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Taylor and Massenburg

In a move that wasn't the least bit surprising, the Wizards released guard Donell Taylor and forward-center Tony Massenburg today, leaving the team with 14 players. Taylor, who has been with the team since 2005, played well in the Dallas game but otherwise struggled while Massenburg didn't see much action at all and was buried behind Brendan Haywood, Andray Blatche, Darius Songaila and Oleksiy Pecherov.

Etan Thomas still counts as one of the 14 and team hasn't ruled him out but I'm consistently hearing that the team expects him to miss the season. And given the team's salary situation - by my calculation, the Wiz are about $300,000 under the luxury tax threshold and there is no way that they are going to touch it - I don't see Ernie Grunfeld using an exception to add another player.

Under NBA rules, teams can carry between 12 and 15 players during the regular season.

A word about Donell Taylor: I know it's a business and we have to be impartial as reporters but sometimes that can be hard to do with certain players,coaches, front office types etc., and Donell is one of those guys. He's always been a classy dude who made time to talk even when he struggled (DT is one of those guys who always has a smile on his face and a good word for everyone) and I've enjoyed working with him the last three years. Now, the good news is that there are a lot of places to make money playing ball in this world so Donell is going to be fine. I wish him well and hope he gets a shot somewhere else in the league.

By Ivan Carter  |  October 21, 2007; 1:10 PM ET
 
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Comments

Thanks for the positive comments re Donnell. Maybe some of the bloggers here will take the hint.

This team has a lot of talent. In fact, when one thinks about rotation management, there are only a few combos in the front court or backcourt that aren't very promising. So, many of the tactical issues of past years should go away.

The big issue this year is whether the whole team will embrace the same strategy and priorities, and stick to them when the going gets tough?

In any case, it should be interesting. Thanks for your Insider reporting.

Posted by: Izman | October 21, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

It kinda look like DT lost his edge. He will find a home......

Mike Hall's hard work has paid off for now....

GW in da house!!!!!!


Posted by: Mike Hall Fan | October 21, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

That $300,000 in luxury tax room could come in handy when the waiver wire players become available. Maybe the Knicks will release D. Nichols for example.

The team may be better off long term with the center controversy resolved and with Blatche getting minutes in the back up role. He seems to be on the verge of a break-out season.

I like what D Mac brings to the back-up small forward position in blocked shots and D as well. Songaila and Daniels brings good veteran presence off the bench. Young and Petch should develop in reserve roles.

All good: Wiz should finish between 3-6 seed if healthy.

Posted by: wizfanatic | October 21, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

No surprises there, DT just does not provide anything we are missing.

It is nice to have clarity on the center situation, though it was not the way any of us wanted to see it get resolved. So now that Brendan seems to be focused, and is making free throws, will Gilbert ever consider dropping it down inside? I don't think Brendan has been on the receiving end of a post pass since Larry Hughes left.

It's not just for Brendan though, I believe our talent level is now high enough that Gilbert's shoot first mentality could become an issue. In recent history there was only the big three but now we should be trying to play more like last year's Suns than this year Celtics. Will Gilbert, in a potential opt out year, sacrifice his scoring average to make the Wizards a better team?

Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | October 21, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

ET is a good guy and I hope he recovers well, but why in the world are people holding out hope that he will return this season? What in god's name will he be able to provide this season, as even a difference maker, when he didn't do much last season when he was healthy?

ET should write this season off, get healthy and stronger, and come back the following season.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 21, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Brendan hasn't been on the receiving end of a post past since Larry left? Are you kidding? Is Dr. Strangelove Brendan's agent?

How many times the last couple years have we seen BTH lose the handles on an entry pass, or catch the pass but try to put the ball on the floor, or catch the pass and cloppity clop his way into a walk, or catch it and make a strong move but fail to finish?

The Wiz are a permiter team because we
don't have a strong offensive post presence, not the other way around.

I think Brendan should be our starting center this year, even before the Etan's medical problem. But let's not blame everyone else for Brendan's shortcomings. He'd make a heckuva a back-up center in this league, if he could ever deal emotionally with being a heckuva back-up center.

Posted by: Prazak | October 21, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear Taylor was a good dude. But the fact remains that he just was never that great of a player. He had incredible quickness and good athleticism, but he didn't finish well, and he sure couldn't shoot the ball. Nice to hear he's a quality person, though, and I hope he does catch on somewhere.

Posted by: Colin | October 21, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Prazak,

I'm not sure it matters who our post players are; on this team, they'll get most of their points on putbacks and wide-open dunks when Gil drives and dishes (not very often, though). Gil, good as he is, just doesn't have a passer's mentality. Stevenson is similarly limited. I hope that will change with AB, but if past history is any guide, it will likely be more of the same.

Not that it's necessarily a bad thing. When you've got a player who puts up 28, 29 pts./game, do you really want him passing a lot?

Posted by: Keithinator | October 21, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

what happens if we leave ET off the active roster?Do we get compensation or what?I agree I don't see us adding anyone but if we can get money from ET situation maybe we can pick up someone.Dt was a good person but as a team we were not good when he was in.Mass wasn't good when he was good so no surprise there.

Posted by: the truth | October 21, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I do think that starting Blatche would give the first unit that consistent threat in the post. There would (finally) be a big man on the Wiz who can put the ball on the floor without turning it over, can step out to hit the jumper, and has a nose for finishing at the rim.

But I'm not sure defensively you can start him at the 5, and the way Brendan pouts on the pine it's probably better for the team to have AB back up Brendan instead of the other way around. Plus if you start AB at the 5 you're left with a second unit without much firepower (AD and Darius, plus Brendan, Roger Mason -- pretty much the team that got swept out of the playoffs, plus a few rookies).

I think the ideal line-up would be to start AB at the 4 and bring AJ off the bench. Yes you lose some points in a direct match-up with the KG's and JO's of the East, but you subtract points off the other team with a huge defensive upgrade, you loosen up the perimeter for the jump-shooters and the drive-and-dishers by having a credible post threat, and you give the second unit that much more punch and veteran presence with Antawn.

The only problem with that is the Wiz are too thin at the 5 and need Blatche to back-up Brendan. So I don't see him starting at the 4 anytime soon. Maybe next year if Ernie can steady the 5. Or maybe Blatche adds 15 pounds of muscle and someone else becomes a force off the bench and AB starts at the 5.

Posted by: Prazak | October 21, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Keithinator, I agree with you. Gil is a shoot- or drive-first point, and DS and Roger are basically catch-and-shooters. And the Wiz's big man on the first unit should mostly be garbage man in chief around the rim.

The problem, though, is that Brendan isn't the most effective garbage man. He doesn't rebound that aggressively for a 7-footer, and he doesn't have the best of hands for those quick dish-offs in the paint. AB would be an improvement in that role, but at the 4 instead of the 5.

Plus, even if having a credible post threat isn't the first, second, or third option in Eddie's offense for this particular first unit, just having that threat available makes all those perimeter functions easier. Defenses can't overplay the perimeter and the help defense is a fraction slower on rotation. Especially in a Princeton offense, where a big man has the option of passing, turning and shooting, or taking it to the rim, a guy with AB's skills in the post would make the whole offense run smoother.

I'm not ready to call him Magic Johnson or Chris Webber just yet, but there have been stretches this season where AB's been the best player on the floor.

Posted by: Prazak | October 21, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Prazak,

I agree that AB needs to be at the 5, but I also like the idea of him starting at 4. It would have such a huge impact on our defense, and having AJ come off the bench with the second unit would make sense. I wonder if Eddie will put Pech at the 5 a bit and see if he can back BH up, which makes it easier to slide AB to the 4. But Eddie loves small lineups, so I doubt it will happen. I can see McGuire getting more burn this year than Pech (which may not be a bad thing in the end.)

And Brendan's passivity on offense also drives me crazy sometimes. How many times is he right next to the basket and lays it off the glass rather than dunking it? Grrr...

Posted by: Keithinator | October 21, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Why wouldn't the Wiz try for the injury exception with Thomas? Then they could sign a player for about $3 million and still not have to pay the luxury tax, I believe. I think Marc Jackson (former Hornets C) is available and Greg Buckner may soon be waived by Minnesota. I like our top 12 guys but I worry about our lack of depth, especially if an injury strikes. I haven't seen EG do anything that would help us if one of our big guys went down - we should be more prepared after last year.

Posted by: MbWiz | October 21, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Roger Mason showing he can play 3rd string PG AND still be a good option as a 3rd string SG/defensive specialist made Taylor dispensible. The writing was on the wall when they gave Mason a fully guaranteed contract and not one to Taylor.

Posted by: Chris | October 21, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Haywood also ALWAYS brings the ball down on offensive boards instead of going right back up with the ball above his head. Nothing makes me more mad than when he does that. I've broke 2 remotes because of him. I'm also going to buy him some tickets so he can use those extra steps he always takes in the post. He has the footwork of a 1 legged paralized mule.

Posted by: the truth | October 21, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Prazak,
Good points by you and others concerning Haywood's shortcomings. A lot of images did come flooding back with your descriptives. I am not a booster for Haywood and should have thrown in some more popular names...Blatche, DMac, Pech..when voicing my Gil does not distribute concerns.

I do agree with those who have endorsed starting Blatche over Jamison. Simply prefer Blatch's length and defensive ability and think Jamison would provide scoring from the bench. Jamison is also mature enough to be able to accept a 6th man role and not let it affect his play. 2nd unit should then be able to gain ground against almost any other bench.

Posted by: Dr. Strangelove | October 21, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, I think you're going to have to post a clarification about Etan's medical/roster situation. Maybe it's in your Monday Post story.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this Wizards team gels, and I'm sure it will, and fast. We'll always question Gil's decision-making, even though he turns in four extraordinary, ofttimes game-winning, plays for every bonehead move.

I really like the big guys, though. I've never felt more confident about Haywood, mainly because he's got two or three solid inside back-ups, and maybe should be playing ahead of him. But what's the rush.

Barring injury, we're going to be good.

Posted by: zinger1 | October 21, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about DT--sure, he's a marginal NBA combo guard because of that awful-looking over-the-shoulder jumper, but he was a fairly good defender and always hustled.

That stuff about Haywood not getting any entry passes in the post is bunk. They usually go to him on one of the first few possessions. He doesn't have very good post moves, with the exception of the drop-step and dunk on the rare occasions that he's able to pin his man down low. On the plus side, he's showing more energy on the offensive boards in the pre-season. I hope he keeps that up.

AB has been playing great--he really dominated the Lithuanians at both ends, for what that's worth. At least for this season, though, I think he's more effective coming off the bench at the 4 or 5. He creates an instant matchup problem at either position for a lot of teams, and he has the combination of skills and length to make momentum-shifting plays just when you need them.

Posted by: John Brisker | October 21, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm in agreement with many of you, particularly Prazak who suggested that Blatche might be just what we need at the 4 spot. HOWEVER, not at the expense of letting Jamison sit on the bench. Why not have Haywood start at center, with Pecherov backing him up; Blatche at 4, backed by Songaila; Jamison starting at 3, with McGuire and Hall following, and Butler at the 2, backed by Stevenson and Young. Agent Zero, would have AD as a sub, along with Mason. Am I missing something here? That would seem to be our best lineup. Does anybody really believe Butler wouldn't be as effective at the 2, rather than the 3? Stevenson has his strong points, but Caron would be much better as our starting SG.

Posted by: KappaKidToo | October 21, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

John,

It's certainly not bunk. Yes, occasionally they'll dump it into him, but not often. And it's hard to do, as he has to get it in exactly the right position, since he can't put the ball on the floor, and has awful footwork. Mostly, he's invisible inside while the guards and forwards look to drive to the hole or spot up for jumpers.

Posted by: Keithinator | October 21, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I believe (and I know I will be corrected if I am wrong) that the problem with the suggestions of using an injury exception if the Wizards get it is that it is just a salary cap exception, not a luxury tax exception. Similar to the MLE, you can use it to add a player under the cap, but you are still stuck with the luxury tax implications.

Posted by: Stephen | October 21, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Haywood has developed some post moves and improved his offensive game since he came in the league. He has improved his hands also.

But it is not like he will get a lot of opportunity to touch the ball on offense, when the teams point guard will continue to shoot even when he is having a bad night, which happened with more and more frequencey as last season progressed.

I am not suggesting that Haywood will ever be a great scorer, but he is a little bit better than most here are giving him credit for.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I think DT was not that great a player honestly in every pre-season game I have since this year DT gets the ball goes racing down the court and shoots that ugly jump-shot of his and then clank his misses it

Posted by: mike | October 21, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

AJ at the 3? You thought his defense was suspect before...wait until you see him try to guard a small forward. You'd be seeing 20-30 a night, every night from the competition's 3.
No, I think AJ is just fine starting this year at the 2 and not playing anywhere near the minutes he logged last year. AB will get plently of minutes being the first or second one off the bench every game.
Ernie knows what he is doing with Etan, by keeping him active for now, this gives the Wiz the most flexibility should they get the injury expection $s, down the road this season.

Posted by: oddjob | October 21, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Stephen's right about the injurt exception. Also, Ivan has reported that the Wiz don't like anyone out there to spend money on. And Ivan, it's going to be painful to see you in a throwback Cowgirls jersey on WaPost Live.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

No, I think AJ is just fine starting this year at the 2 and not playing anywhere near the minutes he logged last year.
POSTED BY ODDJOB
Please tell me u meant 4 not 2. No comment needed I'm sure you meant 4.

Posted by: the truth | October 21, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, sorry couldn't count to 4 for a moment there...AJ at the 2 would probably mean 30-40 points every night for the opposition!

Posted by: oddjob | October 21, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

agreed, and thats on a defensive night for him

Posted by: the truth | October 21, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

BH's hands are just as clumsy as they always have been. Since we cannot count on good footwork and hands, we need him to play with energy on defense and offense...that's it.

Posted by: Skeef | October 21, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Yea, DT seemed like he was a good dude. However, with each game he seemed like he got worse.

Sorry DT, but it was time. As for Massenburg, he just looked "40 something". Now Kevin Willis is older then him, but he does not look as slow as Masenburg.

I would not mind having him in at that 13 to 14th spot for emergency.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | October 21, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

GA had his knee drained today...what is up with that? Doesn't sound like GA is anywhere near 100%. I can't imagine having my knee drained and then playing on it and feeling anything close to confident the next night or even the next week, for that matter.

Posted by: oddjob | October 21, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Jamison is never going to be a defensive specialist, but he can play better defense than he has previously. Part of the problem has been that the team, as a whole, never played well defensively, not to mention a lack of interior defense specifically. Now that we have Blatche playing more of an active role, along with McGuire coming off the bench to spark the team, you'll see the entire team step up. You might even see a resurrected Haywood, which was something I didn't think was possible. With teams throwing pics to isolate one on one, you're bound to see Jamison guarding some 3s anyway. Book it: I'll bet you'll see a different Antawn this year, especially if he gets an opportunity to play alongside Blatche at the 4. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!!

Posted by: KappaKidToo | October 21, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Jamison can't and won't play better D. However as KappaKidToo said with AB,DMac in there I think as a team our D will be better. But jamison 1 on 1 no way, I hope but no way. He has never been good at D. He just doesn't have it.

Posted by: the truth | October 21, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

What about Dale Davis? He's 38, but he played 10 minutes a game last year for Detroit. He's 6'11", 252 pounds, and strong. He rebounds and plays defense.

I'd like to see us get another center to just sit on the inactive list until we need him. Maybe a guy who's willing to work for low pay.

About Gil's knee: Unseld used to get his knee drained during games, then go back in and play. But he was a center, so he didn't need the quick explosiveness that Gil relies on. I am worried about Gil's knee, and his shot, too. Maybe in a few weeks Gil will be okay.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

In order for AJ to play better D, he's going to have to bang down low, and he doesn't like to mix it up inside.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 21, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Wow it was certainly scary seeing AB take the game over the other night. He has great passing skills, sees the court and anticipates player movements well. I think that we will never see him replace AJ because AJ is the veteran leader and there is the pecking order thing that Jordan seems to take pretty seriously. We have already heard of Blatche's poor work habits. He will never replace AJ this year. But could take a few of his minutes and that will be good. Each of the big 3 need to play 5 minutes less a game.

Only against certain matchups can we think of getting away with Caron at the 2 and AJ at the 3. It certainly is not a starting lineup solution. We have 4 young players as our future foundation: Blatche, DMac, Pech and Young. 3 of the 4 are bigs. The irony about our team, which is usually stronger on the perimeter, is that our bench has more bigs. I have a feeling that unless DS has a strong start this season Mason or Young could see more time at the 2. I alsoexpect to see 1 or 2 vets picked up as insurance. I think EG sees that the depth is young. If injuries take place like last year he would want a few vets in his hip pocket.


So far the team seems to have a better commitment to playing solid D. Look at how they rotate so much better! Let's keep our fingers crossed. This could change when Gil and AJ get back in there regularly for huge minutes. Maybe these youngsters can push them a bit.

I continue to be amazed at how "under the radar" the Zards are this year. The over is only 40 wins? If I was a bettin' man...! Did you hear Coach Popovich interviewed by Coach Thompson recently? He listed the 6-7 teams he thought could come out of the more competitive east and never even mentioned the Zards. I hope we get a serious chip on our shoulders and play that "no respect" card into the ground. The only thing that can keep us from a 50 year season in my humble opinion is long term injuries to key players.

Posted by: BmoreRev | October 22, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

"Haywood also ALWAYS brings the ball down on offensive boards instead of going right back up with the ball above his head. Nothing makes me more mad than when he does that."

Get used to it. Haywood has almost zero second jump ability. He really has to gather himself and push off to get any lift towards the basket, which is why he has trouble rebounding in traffic and rarely throws down offensive boards for put back dunks, unless he's alone on the boards.

"It's certainly not bunk. Yes, occasionally they'll dump it into him, but not often. And it's hard to do, as he has to get it in exactly the right position, since he can't put the ball on the floor, and has awful footwork."

Well, those things might just have something to do with why he doesn't get more offensive touches. Giving Haywood the ball any further out than arm's reach of the basket, where he essentially doesn't have to do anything other than turn and lift his arms in order to shoot is the same as sending out engraved invitations for a turnover (strip, fumble out of bounds, travel ... take your pick). Haywood is strictly a garbage player on offense. If he accepted that role and played to it, and gave up any illusions about actually being a go-to post scorer, his offensive output would probably actually improve.

Posted by: kalorama | October 22, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse

"Does anybody really believe Butler wouldn't be as effective at the 2, rather than the 3?"

He probably would be. The problem is that taking Stevenson out of the starting lineup (and away from his role as offensive garbage man playing off the big three) would render him utterly ineffective. (Remember the playoffs?) After giving him that sizable guaranteed contract, the Wiz are pretty much stuck with him as the starter, or else they're paying him all that money for nothing.

Posted by: kalorama | October 22, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I will take Stevenson's starting role by the end of the season. Just you watch.

Posted by: Nick Young | October 22, 2007 2:55 AM | Report abuse

well if your calculations are right Ivan and they are about 300,000 under the luxery tax then its safe to say that it was predetermined with both massenburg and taylor. and if i look at this right hall will be cut too even if he were too get league minimum it would put them over the tax meaning they would lose their luxery tax refund check its a business. good luck to those guys

Posted by: bring back profit | October 22, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

GA had his knee drained last Wednseday, but apparently practiced yesterday and should play tonight.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry too much about Gil. Vets like him generally coast during preseason; it's not like he's trying to make the team. He'll bring it once the games count.


Keith

Posted by: Keithinator | October 22, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I beleive that the only way to gain any releif with the league regarding Etan's salary not counting against the Luxury Cap is to apply for a waiver based on not being physically able to perform.

The league hasn't made that an easy thing to apply for. I think Etan will have to had to missed an entire season and the illness has to be non-basketball in nature like Etan's in order to be considered.

But it's my understanding that there's really no way to get any releif without ending Etan's career.

Is Blatche ready to start? I'd agree if the Wiz put him into the starting lineup it would be more likely at the 4 than the 5. I could see the Wiz developing a power forward/center rotation similar to the old Celtics where depending on the matchup Blatche would come off the bench at Center or power forward.

Jamison at the 3? On a limited basis it could work against some matchups. Most of the time teams will respond by putting a really quick guy on him that will try and blow by him. But if you have Haywood and Blatche in the lane waiting teams might have trouble exploiting that mismatch.

The key would be for Jamison to take a little guy into the post and to abuse him at the other end and force the other team to go big.

Caron at the two? Been thinking all summer about that as more and more of a possibility. Mason as our first two off the bench doesn't give us alot of depth against some of the big rugged twos playing in the East that are really big enough to be threes.

Gilbert's Knee? In the procedure that he had about 10-15% of the time fluid accumulates as it heals. Sometimes if a person is pushing it hard it has to be drained. I had to have mine drained 4 times years ago after the same procedure.

And damn does it hurt! Hope Gilbert doesn't have to have that done too often. His knee could be perfectly fine and he just needs to give it a little more time. But if it continues to give him problems he could have a loose particale floating around irritating things.

If that's the case the might have to go back in and clean it out again. Not something Gil wants to be dealing with at the start of the season that he's declared the intention to opt out.

If Arenas does miss some time then Butler will become more and more of a go to guy along with Jamison.

The notion that Arenas "Never Passes" is kind of funny. Sure he's a scoring point and takes alot of shots. But if he never passes, how come guys keep making the Allstar team running with him?

Posted by: GM | October 22, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Last I checked, the much ballyhooed all star game is a popularity contest. Ask yourself why Shaq and Yao Ming got voted in and they were out injured most of the 1st half of last season.

With 3 "all stars" on the team, how did Les BouleS go from first in the east to barely making the 8th seed as the downward spiral started before anyone got injured? How many seasons in a row being one and done in the playoffs?

You can have all your all star accolades. I value playoff success more.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 22, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Isn't is ironic that our whole season will depend on Haywood's health? If he gets injured, do you see Pecherov guarding the Shaq, Zs, and even Eddy Curry of the league?

Posted by: Dave | October 22, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"The league hasn't made that an easy thing to apply for. I think Etan will have to had to missed an entire season and the illness has to be non-basketball in nature like Etan's in order to be considered.

But it's my understanding that there's really no way to get any releif without ending Etan's career."


I'm fairly certain this is untrue. In fact, if anything I think you're confusing the NBA rules with the NFL.

In the NBA the vast majority of player contracts are guaranteed. As a result, it is all but impossible for an NBA team to unilaterally void a player's contract (let alone end his career), esp. because of injury status.

If a player suffers a season-ending injury (basketball related or otherwise) the team can petition the league for a medical exception that would allow them to sign a replacement player with, I believe, no impact on the salary cap (not sure how it works with the luxury tax) for up to 50% of the injured player's salary. But none of this has any effect on the contract status of the injured player. The team is still obligated to pay him the full remaining amount on his salary (unless he retires) and if/when he's medically cleared to play they have to take him back (whether they want to or not), unless they're willing to waive him (in which case they'd still have to pay him unless someone picks him up off waivers).

Posted by: kalorama | October 22, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

DCMan88 - the downward spiral started last year when AJ got hurt. From there, the wiz only won 4 of 12 games that AJ did not play in.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 22, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Haywood also ALWAYS brings the ball down on offensive boards instead of going right back up with the ball above his head. Nothing makes me more mad than when he does that."
Posted by: the truth
----------------------

Haywood needs to gather himself for the jump. Not every NBA player can jump straight up without much bending in the knees while keep hands above the head. Haywood is certainly not one of those who can (he can do that only if he is very close to the basket and do not need to reach laterally).

Try it yourself, you will see the height you can reach is far less than your normal jump (i.e., bending knees and with help from the motion of your arms).

Posted by: Sagaliba | October 22, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

It seems like folks are worried about who will guard Shaq, Z, or Eddy Curry. There's no way either one of those guys can guard Blatche, either. It's a wash. Make people adjust to us rather than adjust to them. A good dbl team when necessary is all we need. I actually think AB has the advantage over those guys because he's mobile and can draw fouls with his quickness. If Haywood goes down, we'll be fine. Didn't Elson start for San Antonio? Did he shut anyone down?

Posted by: mark | October 22, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Why all the focus on AB starting the game? If Brenda picks up his usual 2 fouls in the first quarter, AB will get more than enough minutes anyway.

I'm MUCH more concerned about who FINISHES games. Too often last season, we had 5 wings and no bigs on the floor in the final minutes because EJ didn't trust Haywood and still had some odd love affair with Arvis Hayes. Let's hope Blatche's defense earns him crunch time minutes instead.

Posted by: AverageBro.com | October 22, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

When Antawn went down, the Wiz were in first place of the Eastern Conference at 27-17 . They had just beaten Detroit, which is the game Antawn got hurt.

By the time the allstar game was played on Feb 18th, the wiz had lost 4 of 6 games without Antawn.

The wiz played 36 games between Feb and Apr. 20 of those games were played without at least 1 of the big 3. I believe their downfall lies with that 76% of the games during the 2nd half.

They regained all the big 3 for the month of March and a game in April. They went 500 during that stretch.

Stats for when one of big 3 did not play during feb and apr:

feb: 4-7 (Antawn 11 games, Caron 3)
apr: 2-8 (Caron 10 games, Gilbert 8)

As for those of you that think EJ is the main source of why this team doesn't produce, I think injuries had more to do with the bad 2nd half than anything else. As much as everyone would love to blame EJ ... it seems to me, the wiz were doing pretty well until the injury bug hit. After that, there really wasn't much of a bench to go to. Hopefully, this year, with a much improved bench ( and maybe less injuries ), the wiz can put all the naysayers to rest.

I am predicting a 50 win season.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 22, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"DCMan88 - the downward spiral started last year when AJ got hurt. From there, the wiz only won 4 of 12 games that AJ did not play in.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 22, 2007 11:35 AM "


If you look at the schedule, the downward spiral started about mid February. Just b/c you lost AJ, you have 2 other "All Stars" on the team, including Gilby. That shouldn't cause a downward spiral which takes you from first place to barely 8th place to being swept in the playoffs, especially for a team that's been together for a few years now.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/schedule?team=was&season=2007

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 22, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"Haywood needs to gather himself for the jump. Not every NBA player can jump straight up without much bending in the knees while keep hands above the head."

No, they can't. But the ability to do it is what separates the consistently effective rebounders, shotblokers, and dunkers from, well, guys like Haywood.

Posted by: kalorama | October 22, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

DC Man88, The Wiz have had 2 seasons of 1 and done, counting the injury-plauged year last season. Their first playoff season they lost in the 2nd round. If any other team had lost 2 of their top players going into the playoffs, I doubt very seriously that they would get out of the the first round. Jamison got hurt in Feb which caused a loss of continuity, then Caron & Arenas. I believe, barring injury that the Wiz are one of the top 4 teams in the East. We have to understand that championship teams are not built overnight. Think about the many years the Wiz did not make the playoffs and fielded non-competitive teams with no all stars.

Posted by: Garry | October 22, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"It seems like folks are worried about who will guard Shaq, Z, or Eddy Curry. There's no way either one of those guys can guard Blatche, either. It's a wash."

That may (repeat, may) be true statistically. But stats aren't the issue. The bigger problem is that Blatche's rather slender form is not exactly built to take regular physical pounding from guys in the 300 lb weight range. If he spends too much time being used as a speed bump by those guys, it's going to wear him down physically.

Posted by: kalorama | October 22, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for this knee thing with Gil I'd be sorely tempted to put some money down on that over/under.

Ivan's piece in today's post quoted Eddie as saying he likes AB as a defensive specialist against the Garnetts and the Lewises of the East and as a low-post scoring option. I like the sound of that, but whether he starts or not it implies AB will be on the floor for long stretches with the first unit. First man off the bench, I hope.

Anyone who followed last season knows that the Wiz's downward spiral began last year with AJ's inury and carried forward to the injuries to Caron and Gil. Why try to rewrite such well-known recent history?

Posted by: Prazak | October 22, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

DCMan88 - I think we agree on when the downward spiral started, just not on the reasons for it.

I don't think anyone thought AJ going down would hurt as much as it did (4-12 record). He was replaced by Andre Blatche, who played well ( from what we expected of him), but the team seemed lost w/o AJ. We didn't have a good bench, then on top of that, Andre gets hurt ( basically for the remainder of regular season).

When both Caron and Gilbert went down, the season was effectively over.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 22, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Didn't Elson start for San Antonio? Did he shut anyone down?"

Actually first year guy Fabircio Oberto was the starting center for S.A. last year. But they do have Duncan starting at the 4 and that makes up for A LOT of shortcoming at the center spot.

Posted by: pg posse | October 22, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

ARENAS HAD HIS KNEE DRAINED!?!?!?!? WHAAAAAAAT???? PLEASE TELL ME... ahem... please tell me Arenas is not going to have another surgery on his knee this year? Please tell me he's going to be okay? Because without Arenas at 100% the zards offense will grind to a pathetic halt. Or at least it did last year -- zards were a lottery team without one of the big three.

Maybe this year is different, but I'd MUCH MUCH rather have a healthy Arenas!

Posted by: Zonker | October 22, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Haywood needs to gather himself for the jump. Not every NBA player can jump straight up without much bending in the knees while keep hands above the head. Haywood is certainly not one of those who can (he can do that only if he is very close to the basket and do not need to reach laterally).

Try it yourself, you will see the height you can reach is far less than your normal jump (i.e., bending knees and with help from the motion of your arms).


Posted by: Sagaliba | October 22, 2007 11:40 AM

Try it myself I played ball many years at different levels. I've been coaching now for 15yrs at different levels and seen guys with exactly what you say about not being able to jump.And I'll tell you I had a player who was 6'10 at HS level who couldn't jump yet was 10x better player by not bringing the ball down. Jumping or not he was able to put the ball back up before the D could recover and yes he played against guys his size. That is a poor excuse for a poor player.And if he gets the ball to far from the hoop bring it out and start the O over.Or learn to see the floor cause at that point someone could be open.When you bring the ball down it only gives the little guys a chance to abuse you.

Posted by: the truth | October 22, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"The bigger problem is that Blatche's rather slender form is not exactly built to take regular physical pounding from guys in the 300 lb weight range."

Posted by: kalorama
-----------------------------

That's why we need, well, guys like Haywood even though we know his athleticism is limited. :)`

Posted by: Sagaliba | October 22, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Haywood needs to gather himself for the jump. Not every NBA player can jump straight up without much bending in the knees while keep hands above the head."

No, they can't. But the ability to do it is what separates the consistently effective rebounders, shotblokers, and dunkers from, well, guys like Haywood.

Posted by: kalorama | October 22, 2007
Very good which is why BH is a back up at best and thats streching it!

Posted by: the truth | October 22, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree with truth haywood should not bring the ball down. Thats when he tends to turn it over. Like truth said bring it back out and restart the offense!

Posted by: jwc | October 22, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"The bigger problem is that Blatche's rather slender form is not exactly built to take regular physical pounding from guys in the 300 lb weight range."

Posted by: kalorama

Unfortunately your right. But Haywood can't handle him either

Posted by: jwc | October 22, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Truth,

The advice of not bringing the ball down is sound and I am not questioning that. I just stated the reason why Haywood could not "go straight up." You hit the nail on the coffin, Haywood lacks the quickness so he cannot "put the ball back up before the D could recover."

All told, I still think Haywood is a "serviceable" center, but I will never mistake him for an all-star.

Posted by: Sagaliba | October 22, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

All told, I still think Haywood is a "serviceable" center, but I will never mistake him for an all-star.


Posted by: Sagaliba | October 22, 2007 01:21 PM

Agreed, but if he would just reset The O insted of taking the amtrak to the hoop he would be better in those situations.He could be a decent player if he played with his head. He seems to play faster than he thinks, which sometimes you can't fix, but again your correct I'll never mistake him for a star

Posted by: the truth | October 22, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately your right. But Haywood can't handle him either

Posted by: jwc
--------------------
No, Haywood cannot handle elite center like Shaq, but he can handle most centers in this league including Big Z from Cleveland, Rasho of Toronto, and centers from San Antonio (no not the guy named Duncan), etc, and spares daily pounding of all these centers who are bigger and heavier than AB.

Posted by: Sagaliba | October 22, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"That's why we need, well, guys like Haywood even though we know his athleticism is limited."

I never said we don't need Haywood. We just need him to focus on what he can do reasonably well, do it consistently and with high energy, and stop trying to do more than his limited skill set is really capable of (and stop pouting and slacking off when things don't go his way).

That's always been the issue with Haywood.

Posted by: kalorama | October 22, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Hit my "Submit" button too soon. To continue my post:
That's the exact reason why Dallas and San Antonio don't start their 7-foot all-stars at center!

Posted by: Sagaliba | October 22, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Take heart Wizard fans help is on the way at the center position. The Wizards secret plan is to let Dominic McGuire grow 2 or 3 more inches and then you will have the second coming of Bill Russell. Heck the kid is already 6'9" and still growing. I bet you at his present height he can out play Haywood at the center position already in all phases.

Posted by: Donald | October 22, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone happen to read the article in the Post today? According to EJ, AB is making a strong case to log heavy minutes at the 4. That being the case, it certainly appears as though some experimentation is about to begin with AJ at the 3. Sorry to push this (ever so gently) down your throats, but this poses a lot of matchup problems for opponents. Some of you are worried about AJ's inability to play D even if his life depended on it, but, as GM ably put it, if you have AB and BH clogging the lanes, it minimizes some of Jamison's deficiencies. I'm telling you, folks, this could work.........big time!!

Posted by: KappaKidToo | October 22, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"DC Man88, The Wiz have had 2 seasons of 1 and done, counting the injury-plauged year last season. Their first playoff season they lost in the 2nd round. If any other team had lost 2 of their top players going into the playoffs, I doubt very seriously that they would get out of the the first round. Jamison got hurt in Feb which caused a loss of continuity, then Caron & Arenas. I believe, barring injury that the Wiz are one of the top 4 teams in the East. We have to understand that championship teams are not built overnight. Think about the many years the Wiz did not make the playoffs and fielded non-competitive teams with no all stars.

Posted by: Garry | October 22, 2007 12:09 PM "

Yes, when Les BouleS advanced to the second round of the playoffs, recall that was the year that LH was having a phenomenal season and BTH was doing well also b/c he got regular feeds from LH. To help continuity, EG let him walk even though he promised to do everything to retain him.

Keep in mind that since Les BouleS went on a downward spiral, they ended up being the 8th seed, which put them against the 1st seed, thus making their job that much tougher.

I wouldn't have that much heartburn over dudes getting injured, but when they went on that ill fated, must win at least 4-1 west coast roadtrip, they were playing against mostly sub.500 non playoff teams that were missing their star. Portland missed Zach, Seattle missed Ray, GS missed Stephen Jackson, LA missed Cassell and Livingston, etc. No excuses, but they still lost, and they had both Gilby and AJ. In fact, they had at least 2 of 3 of their all stars during most of the season until the bitter end.

If you read any of my posts in the past, I suggested here that Gilby should have rested up during all star weekend for the 2nd half of the season by bowing out of all star weekend like Steve Nash. Gilby was on a huge media self promotion campaign though, so he risked the success of Les BouleS by playing in the all star game anyway.

After not getting MVP like he predicted, by a mile, he was diagnosed with a dislocated clavicle. The doctor popped it back in and he declared to the world, "Hibachi is back!!!" but his shot was off the for the rest of the season and continues to be off.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 22, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

"

DCMan88 - I think we agree on when the downward spiral started, just not on the reasons for it.

I don't think anyone thought AJ going down would hurt as much as it did (4-12 record). He was replaced by Andre Blatche, who played well ( from what we expected of him), but the team seemed lost w/o AJ. We didn't have a good bench, then on top of that, Andre gets hurt ( basically for the remainder of regular season).

When both Caron and Gilbert went down, the season was effectively over.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 22, 2007 12:26 PM "

That's what happens when a team relies on individual play and not a system that they believe in.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 22, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Come on, DCMan. Be reasonable. Phil Jackson's triangle offense is one of the best systems out there, but how do you think the Bulls would have done if MJ and Scottie had gone down, or the Lakers if Kobe and Shaq had been out? I don't care what system you run, with Caron and Gil down the Wiz just aren't going to run with the Cavs. Can't you cut the home team a little slack?

Posted by: Prazak | October 22, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz were the 7th seed, not the 8th. And how would resting in the all-star game have prevented Gil from a freak injury when someone rolled his knee? How do you make that connection? And Gil's injured shoulder may have been diagnosed after the all-star game but he actually injured it in December or January. Again, resting would have done nothing for that.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

"The Wiz were the 7th seed, not the 8th. And how would resting in the all-star game have prevented Gil from a freak injury when someone rolled his knee? How do you make that connection? And Gil's injured shoulder may have been diagnosed after the all-star game but he actually injured it in December or January. Again, resting would have done nothing for that.

Posted by: | October 22, 2007 11:03 PM "

Recall that Gilby had a shoulder problem right before the all star game b/c he bumped into a defender while driving. He could have rested up and not participated in the 3 point shooting contest, which many say throws off your stroke anyway. Nash bowed out of the all star game because he said he wanted to rest up for the 2nd half of the season.

Gilby had such a huge self promotion campaign going that he was forced to play. He announced beforehand that he was going to go for MVP, but ended up having no impact on the game. After all star was over, he went to a doctor and determined that his clavicle was dislocated, to which the doc popped back into place, to which Gilby declared afterwards "Hibachi is back!!!"

Long story short, if he had nursed himself back to health and focused on team, Les BouleS may have won more games b/c Gilby couldn't hit the side of a barn the second half of the season. Thus, they would have played a lower seed and not Cleveland and possibly have had a better chance.

Right now, it's all ifs, ands, and buts, but it's clear to everyone that Gilby has a lot of self interest and didn't put team first, and continues to do that.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 23, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I knew the conversation would somehow turn back to Gilbert and how he is too this or not enough of that, blah, blah, blah,blah. It's like the movie Ground Hog day! LOL
No matter what the day or the topic, it like you wake up on a different day but the conversation is the same old tired "Les Boules/Gilby" haterade. Blah, blah, blah! Quite amusing actually trying to see how long it will take before the tirade starts. My coworkers and I take bets LOL

Posted by: Anonymous | October 23, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't have anything meaningful to add. I'm supposed to be studying for a midterm but instead I just love the Wizards. Seriously its a problem all I care about is the Wizards (and the Redskins.) Wizards Wizards Wizards I love the Wizards. Go Wizards.

Posted by: Andy | October 23, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't have anything meaningful to add. I'm supposed to be studying for a midterm but instead I just love the Wizards. Seriously its a problem all I care about is the Wizards (and the Redskins.) Wizards Wizards Wizards I love the Wizards. Go Wizards.

Posted by: Andy | October 23, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"I knew the conversation would somehow turn back to Gilbert and how he is too this or not enough of that, blah, blah, blah,blah. It's like the movie Ground Hog day! LOL
No matter what the day or the topic, it like you wake up on a different day but the conversation is the same old tired "Les Boules/Gilby" haterade. Blah, blah, blah! Quite amusing actually trying to see how long it will take before the tirade starts. My coworkers and I take bets LOL

Posted by: | October 23, 2007 01:55 PM "

That cool! I'm hoping you win lots of money so you can buy more tickets and support your Les BouleS!

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 23, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Is Donell really going to be fine ?

Its late for signing on overseas.

That leaves him with the minor leagues.

So he is going from $500k to roughly $25k.

How many of us could handle a 95% paycut and "be fine" ?

I understand it. Im not mad at the Wizards but we are fooling ourselves thiking a guy is going to be fine when going from an NBA lifestyle and money to the NBDL and a 95% paycut.

First class flights & hotels and a half million a year to long bus rides and flea bag motels...and a 95% paycut to boot.

Thats GOT to be hard on a young kid.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Get us some INSIDE INFO on this KOBE debacle

Posted by: Donkey | October 29, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Hello, nice site :)

Posted by: Brin | December 3, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

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