment, and entertainment is about making money. O'Malley's crazy promotions and inflated attendance stats weren't doing that--nor has she been in any way successful in repairing the PR damage with the traditional Bullets' supporters, Washington's black community. This is how a kid like Durant can grow up almost in the shadow of the two arenas and still have no dreams of playing in a Wizards' uniform someday. IMHO, Grunfeld has taken the 'Phoenix of the East' stuff seriously, and may be moving to establish an international game in America's most international city. There is already a vibrant Hispanic sports fan base here ready to be tapped (as anyone who has seen a DC United game knows), and unlike Miami and LA, we actually have Spaniards from Spain living in our area.

Maybe by keeping JCN, Grunfeld intends to tap it. Just saying.

Posted by: KTV | July 7, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

If it came down to it, I'd rather have Navarro than AB.

To steal a quote from Bill Walton - "(Blatche) is sometimes the best and sometimes the worst player on the court, and often on the same play!"

I don't think we can expect AB ever to be better than even Jerred Jeffries - so go ahead and let Cuban overpay.

The offseason can often be seen in reverse, the more good teams take on medium-good players for high dollars, the worse they get. Like Hughes to CLE, Jeffries to NY, and Kapono to TOR. Those kinds of deals for those dollars make those teams worse. All the Wiz have to do is nothing, and they get comparatively better.

So go ahead Erie - push up the value of AB and DS so some sucker overpays!

Posted by: Cballer | July 7, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"With all due respect to DocLinkin"

Don't worry 'bout me. I got no ego at stake in this. Just dropping some thoughts up in here. I'm always willing to be wrong. 'Respect' is due to Henry and Ivan and all the other guys who actually get paid to write/care about our little hobby here.

"I can't quite see why Grunfeld would make more than one trip to Spain unless he intended to keep Navarro."

Ask Ivan, he prints the stuff. Rumors say JCN's being shopped. I just laid out my understanding of how it makes sense.

But the 'why' is easy, if by showing interest he encouraged JCN to beg his way out of the contract: voila! Suddenly GMEG gets a useful asset for free.

Posted by: doclinkin | July 7, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Walton's seen Blatche play how many times? Probably not many. He improved his game dramatically over the course of last season (considering where he was) and was a factor on D when he was put in at center. He forced bad shots, got into passing lanes, and he hustled every time he was in, and that's something you cannot say about Haywood. I haven't looked at the numbers, but I bet he has a better per-40 avg in defensive rebounding and blocked shots than Haywood had. He's also only 20 years old to boot with only one true season of play. Blatche is definitely a keeper.

Posted by: Justin | July 7, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

George Templeton-
we cant start Arenas and JNC/Daniels because the combination is to small, has no defense, or toughtness.Thats a terrible Idea. But I am starting to understand that there is a large hispanic population in DC. So from a community stand point, and IF he is good enough. OK then trade Daniels. Teams come to mind that would take him (boston,portland,cleve, maybe San)by his self.Or maybe trade Daniels and Etan to Boston for Theo Ratliff expiring contract.

Posted by: d square | July 7, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing I keep reading Gil may be leaving. He's thinking about leaaving, etc, etc. all the man said was he was opting out of his contract to get paid more money. He explained it to the media and everyone else, and I 'm still reading this foolishness. Gil will retire a Wizards.

Book it...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Didn't mean to misunderstand you doclinkin. But we have already seen that Stevenson didn't want $3 mill per year and he said he would take a $1 mill. somewhere else again if that was the best he could do. If that is the case then we are talking about the full MLE for him, which is a non-starter in my view.
And square-d do you think we will be any worse off defensively on the perimeter than last year. I mean Stevenson was passable but not that good and offensively I think the Wizards would be even more difficult to deal with.

Posted by: George Templeton | July 7, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Blatche is already a better offensive player than Jeffries, putting up similar offensive numbers in half the PT.

Posted by: kalorama | July 7, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Cballer WOW you just didn't compare Blatche to Jeffries did you? lol Go back to scouting school Grasshopper...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

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