The Elusive Juan Carlos Navarro
An update on Washington's favorite Spanish basketball star, the elusive Juan Carlos Navarro: word is that JCN met with F.C. Barcelona president Joan Laporta yesterday and Laporta agreed to lower the buyout sum in his contract. Assuming this is true (as of this morning the Wiz had yet to hear from F.C. Barcelona or Navarro's European rep) Navarro would be able to negotiate a contract with the Wiz and use that money for his buyout (2-3 million would make sense).
The Wiz also have the option of trading Navarro's NBA rights and I hear that at least five teams have already called to gauge interest in such a deal. It's no secret that Miami has liked JCN for a long time and one source just told me that the Wizards and Heat have discussed a a sign-and-trade that would send Navarro's rights to South Beach for James Posey.
This makes sense when you consider that the Miami Herald reported yesterday that Posey has agreed to a sign-and-trade deal if the Heat don't offer him a "suitable" contract to stay. Posey, 30, made $6.3 million last season and according to the Herald, is looking to get some team's mid-level.
Now, keep in mind that the Wiz are approaching this whole JCN thing with caution because they've gone through this every summer: JCN does an interview in Spain saying he wants to try the NBA but at the end of the day, he never leaves. There is one theory out there that JCN is simply talking the NBA talk right now to drive his price up in Europe so he can get a fat offer from a team like Madrid. Here's what I do know: the Wiz have scouted JCN heavily and believe he can be a quality backup guard on a playoff-level team.
To me, that kind of player commands a solid chunk of the ML which could come in as a high as $5.8 or $5.9 million when the CBA drops next week. Keep in mind, Matt Carroll just signed a six-year, $27 million deal with Charlotte and Jason Kapono recently left Miami to ink a four-year, $24 million deal with Toronto (which is another reason I could see the Heat wanting Navarro. He'd fill an immediate need at the guard spot. I also hear that Miami is a possible destination for Derek Fisher though he'll most likely be a Laker next year.
I do not believe that the Wiz view this whole thing as a JCN or DeShawn Stevenson situation. Ideally, they want to keep DeShawn and keep the door open to adding JCN if the money works out. The big question right now is, how do the Carroll and Kapono contracts relate to DeShawn's contract expectations? DeShawn wants as much of that ML as he get. The Wiz want to keep him but feel they have to do so at their price and obviously, any sign-and-trade involving Navarro and Posey would use up the money earmarked for DeShawn. One of the interesting things about the Navarro/Posey/DeShawn situation is that Posey and DeShawn are both represented by the same agent, Mark Bartelstein. I asked Bartelstein today for an update on DeShawn's negotiations (that's right folks. it's July 4 and your faithful beat writer is on the job) and he said this: "We're talking. Right now everything is day-to-day." Bartelstein didn't have much to say about the Navarro/Posey talks.
On the Etan Thomas front: the Wiz have received some nibbles but the major issue right now is the nasty trade kicker attached to Etan's contract. The kicker is 15 percent and that would mean Etan's cap number would be around the $7.3 or $7.4 million range for next season. Also, the Wiz remain confident that they'll get a deal done for Andray Blatche.
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