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Going camping

The rest of the basketball world might be overlooking the Wizards in what should be a much improved Eastern Conference but the Wizards players seem to feel that they are going to pick right up where they left off before injuries struck last season.
"I'm not scared of anyone," Caron Butler told me when I asked him about the revamped East during Media Day today. "I mean, we have some players here who are capable of going out and beating anyone. I think we showed that last year so, let's go out there and see what happens."

I also asked Tough Juice about where he thinks the Wiz stack up in the East.
"I'll say top two or three," he said. "Yeah, I'd put us right up there at the top. I feel that the East is wide open."
He didn't rank the other teams.

Antawn Jamison said he's feeling "fresh" and "ready to go" after not playing for Team USA this summer. You may recall that Antawn was exhausted when preseson opened last year and was dragging early on after he played in the World Championships in Asia.
"This year I just feel so much better," Jamison said. "There's not even a comparison. So when the regular season gets here, I'll have my legs."

The news of the day was the team's signing of forward/center Tony Massenburg and guards Willie Deane and Jamon Gordon to training camp contracts. Massenburg, 40, is trying to play for his 14th NBA teams (I'm trying to confirm that it would be a record) and is trying to come back after missing the last two seasons following an injury he suffered in a car accident.
The former Maryland Terp, who played for Lefty, Bob Wade and Gary W at College Park, thinks he has a shot. "Hey, I go by the motto that 40 is the new 20," Massenburg said. He also said that he's old enough to be Andray Blatche's dad. I'm already pulling for the guy.

Brendan Haywood was there today and addressed several issues including his recent sit down with Eddie Jordan and his relationship/rivalry/boxing history with Etan Thomas. For starters, Brendan said that he never demanded a trade thus refuting a report that came out following the season.

"I never came out and said that I didn't want to be here. There were a lot of articles written but there was never a direct quote from myself or Ernie Grunfeld about what was said in that meeting so, like I said, if you didn't hear it from me, it's not the truth. I'm happy to be here and we'll see what goes on during the season."

On the center competition with Etan: "I feel comfortable about a battle with Etan because I trained all summer and I think I'm ready for it. We'll see what happens when camp is over."

On him and Etan putting the fights behind them: "At the end of the day, we both understand that this is a business and the things that happened last year can't happen this year. Every time you get mad you can't just go fight somebody. That makes us both look like idiots."

More on that: "I told somebody that Ali and Frazier only fought three times so that has to be the end of it for me and Etan. At the end of the day, we both have a mutual respect for each other and we realize that we embarrass ourselves, our team and our families every time we go out there and act silly. You can always talk things out before you fight. Besides, he's a peace activist so he can't do that anyway."




By Ivan Carter  |  October 1, 2007; 1:55 PM ET
 
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Comments

IC,

Good seeing you at the M Hut. Hope I didnt bother you in your "off" hours....

Massenburg? Wow. Been a while since I hear that name. Is he this years Calvin Booth?


Posted by: the cheat | October 1, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Why would this team bring in Massenburg when Oakley says he's willing to listen? What is Massenburg known for?

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

At the end of the day Haywood will remain a spoiled punk with an attitude that doesn't compliment his skills, or lack thereof.

I think Brendan would do a lot better if he was honest with himself, and just became a rebounding machine.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | October 1, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Ivan,

Do you think that Ernie Grunfeld is done making offseason moves? Are there any potential trades out there that could still take place before the season starts?

Specifically, I'm curious about the Kirilenko situation. He obviously wants out of Utah and Utah is sure to shop him around a bit. It seems to me that he would be a terrific fit in our system. He could play PF alongside Butler. (PF is where Kirilenko excelled in the past 3 seasons before switching to SF last year.) His passing, slashing and running style of game would fit well into the Princeton offense. And defensively, he'd be a tremendous improvement. He is arguably the best help defender in the game.

Obviously, to get him, we'd have to give up Jamison, which kills our luxury tax situation down the road. But we can stay under the luxtax cap if we add Etan and take back Giricek (an expiring contract) and Collins. We might need to throw in a 1st rounder but I think it's a package roughly in-line with Kirilenko's current trade value.

Jamison is a solid player and a team leader, but shouldn't Grunfeld at least consider a deal to get one of the league's most dynamic defenders who also happens to be 5 years younger than Jamison. The core of Arenas, Butler and Kirilenko would have 6-8 prime years together.

So what's the scoop? Is Jamison considered untouchable? Is Utah looking for more in return? Why hasn't this trade already happened?

Posted by: nate33 | October 1, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I hope BTH sticks to being a defensive player this year, I bet it's the rest of his pathetic game that irks EJ.

Posted by: Wizzy | October 1, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Everybody on this team knows there's little glory in doing the dirty work, namely playing defense or getting boards. Scoring catches eyes and provides the fat contracts.

Gilby has that ability to score which masks his lack of defensive prowess while BTH wants more chances to score, but obviously is not as good as Gilby in doing that. That's just how it is.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"Why would this team bring in Massenburg when Oakley says he's willing to listen? What is Massenburg known for?"

For one thing, he's known for being 4 years younger than Oakley.

Posted by: kalorama | October 1, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"he's a peace activist so he can't do that anyway." Now that's a great quote! :)

I don't have much problem with Haywood's shot selection considering he is shooting 56%. I do hope that he can improve his FT% (probably not going to happen). He does need to pick up his BPG, which dropped last season.

Posted by: Sagaliba | October 1, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Tony Massenburg? Very likely the only active Terp left from the same 85-86 UM team as Len Bias (R.I.P.). Also a member of the 2005 NBA champ Spurs. How can you not pull for him?

I personally don't care what Brendan says. His performance will tell me all I need to know. If he comes in and plays hard, DC's got love for him. If he comes in and pouts, it's going to be a long season.

And so what if many NBA analysts are overlooking the Wizards? That's why you play the games.

Let 'em sleep. If the Wizards are real, and loaded, they can get off to a good start and have momentum by the time folks wake up.

Posted by: iceberg | October 1, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"You can always talk things out before you fight. Besides, he's a peace activist so he can't do that anyway."

I felt that Ivan intentionally left that as the closing line so we would be looking forward to their next fight. Haha, just kidding.

Posted by: fire starter | October 1, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

My favorite line so far of media day is Brendan on his and Etan's past fights: "Besides, he's a peace activist so he can't do that anyway."

Brendan starts off talking peace love and understanding, and then gets in the first jab of the season... LOL.

Posted by: Prazak | October 1, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Jinx...

Posted by: Prazak | October 1, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Peace activist quote is one of the best things I've ever heard.

Posted by: Geoff | October 1, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

""Why would this team bring in Massenburg when Oakley says he's willing to listen? What is Massenburg known for?"

For one thing, he's known for being 4 years younger than Oakley.

Posted by: kalorama | October 1, 2007 03:33 PM "

Younger doesn't mean better. If not on the court, Oakley can provide that locker room presence.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

oakley's not a positive locker room presence just b/c he's a seasoned vet. he's a mess- parties, gambles, bullies with the best of them. i don't think he'd help.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

having Mass around isnt a bad idea although I think Oak would be better.Who cares about there age neither will see much PT but their maturity would def help this team.Gil even said he doesn't see himself as a leader(that blows my mind)and we could use so vet presance on the team weather they play or not.Brendan and etan hell even gil could use someone to look up to.I thought AD would add that but that doesn't seem to be the case.It's time for agent 0 to be agent leader.

Posted by: jcrock | October 1, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Look, Oakley is a buddy of MJ. He's not coming back to the Wizards.
Too bad, though. If Haywood and Thomas got in another fight, Oakley would break up the fight by punching them both in the mouth.

Posted by: Sean | October 1, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

If they're counting on leadership from a 40+ year old benchwarming towel-waver, they're in even worse shape than anyone feared.

Posted by: kalorama | October 1, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Tony M. will provide veteran leadership, locker room stability and he will perform the role the coaches designate for him.

With Oakley, you'd get a fierce competitor who might upset the applecart when things aren't going well. Moreover, in his prime his shot selection wasn't always that great; is there reason to believe he'll make better decisions with the pill now?

Finally, maybe the Wizards have learned the hard way about recycling ex Bulls.

Posted by: Sigaba | October 1, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope both players take the high road this season. As it is we need both players to get 1 center.

Posted by: Bart | October 1, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Oak Tree was brought in by MJ to mentor Kwame Brown, we all know how well that worked out!

I saw Oakley get pulled from a game once, come off the floor swearing at Collins, and as he went by him he took a towel and swabbed his neck and armpits with it and then tossed it in Kwame's face.

That's not the kind of father figure I'd want to expose Pecherov and Blatche to. If Massenburg has anything left in the tank he was always known as a great lockerroom guy.

At this point of their careers neither guy would be on a team to log many minutes, their primary role would be that as a mentor to our young bigs. And possibly add some veteran toughness and savvy.

I guess I'd have to pull for a Maryland guy, though he sure looks like a long shot to make the team. Teams haven't been lining up to have Oak Tree come into camp, so if there is a comeback I'd wager on it after the allstar break if at all.

He started making comeback noises last spring and nobody called, the guy's surly attitude his last few stops in the league is almost as legendary as his tough play on the court.

He just may have managed to snarl his way out of a future in coaching in this league, and he insists he wants to come back as a player not a mentoring type.

That's why he's out of basketball and what he became known for in his later years. One time here was enough for me.

Posted by: GM | October 1, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

we don't lead oakley stealing forward minutes from blatche and pecker

Posted by: berg | October 1, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Gonna be interesting. I hope the centers produce. If nothing but a few more boards and some stops. Looks like we're stuck with who we got so maybe a year together is better than starting with someone trying to fit in. The bench can make or break this team. If the bench plays well then competing for the East #1 is doable. If not we will just be cannon fodder for the better East teams.

Posted by: SlamDunk | October 1, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

antawn is fresh? does this mean he'll play defense?

Posted by: CreditZard | October 1, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Say what you want, Brendan should start and play at least 30 mpg to be effective. Etan is a nice backup with hustle. He cannot withstand a starting position. He often gets hurt. Brendan has proven to be durable and adeqaute, not great. We don't need great. EJ needs to better handle all player rotations/pt and understand that he can't motivate Brendan by making him angry. Each player is motivated in differently. Blatche needs more pt and EJ must give quality min to his bench to ensure the health of his starters who play way too much.

Posted by: Garry | October 1, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I didn't even know you had an email Ivan, haha and I barely post in your blog instead of instances like now, which I have to ask for anyone reading this:

Is anyone else not liking the color changes to the jerseys this year?

Posted by: Will from Rockville | October 1, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"EJ needs to better handle all player rotations/pt and understand that he can't motivate Brendan by making him angry."

Sorry, but all of the available evidence disputes that. Haywood's most prolonged period of effective played was when he was pissed off at or felt he had something to prove to Jordan. Specifically, after Etan got hurt early and Haywood set out to prove to everyone that EJ was wrong to give Thomas the starting job. Haywood played very well for several games, making his case to the point where Jordan kept him in the starting lineup even after Etan (who'd played well as the starter himself) came back. At which point Haywood, satisfied that he'd proven his point, wasted no time slacking off and going into the tank. That's when Jordan started yo-yoing players at the C spot, desperately trying to find anyone who could give consistent production.

Posted by: kalorama | October 1, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Will: Try Robin Givhan's blog.

Posted by: Sean | October 1, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ivan, thanks for the info on Brendan and Etan. You obviously listened to our replies about what we're interested in. We appreciate it.

Posted by: Washington Ball | October 1, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, thank you very much for the article today on Eddie and Haywood, and the additional Haywood comments in this blog! Great stuff, and just wanted I wanted to know. Haywood surprisingly seems to have a great attitude about the whole situation. It's really great to hear. He seems to have a good perspective on things. Really I think if their heads are straight, and everyone is on the same page, we have a pretty good situation at center. My ideal scenario would essentially to rotate Haywood and Etan, with Haywood going about 10 min, then bringing in Etan for about 5 high energy min, back with Haywood for another 10 and so on. Both are constantly rested, and able to go all out, to attack and play physical D. Ocassionally using Pesh or Blatche at center when we go to "smallball" mode. That is a pretty nice scenario.

Posted by: Darnell | October 1, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

You had me with you, Darnell, until you mentioned smallball.

Posted by: Sean | October 1, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, guys! Massenburg doesn't stick past two weeks, nor Gordon, nor any of the pre-season fillers.

The Wizards are set. And they're loaded, too. Will talent emerge?

The competition for the middle could be fierce. Let's hope. But we've got it surrounded.

Posted by: zinger1 | October 1, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Oakley's a joke.

Posted by: zinger1 | October 1, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

oak is a no bs vet.we have a bunch of selfcentered children. but that seems to be the calling on here you guys want crylinko from utah in town hey great call lets do that.tards,lets go get crapalinko so we can't resign gil next year great thinking.link wants to go back too russia and play good ridance.Our guys need to learn how to play d hopefully ayers can do that doutful but I sure hope so.Atleast oak would teach our guys how to floor lbj when he drives the lane on us.Not offer him a invite to the hoop

Posted by: jwc | October 1, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

"crylinko", I like that one, jwc. Boo hoo I'm not the #1 option anymore...

Say what you want about Jamison's defense, the guy is a professional and a class act. Didn't complain when he was cut down to a sixth man in Dallas, and doesn't complain as the Wizards third option even if he can score with the best of them in this league, as he showed in the playoffs. And he probably won't complain when the Wiz pay him a third of his current salary and he ends up in a couple years coming off the bench again.

Posted by: Prazak | October 1, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Oakley may not have given a crap about how he treated fellow players when he was a player himself, but if he's to be hired here, obviously there's an interview process that he would go through to see how he would fit and whether or not he would be a benefit to the team as an assistant coach. He could assume the role that Harvey Grant was unceremoniously booted from, and Harvey was a standup guy.

In any regard, people can poo poo the idea about bringing him in, but based on status quo, don't be surprised if you get same old immature BS that you've been seeing these past few seasons from ALL the players. It's great to have this sweet PR campaign about how they are rededicating themselves to winning a championship, defense, and all that lovely kum bai yah B$, but these words from the players don't mean squat. For the most part, they'll continue to be selfish, wh*remongering, me first players, but only this time, it'll be on the DL as much as possible.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

"And he probably won't complain when the Wiz pay him a third of his current salary and he ends up in a couple years coming off the bench again.

Posted by: Prazak | October 1, 2007 10:29 PM "


That's a joke. When it comes time to slash AJ's salary, trust me, he'll go to the highest bidder. Why should he stay here if another team is willing to pay for a veteran hired gun? If he learned nothing else from Gilby, it's all business, nothing personal.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 1, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

DC miget aren't you a UM twerp?

Posted by: DC Men | October 1, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

"DC miget aren't you a UM twerp?

Posted by: DC Men | October 1, 2007 11:51 PM "

No, but your mom's a midget with a flat head (for placing my beer) and missing her front teeth (so smooth). How convenient.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

If I were offered a lowball contract from the Wiz, there's no way I would stay. I would instead, go play for the same amount with NJ and then would be reunited with my brother in law (VC) and play with RJeff and a real point guard, Jason Kidd. Much better situation.

Posted by: Antawn Jamison | October 2, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

No joke at all, DCman. AJ's made his max money and has said he'll either stay here or go finish out his career closer to home in Charlotte. I take him at his word (unlike Gilbert "I'll take less than max money to make the team better" Arenas...). He's a homeboy and a family man with eight figures in the bank and an ego firmly in check. I don't see him heading off to another NBA city and putting up with another cycle of new teammates, new coaches, new house, new schools for the kids, etc, just for another one or two mil. Maybe he would if the Wiz implode and a title contender makes an offer, but for that I'll bet he'd accept even less than what Ernie is willing to offer.

I suspect Ernie has already had this conversation with him and his agent and is also taking him at his word. Even the most cut-throat of businesses still has room and need for trust on the margins. The fact that Ernie hasn't packaged up an all-star forward with an expiring contract and dealt him away makes me think he's already worked out the outlines with AJ for how things will unfold toward the end of this season. Nothing in writing, nothing binding, just an exchange of intentions among professionals. Maybe it's a two-year deal that gives AJ a shot to play this thing out with the Wiz and still leaves him with a year or two to wind down his career in Charlotte. Maybe it still turns on how much progress the Wiz make this season and what happens with Gilbert. We'll see.

It's a high-stakes year for the Wiz on many fronts -- Gilbert's staying, Eddie staying, AJ staying, Blatche's development.

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

How many people in the real world want to go work with their brother-in-law? Anyone?

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

I am crossing my fingers that Tough Juice is right and that Brendan really means it. We'll see.

Posted by: George Templeton | October 2, 2007 1:36 AM | Report abuse

"My ideal scenario would essentially to rotate Haywood and Etan, with Haywood going about 10 min, then bringing in Etan for about 5 high energy min, back with Haywood for another 10 and so on. Both are constantly rested, and able to go all out, to attack and play physical D. Ocassionally using Pesh or Blatche at center when we go to "smallball" mode. That is a pretty nice scenario."

Posted by: Darnell | October 1, 2007 09:12 PM

Well, not really a nice scenario, but at least Haywood and Etan are getting along now. We're stuck with these two for now, but at least they're not fighting or bickering.
I expect that Haywood and EJ and Etan -- all three -- will get along now. Considering the fact that the rest of the team has improved and the coaches really are emphasizing defense in training camp, this new development with Haywood's new attitude comes at a great time. Now the guys can all just focus on playing as a team. I expect a great season. Looking forward to it! Go Wizards!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2007 2:59 AM | Report abuse

"How many people in the real world want to go work with their brother-in-law? Anyone?

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 12:25 AM "

Hmm, if you knew something about their situation, you would know that VC and AJ are very close, each being from the UNC program, and UNC alum are very tight. Also, they are brothers-in-law by the way of their wives being sisters.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

"No joke at all, DCman. AJ's made his max money and has said he'll either stay here or go finish out his career closer to home in Charlotte. I take him at his word (unlike Gilbert "I'll take less than max money to make the team better" Arenas...). He's a homeboy and a family man with eight figures in the bank and an ego firmly in check.....

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 12:20 AM "

You're going by assumptions, while I'm going with sound business principles. Once again, it's all business, nothing personal. Go talk to Cleveland about Carlos Boozer.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Prazak, you're dreaming if you think AJ will take that kind of pay cut. I remember listening to a Bobcats radio crew webcast of a Wiz game against the Bobcats. They couldn't stop talking about how good AJ would look in a Bobcats uniform. I suspect that quite a few teams would be in the bidding for AJ's services for a good bit more than 1/3 of his current salary.

AJ, defensive issues and all, is not the problem here. The real question marks are the competiveness of the bench and the situation at center.

Posted by: Mitch | October 2, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Good story by Wise on some of the behind the scenes stuff going on with the Wiz. He answered my question about the assistant coach from Houston who came here and then left.

Ivan/Mike - Thanks for the updates and reading our posts and trying to do stories on them. The last thing you never looked into or reported on was why Harvey Grant was not retained. Could you let us know why? Thanks....

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | October 2, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Jamison will never sign a cut rate deal to stay a Wizard. What he will sign is a deal that saves the Wizards 8 to 10m per year on the salary cap and is still millions more than a team with only the Mid Level Exception can offer.

Charlotte has Okafor to resign next summer and Mays(If he can ever get healthy) and Felton the next. Not going to be alot of extra cap dollars in Charlotte, and if Jordan has any he'll spend them on a guy to grow with this group.

And they're brother and laws because they married sisters, wow... DC you apparently know less about being married than basketball. Sure one of those sisters is going to say,"Honey, let's go sign for millions less then the Wizards can offer so you can go play with Vince. And my sister and I can talk about how you make 5.2m and Vince makes 20m."

That's really going to happen...I'll lose alot of sleep over worrying about NJ signing Jamison.

Posted by: GM | October 2, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

"And they're brother and laws because they married sisters, wow... DC you apparently know less about being married than basketball. Sure one of those sisters is going to say,"Honey, let's go sign for millions less then the Wizards can offer so you can go play with Vince. And my sister and I can talk about how you make 5.2m and Vince makes 20m."

That's really going to happen...I'll lose alot of sleep over worrying about NJ signing Jamison.

Posted by: GM | October 2, 2007 08:44 AM "


I think you missed the entire point again GM. I said, if AJ he had to take less money as offered by Les BouleS, he would probably take that same amount from NJ instead of from Les BouleS, for the chance to play with his alum and BIL.

NOBODY said AJ was going to take millions less just to play for NJ. Check again dude.

Whether or not you lose sleep over AJ leaving for NJ or other things in your life, doesn't concern me at all. Your bidness dude.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

BTW GM, that was in response to Prazak's pipe dream that AJ would stay here for less money since he's an aw shucks kinda good guy.

--------------------------------------------

"And he probably won't complain when the Wiz pay him a third of his current salary and he ends up in a couple years coming off the bench again.

Posted by: Prazak | October 1, 2007 10:29 PM

No joke at all, DCman. AJ's made his max money and has said he'll either stay here or go finish out his career closer to home in Charlotte. I take him at his word (unlike Gilbert "I'll take less than max money to make the team better" Arenas...). He's a homeboy and a family man with eight figures in the bank and an ego firmly in check. I don't see him heading off to another NBA city and putting up with another cycle of new teammates, new coaches, new house, new schools for the kids, etc, just for another one or two mil. Maybe he would if the Wiz implode and a title contender makes an offer, but for that I'll bet he'd accept even less than what Ernie is willing to offer.

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 12:20 AM"

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

DCman, that's no pipe dream, it's close to an absolute certainty that Jamison will be playing for less money next year, and not because he's a nice guy. Jamison is making, what, $15m this year? Not even Charlotte is going to offer him anything close to $15m next year.

I'd be curious to hear what people on this board who follow player salaries think AJ will go for and on what kind of contract.

And I'm guessing you're not much of an authority on sound business principles, DCMan. I'm in a cut-throat business myself (the movie business, which has its parallels to the sports business), and yes plenty of people get burned by misplacing their trust. But there is also room on the margins for trust among professionals who have dealt with and will deal with each other for a long time and whose reputations are their currency. You can only burn someone so many times before people stop dealing with you or gang up to screw you.

Like I said, I'm guessing, but it's a guess based on sound business principles and a couple decades of direct business experience, but my instinct is that Ernie and AJ and his agent have already had a conversation on ballpark figures and scenarios, and that's why you haven't seen Ernie package up such a terrific asset as an all-star forward with an expiring contract. If they don't have that conversation you'd hear a lot of rumors about AJ being shopped here and there.

And I disagree with you guys, AJ is not going to chase the last 10% on his next contract. I suspect he's going to make a grown-up decision about what's best for him and his family. Yeah, money is a big part of that, but as long as the Wiz pay him something reasonable -- I'm not talking bargain basement here, I'm talking something within 10% of what they estimate the highest offer will be -- then I still think there's a good chance AJ stays for a lot less than $15m.

Yeah, I like my brother-in-law, too, but I'm not going to go play second fiddle to him. It's bad enough being national player of the year in college and then watching Vince's career take off into superstardom while AJ comes off the bench in Dallas.

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

DC your point, you said was all about business. NJ has no way to offer more than the MLE. The whole league is in that boat right now, Clevelnd's got two guys sitting at home looking for bigger contracts and no one has the bucks to sign them. They could actually end up in Europe looking for more money.

Charlotte doesn't have extra money to spend either, their TV guys can pine for Jamison all day, if they don't come up with a sign and trade they won't have the bucks either once they have to step up for Okafor.

My point, if you go back and read my post was Jamison won't sign a cut rate deal here either, he'll get more from us then any team with only the MLE has to offer but save us millions in the process. He'll end up signing a deal that's good for him and good for the Wizards. That is unless he tears up a knee or something this year.

And by the way, Oak Tree has said in his typical oakspeak way that he has no interest in "babysitting or mentoring" as he put it. He's coming back to play, not watch. Said he has no interest in being an assistant coach.

So from the business point of view, who would want a 44 yr old guy who thinks he should be playing ahead of your core guys and has no interest in helping out your young guys. Just another bad idea, and it looks like right now every team in the league thinks so too.

And if you think the Wizards can just take the money from Jamison's contract and sign another FA. Think again, since we're way over the cap not all of that money is available to use under the cap rules unless we resign Jamison or engage in a sign and trade. Pradamaster could explain it, I don't have the time.

Jamison will resign with the Wizards because it makes alot of good business sense for both sides. As long as he doesn't suffer a career threatening injury, or this team gets offered a deadline deal too good to turn down, he'll be a fixture here for awhile yet.

Posted by: GM | October 2, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"DCman, that's no pipe dream, it's close to an absolute certainty that Jamison will be playing for less money next year, and not because he's a nice guy. Jamison is making, what, $15m this year? Not even Charlotte is going to offer him anything close to $15m next year."

The pipe dream is not that he will make less money next year. The pipe dream is that he will take whatever Les BouleS give him and stay here.

"And he probably won't complain when the Wiz pay him a third of his current salary and he ends up in a couple years coming off the bench again.

Posted by: Prazak | October 1, 2007 10:29 PM

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I think Jamison will want to play in Charlotte because the Wizards will want him to come off the bench next year and he made it clear that he doesn't want to do that again like he did in Dallas.
It's nothing more than my opinion, but I believe that Jamison would prefer starting in Charlotte next season, to being the sixth man here.
I hope the Wizards use his expiring contract to make a deal during the season.

Posted by: George Templeton | October 2, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

George, If Jamison ends up in Charlotte or anywhere else it will be on a trade before the deadline this year or a sign and trade next summer.

No one is really in a position to offer more money than the Wiz can and if the Wiz just let him walk they will loose the ability to use all of his salary slot.

Off the bench or not Jamison would still be regarded as part of the big three here. After last year I think Jamison, Butler and Arenas will all be looking for a little bit of a reduced role when it comes to minutes.

From the business side of things Charlotte would love to have Jamison to sell tickets, would they want him enough to give us something of real value for him?
Because when you look at the young guys they've got to resign in the next few years they're not going to be sitting around with alot of extra cap space to spend next summer.

Lots of guys have teams that they'd like to play for, the business side of the game doesn't always make it work. There's also lots of guys that we can sit around and say lets get him, but sometimes what looks to be the best team on the floor can't fit on paper.

Posted by: GM | October 2, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

If Charles Oakley is not going going to provide value to this team, then fine, there's no point in bringing him in. Given that, I don't see what value Tony Massenburg brings.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"No one is really in a position to offer more money than the Wiz can and if the Wiz just let him walk they will loose the ability to use all of his salary slot."

Many guys have walked without compensation. Anybody ever heard of Jared Jeffries, Larry Hughes, and, don't laugh, Jarvis Hayes?

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Of course AJ wouldn't just accept whatever terms Ernie offers. I didn't say he would.

George, I don't think AJ would be coming off the bench next year for the Wiz. I suppose the timing of AJ's trajectory to a bench role, if he remains a Wiz, depends on how Blatche comes along and how AJ's body holds up. Maybe Blatche becomes a beast this year and is a starter by opening game 2008, but what is the liklihood of that happening?

GM makes a good point about Charlotte's payroll situation. The Wiz should be able to offer AJ more than most teams, but it'll be much less than the $15m he makes this year.

Anybody have a sense of what AJ's market value would be, if he stays healthy? Something at or just over the MLE over 2-3 years? Pradameister, you're good with this stuff. Any thoughts?

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

IMHO, I think AJ will play for either of the two teams, the wiz and charlotte.

That being said, I don't think Vince Carter as a brother-in-law would have much influence on Antawn (especially since Vince and his wife are in the middle of a divorce), but I think Vince as Antawn's college teammate would have influence ( not that it matters). And given the fact the Vince is divorcing Jamison's wife's sister ... do you really think Jamision wants to be near that mess, and hear anything from his wife on the matter. I see him staying pretty clear of that situation ... but that's just my point of view.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 2, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Jeffries and Hughes were restricted free agents that Ernie wasn't prepared to overpay. Jarvis was a free agent that Ernie didn't give an offer sheet. What's the analogy to AJ's situation?

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Antawn would go anywhere for less than the full MLE. And I believe there are enough teams under the cap that would also offer him betwenn 7-10 million.

My guess is he will re-sign with the wiz for 10M, while Gilbert re-signs for the max. Essentially, they will swap salaries, still leaving us below the salary cap.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 2, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Jamison's going to have to take some kind of pay cut because no one's going to be paying him $16 mill next season. it's just a question of how much. I would think a 4-year deal starting at about $8 mill is what he'd be looking at from the Wiz.

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"Jeffries and Hughes were restricted free agents that Ernie wasn't prepared to overpay. Jarvis was a free agent that Ernie didn't give an offer sheet. What's the analogy to AJ's situation?

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 12:21 PM "

I hope the Wizards use his expiring contract to make a deal during the season.

Posted by: George Templeton | October 2, 2007 11:05 AM

The point was that this team is not adverse to letting people walk without return compensation. NY wanted Jared, and Cleveland wanted Larry.

At least get a bag of bagels or tickets to the Rock n' Roll museum! Sheesh!

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

And if someone offers a really stupid contract for Jamison it may happen again. Grunfeld's not going to match a contract that's going to hurt the team in the long run. As you said this is a business.

Cleveland and New York are both choking on the deals that they were dumb enough to offer Hughes and Jeffries. As always Detroit made a smart deal with very little to lose and much to gain with Hayes.

Hayes was a good defender at the 2 & 3, but was badly overmatched playing the 4. Hayes needed a change and Detroit got him on the cheap, he could be the one of the three that the other team doesn't badly regret signing.

Cleveland is sitting there with Camp opening and two valuable members of their rotation sitting at home unsigned and shopping for more money in Europe. Think they wouldn't like to reconsider Hughes deal if given the chance?

Each time Ernie has let a guy walk he's recovered quite well by signing a replacement. In Stevenson's case he got a guy that's really a much better fit at the two for a whole lot less money.

We might have overpaid for Daniels by sweeting his deal for an extra year, but it's in no way as cap crippling as Hughes' monster deal. Cleveland is really hampered in their ability to build around James by that one and it's going to hurt them badly the next couple of years.

Sometimes the best moves a GM makes are the ones he decides not to make. Letting Hughes and Jeffries walk aeren't moves that Grunfeld should regret for a second.

Posted by: GM | October 2, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I'd think Kalorama is about in the ballpark on Jamison's offer from the Wizards.

Point is DC both times Grunfeld took the money and spent it more wisely, so he did get something in return.

Grunfeld would like to come up with enough space under the Luxury Tax to possibly use the MLE. In the end he'd like to do more then just have Jamison and Arenas swap money, but he may not be able to pull that off.

Posted by: GM | October 2, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Really, I couldn't care less how Jared and Larry look now as bad investments for their new teams. My point was that Les BouleS should have at least gotten something in return, or packaged them with someone else on the team outta here to get something.

When you let three lottery picks walk (larry wasn't a lottery pick for us), that means the franchise has not done well with their draft picks. Not EG's fault, but it's still bad, very bad.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Larry Hughes was an unrestricted free agent.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 2, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

They did get "something in return" for letting go of Jeffries and Hughes--they got roster/cap space which was used to acquire better players. In both cases the team improved in the wake of their departures. The fact that it didn't happen in the form of a 1-to-1 trade isn't really an issue.

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Look at the rosters for the Knicks and the Cavs at the time Hughes and Jeffries left. What did either of those teams have to offer (assuming the Wiz could have forced them to give something up, which in the case of Hughes is doubtful, since he was unrestricted) that would have been worth more to the Wiz than the cap space they acquired by not overpaying those guys?

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 2, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"Look at the rosters for the Knicks and the Cavs at the time Hughes and Jeffries left. What did either of those teams have to offer (assuming the Wiz could have forced them to give something up, which in the case of Hughes is doubtful, since he was unrestricted) that would have been worth more to the Wiz than the cap space they acquired by not overpaying those guys?

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 01:14 PM "


Uh, either David Lee or Channing Frye or Anderson Verajao (assuming he was there) would have fit nicely here.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"Larry Hughes was an unrestricted free agent.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 2, 2007 01:09 PM "

I guess we were all fooled when EG said he would do everything in his power to keep Larry here. Of course, we heard that before with a previous GM, Unseld. Same owner though.

Like him or not, Larry did good things when he was here..actually helping Les BouleS into the second round of the playoffs. Could have been third round, if not for those 3 missed FT's.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"Uh, either David Lee or Channing Frye or Anderson Verajao (assuming he was there) would have fit nicely here."

Perhaps I should have been more clear:

What did either of those teams have to offer that they'd have actually been willing to give up that would have been worth more? The Knicks weren't going to give up Frye or Lee for Jeffries. And, again, since Hughes was an unrestricted FA, the Cavs had absolutely no incentive to give the Wiz anything to get him.

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

There's no need for them to give up anything since their ownership is willing to go above and beyond the salary cap to get the players they want. In any regard, there are few untouchable players on teams in the league. I wouldn't consider David Lee or Channing Frye two of them.

Les BouleS clearly could have used either of these guys, and should have made a move to package some of our other players for them, to include Jared.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

No one said Lee or Channing were "untouchable" did they? No, I didn't think so. But not being untouchable is a different thing than being more valuable to a team than another player. And there's no doubt that both of those guys were/are more valuable to the Knicks than Jeffries had any chance of being.

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

You're nitpicking now, but to answer your question, not if we threw in Gilby with Jared for David Lee, Channing Frye, and Jamal Crawford! Maybe add a first round draft pick for us too, lottery protected.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mean to sound like I was criticizing Larry. I'm a big Larry fan, and I think he's a lot better at the 2 than DW. But not on a cost averaging basis. Ernie made the right move not to overpay for him. Cleveland overpaid and as GM right points out, they're probably regretting that deal now, if they weren't already last year.

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"You're nitpicking now, but to answer your question, not if we threw in Gilby with Jared for David Lee, Channing Frye, and Jamal Crawford! Maybe add a first round draft pick for us too, lottery protected."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's pretty funny.

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

It's a dead issue, but fun to talk about. I'd deal Gilby in a heartbeat, and Les BouleS would have a steal by getting 2 legit big men.

David Lee: 10-10, made 926K last year
Jamal Crawford: 17 pts, 4.4 rebs,
Channing Fryle: 9 pts., 5.5 boards, 2.3mil

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

LOL!

You're killin' me with that stuff.

You rip Gilbert mercilessly for being a "shoot first" guard, but then advocate trading him for Jamal Crawford?

Hilarious.

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad I came up with a perfectly viable trade that counters your "they have nothing we want" statement.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

You can poo poo jamal crawford all you want, but the value is in the two big men. Both better than anything Les BouleS have had the past many seasons.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

And both together, along with Crawford, would not make up the difference to the Wiz that Arenas's loss would result in.

You've said some demonstrably silly stuff in the past, but this one takes the cake.

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

"And both together, along with Crawford, would not make up the difference to the Wiz that Arenas's loss would result in.

You've said some demonstrably silly stuff in the past, but this one takes the cake.

Posted by: kalorama | October 2, 2007 10:29 PM "

Oh yeah, losing Arenas means Les BouleS won't make it to the first round of the playoffs again, just to get eliminated again. It was clear how Gilby was able to carry this team while one of the other two big three were out (NOT!).

I guess if Gilby left, Les BouleS wouldn't have someone representing them in this year's all star weekend to jump off the trampoline for a dunk. Can't think of much else though.

Such a loss, silly, silly kalorama.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 2, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Uh, yeah. You're going to trade the Wiz's best player, one of the top 5 scorers in the league, a guy who commands defensive attention that opens up the floor for everyone else for a couple of backup PFs (one of whom is a hustler with no offensive game, the other of whom can score a bit but is soft on the boards), and a spot up gunner who isn't even the best player on a team that hasn't been anywhere near the playoffs the entire time he's been in NY.

I'd be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the entire trade scenario was a put in in furtherance of your regular act, but I'm pretty sure that's beyond you. Your irrational hatred of Arenas has finally eroded what little common sense you may have once possessed.

Posted by: kalorama | October 3, 2007 1:19 AM | Report abuse

"I'm glad I came up with a perfectly viable trade that counters your "they have nothing we want" statement."

Aaaand ... no, you didn't. I said they had nothing they'd be willing to trade that the Wiz would want in return for Jeffries. Clearly, in the rather insane scenario you present, Jeffries is hardly the primary asset the Wiz give up.

Posted by: kalorama | October 3, 2007 1:23 AM | Report abuse

"Uh, yeah. You're going to trade the Wiz's best player, one of the top 5 scorers in the league, a guy who commands defensive attention that opens up the floor for everyone else for a couple of backup PFs (one of whom is a hustler with no offensive game, the other of whom can score a bit but is soft on the boards), and a spot up gunner who isn't even the best player on a team that hasn't been anywhere near the playoffs the entire time he's been in NY.

I'd be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the entire trade scenario was a put in in furtherance of your regular act, but I'm pretty sure that's beyond you. Your irrational hatred of Arenas has finally eroded what little common sense you may have once possessed.

Posted by: kalorama | October 3, 2007 01:19 AM "

Once again, you're too caught up in Gilby's personal stats and not the bottom line, wins/losses and success in the playoffs. Gilby's a great individual player scoring whatever he scores on average, but that doesn't translate to wins automatically.

"Aaaand ... no, you didn't. I said they had nothing they'd be willing to trade that the Wiz would want in return for Jeffries. Clearly, in the rather insane scenario you present, Jeffries is hardly the primary asset the Wiz give up."

Was that before or after you added your caveat? If I were NY, I sure as heck wouldn't trade those two bigs for Gilby either, but if I were Les BouleS, I'd trade Gilby in a heartbeat.

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