Trumpin' Duncan

It's about him. It's all about him.

Tim Duncan knows it. When he looks over and sees the Los Angeles Lakers trading for Pau Gasol, and the Phoenix Suns trading for Shaquille O'Neal, he knows the intent is to knock him off his perch as NBA champion.

"I would guess so," Duncan said after scoring 23 points and 9 rebounds as the Spurs defeated the Washington Wizards, 85-77, last night. "Obviously, you don't want to say that - it's to make their team better - but I got to imagine that's the point of it."


I should've known Phoenix wasn't going to keep trying to guard me with little dudes like you, Boris. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The San Antonio Spurs have vanquished the Suns in two of the past three seasons, and ever since O'Neal guided the Lakers to the last of the franchise's 14 NBA titles in 2002, Duncan has won three of the past five NBA championships.

If Derek Fisher hadn't nailed that incredible fadeaway with 0.4 seconds left in the conference semifinals in 2004, and Manu Ginobili hadn't fouled Dirk Nowitzki in the conference semifinals in 2006, Duncan might have been five for five (with one of those titles coming against Shaq's Miami Heat).

Duncan was asked if he was honored that so many teams are making major moves because of him. "No, I'm not honored in any way. I'm a little [ticked] off," Duncan said, jokingly.

Duncan is also a bit stunned when he looks at the standings and sees that the Spurs (31-16) are not only third in the Southeast Division behind Dallas and New Orleans, but they are also the fifth seed in the Western Conference. "It's weird, but it's early," Duncan said.

When the calendar year ended, the Spurs were 21-8 and sitting pretty with the best record in the conference. They hit a rough patch in January, leading some to speculate that they wouldn't even make the playoffs.

The Spurs improved to 3-2 on their infamous nine-game Rodeo Road trip last night. They also played their fourth straight without Tony Parker, who is out indefinitely with a heal injury. Duncan realizes the Spurs can't just try to maintain without Parker; they have to win.


No way, Tony. Eva wants to hook me up with a Desperate Housewife? I'm playing with you, Pop. Oh, really. I'm not laughing, Tony. You're out indefinitely. Go home. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

"It's crazy right now," Duncan said. "We went through a slump for 10, 12, 15 games, when we thought we had a good lead on the pack. Then we slid right in the middle of it. Now everybody is fighting for position. A loss here, a loss there changes things dramatically."

But while the competition out West was once simply on the court, the Lakers and Suns have made it a game of can-you-top-this wheeling and dealing. "I think they both deserve credit for being creative, thinking about of the box, especially Phoenix," Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said.

Earlier he had praised the move by the Lakers, while questioning the reasoning of the Memphis Grizzlies, who handed an all-star caliber talent to a contender for little more than cap space and draft picks. "What the Lakers just did made it tougher," he said. "It was a miraculous move, confounding in other ways how something like that would happen, why the [heck] something like that would happen. What the [heck] were those guys thinking? [The Lakers] just got whole real quick. I think they are going to be just dynamite."

The Spurs are the league's oldest team - 11 of their 14 players are over age 30 - and they just got older with the recent signing of 34-year-old Damon Stoudamire, who landed on their porch as a gift from the Grizzlies (Pop can't be too mad at Memphis over Pau. The Grizzlies are helping everybody they can; losing games, selling talent). San Antonio probably needs some youth and athleticism to keep up with some of the younger, deeper teams in the West, but Duncan said the Spurs really just need some health more than a seismic trade.


Nothing feels better than a champagne shower. Ah! (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

"For us, we've had one of our three out the entire season," said Duncan, who missed four games this season with a sprained right ankle. "Absolutely, it always goes through your mind [to make a deal] when there are such moves as in the last week. But the deal with us is, if we can get healthy - get Manu healthy and Tony and myself healthy -we've got enough pieces. We feel that we don't see anybody that we can add right now that can put us beyond what we have."

The past five years, the Spurs big in-season trades have been acquiring Nazr Mohammed and Jamison Brewer from New York for Malik Rose in 2005, and Melvin Ely last season. Mohammed helped San Antonio win a title and Ely won a ring despite never leaving the bench. Asked why he hasn't made many big trades during the season, Popovich joked, "I'm not that clever."

The minor deal for Ely had little affect on the Spurs, but ironically, it followed Popovich's statement that he wasn't going to make any deals. He isn't making such declarations this season. "I thought that was pretty cool last year," Popovich said. "It was an appropriate statement. This year, I haven't felt the need to make that statement."

Popovich, however, said he wouldn't make a knee-jerk reaction to keep up with the Lakers and Suns. "I never feel pressure to make a deal," Popovich said. "We talk to everybody like the other 29 teams. Making deals because you feel pressure is a recipe for failure."

Duncan was asked if the thought Suns fans should wake up this morning feeling good about having O'Neal. "It all depends on how healthy Shaq is," Duncan said. "It all depends on his health and his durability. If he's healthy and durable, absolutely."

When Shaq was introduced to fans in Phoenix last night, he rubbed his hand over his ring finger. O'Neal and Duncan have combined to win eight of the past nine championships. O'Neal has long desired to be recognized as the greatest big man of his era, but after Duncan matched him with his fourth championship last summer, that will be up for debate.


Shaq, you sure you want to come back to my conference for more of this? (Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)

They both have put up incredible statistics over their careers - Duncan has career averages of 21.7 points, 11.9 rebounds; O'Neal has career averages of 25.6 points and 11.5 rebounds. They both have three NBA Finals MVP trophies. Duncan has won the regular season MVP twice, while Shaq has just one (which is criminal, considering how great he was the first part of this decade). And, they've both won an inordinate number of games. But Duncan, almost four years Shaq's junior at 31, said he isn't competing with O'Neal, or in some sort of race to get a fifth championship.

"I want the fifth. I don't care about him," Duncan said, laughing. "I don't care who has what. It's all about winning. Everybody always asks, 'You've got four rings, what's your motivation to do it again?' It's because you want to do it again. You've been there and you've enjoyed being on top of the league. There is no place like it."

And that's why everyone wants to take it from him.

By Michael Lee |  February 7, 2008; 7:36 AM ET
Previous: Butler out, Wiz and Spurs | Next: Friday update

Comments

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I think it is time for the Wizards to officially change their current season motto from Ready to Rule to Ready to Roll Over and Die

Posted by: Nedster | February 7, 2008 9:19 AM

Yes, the winner from the West will be strong, but the Wiz have a chance to be the "NY Giants" of the NBA Champsionships.

We know the Wiz will be a visiting team. Therefore, being at full strength and having momentum and confidence going into the playoffs is the way to optimize the Wiz' chances (not burning out the stars for a few more victories during the season).

Also, the bench needs to improve - and that improvement is most likely to come from AB and NY. Improvement takes time on the court. See http://www.82games.com/wong1.htm For example, AB played only 6 minutes a game for 29 games in his first year, which doesn't amount to much. His second year had 12 minutes for 56 games. He needs more time on the court.

Finally, OP and NM will not be ready by the playoffs even with more minutes. And Mason and D.Song are not likely to improve.

Tough road trip coming up, guys. Let's hope EJ spreads the minutes.

Posted by: Izman | February 7, 2008 9:28 AM

I think it is time for the Wizards to officially change their current season motto from Ready to Rule to Ready to Roll Over and Die

Posted by: Nedster | February 7, 2008 09:19 AM

LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nedster!!!!! That is hilariousssssss!!!
I can't stop laughing....

I can't stop laughing!!!!

Posted by: Pete | February 7, 2008 10:29 AM

Besides Arenas, Butler, Jamison, Haywood, Daniels maybe Blatche...the rest are ALL mediocre to average bench players.
gotta go.

You'd have to bunch em all up to trade for anything. Truly a waste. If they ever want to get serious(per Hubie Brown & others...they need to shed Mason, DMac etc. the entire bench - put together a descent team. None of these guys is consistent - NONE

Why they kept Mason is beyong me....He must be dating somebodies daughter? ewww
who would do that to their daughter??

Majority of the time - or "crunch" time - Mason can't hit the side of a dang barn... MacG isn't going to get any better...the rest???? Its equivelent to sending in DCMan and Rook to play...its all the same. LOL

Truth? They need a bench in the worse way that can play consistently every game.

The starting five/six are just that - champions rely on their bench to pull them thru - our bench drowns us.


Posted by: Pete | February 7, 2008 10:34 AM

Looks like all the good teams are positioning themselves for the playoffs. What are Les Boules doing? We're still undermanned, beaten up, and limping along.

The "saving grace" is Gilby's reported return come March. Question for EG is what is the "what if" plan?

What if Gilby comes back and he doesn't give us a boost that we need and the team continues to limp? Scrap the season?

I see EG putting all his eggs in one basket with Gilby's return, and it's not a smart thing, especially with this beaten up, undermanned team.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 7, 2008 11:01 AM

Great article, Mike.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 11:05 AM

"Looks like all the good teams are positioning themselves for the playoffs."

Actually, it looks like all of the elite teams are positioning themselves for the title. The Wizards still have some intermediate steps to make before they need to start thinking in those terms.

Posted by: kalorama | February 7, 2008 11:21 AM

In my humble opinion I think the Wiz will improve if they start AB and move AJ to the bench. I think we all agree that AB play way way much better when he starts. And AJ, can give the bench the scoring boost that they much need. He will be the super sub and be the first one off the bench to replace either DS, CB or AB. Isn't he won the six man award when we was still playing with Dallas? Maybe he can win it again this time as a Wizard.

I think we're okay with the bench....NEXT SEASON not this season. With the added experience of NY and OP plus the return of ET. The odd man out is DM, I don't really think he has the talent to be in the league. Maybe another veteran in his place will do good.

Posted by: Dave, | February 7, 2008 11:23 AM

There is no way Jordon will move Jamison to the bench this season, nor should he. Blatche is a bench player on this team. That's the role they need him to play. The onus is on him to understand that and adjust accordingly. Besides, the Wizards record with him as a starter is 2-3, so the evidence suggests that starting him doesn't automatically make the team better.

I still maintain that the Wiz need to get some reliable, veteran scoring help off the bench. It may be unlikely they'll pull off a deal this season, but they need to be active over the summer. The Grizzlies appear to be cleaning house, so Ernie needs to find a way to get Mike Miller in a Wizards uniform.

Posted by: kalorama | February 7, 2008 11:35 AM

Another long post by Mr. Lee. It was good, though. I don't think people really appreciate how great Tim Duncan is. He doesn't boast and brag or crack jokes like Shaq, but TD gets it done. It's going to be tough for him to repeat, though.

Posted by: misguided bullets | February 7, 2008 11:46 AM

In a word the bench is killing this team,Roger chokes at crunch time,Darius is just a shadow of himself overmatched all of the time, Andray brilliant one minute a goofball the next,Pechorev if I see him shoot another 3 without driving to the hoop I'M gonna choke him.The fault in this situation lies with the GM not the coach move AJ to the bench and lets see if can inspire this bunch along with AD after Gilbert gets back, suggestion: start CB AB BH GA and DS. Nick and Dominic get a pass as rooks.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | February 7, 2008 12:11 PM

I just scrolled over to this website to read this article. Pretty good, Michael. I think the Spurs need to make a move to help Tim Duncan because they can't expect to win another title with Oberto and Horry. They should try to get some expiring contracts together and get Charlie Villanueva from Milwaukee. He's just what the Spurs need - a good, young, athletic big man - who can score.

Posted by: HookEmHorns4Ever | February 7, 2008 12:11 PM

Hold on, HookEmHorns. The Bucks aren't like the Memphis Grizzlies. They won't just give away a young talent for old scrubs and cap space. Villanueva? Keep dreaming.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 12:17 PM

Kal - I disagree with your view, I still think that AJ on the bench will be the best for the team. Being on the bench does not translate to limited minutes anyway. It will just give AB and the bench a little push. But that's just me....a regular fan of a struggling team.

What the bench need is a 3 point shooter (like a JCN - !!!)and another PG. Portland has 4 PG maybe we can steal one from them.

Posted by: Dave, | February 7, 2008 12:17 PM

Maybe the Spurs should try to trick Memphis into giving them Mike Miller. He'd be a major upgrade over the Michael (Finley) they have right now.

Posted by: tpizzleforshizzle | February 7, 2008 12:28 PM

I'm watching this Shaq press conference right now. He is hilarious. He is charming. He just lights up the room. Why couldn't Tim Duncan say one joke the past 12 years? All he needed to do was show a little personality to get some more love. I guess he doesn't need it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 12:36 PM

Of course, if we ever have our starters healthy, it immediately makes our bench better, because we'll have Daniels, Blatche and Thomas coming in, instead of Mason, McGuire, etc.

I agree with Kal that we need a veteran scorer, like Miller. I also wouldn't mind seeing the Wiz go after another Grizz, Kyle Lowry. I think he'd be a perfect backup PG.

So much of the Wiz' problems are because of injuries. I don't want the team to make panic moves just because they're hitting the hardest part of their schedule and look like a MASH unit. Let's see what happens when we get all our parts back.

Posted by: Keithinator | February 7, 2008 12:38 PM

How exactly can we get Mike Miller? They already have Kwame Brown. What could we possibly offer the Grizzlies? Nick Young? He makes Caron Butler money! Do you know how bad the cap situation would be when we try to resign Gilbert and Tawn this summer? I don't see anybody taking Darius Songaila off our hands. He's been putrid.

Posted by: misguided bullets | February 7, 2008 12:46 PM

Sorry. I meant to say Mike Miller makes Caron Butler money, not Nick Young. I hope you understood. Either way, Mike Miller ain't coming here. Even if we gave them Nick and DeShawn - which would take away half of our guards.

Posted by: misguided bullets | February 7, 2008 12:48 PM

As bad as the Wizards have been, at least we aren't in the West. We'd be the 12th seed out there - and we'd have nobody to match up with the Lakers (they drilled us without Pau), the Spurs, Suns (even with a beatdown Shaq), the Warriors, the Hornets, the Rockets, the Jazz and the Nuggets (Friday night will be ugly - remember how bad it looked when we played them with Caron AND Gilbert!). I know we handled Portland earlier this year, but those young boys look good. Be happy we are in the suckiness known as the East.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 12:52 PM

Mike Miller might get traded here if Les BouleS are willing to give up AJ's expiring contract. Of course, another body would need to be sent here to make the numbers work.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 7, 2008 12:52 PM

Who would you rather have in their prime? Shaq or Duncan? Anybody?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 12:53 PM

I'm watching this Shaq press conference right now. He is hilarious. He is charming. He just lights up the room. Why couldn't Tim Duncan say one joke the past 12 years? All he needed to do was show a little personality to get some more love. I guess he doesn't need it.

Posted by: | February 7, 2008 12:36 PM
-------------------------------------------
Thats always how it starts for Shaq. He left Orlando, LA & Miami on bad terms because he wears out his welcome quickly. The Big, Fat Aristotle and Kerr/D'Antoni/Nash will be on bad terms before Shaqs massive contact is done.

Posted by: curtmcgurt | February 7, 2008 12:56 PM

"Actually, it looks like all of the elite teams are positioning themselves for the title. The Wizards still have some intermediate steps to make before they need to start thinking in those terms.

Posted by: kalorama | February 7, 2008 11:21 AM "

Like what? Resign Gilby and AJ? Then we're back to square one.

Same core team that lost first round last season, and same core team that lost to the Cavs two seasons before that when Gilby missed his free throws. People can use injuries as an excuse, but this team has not managed to stay healthy, so there's no guarantee that they will ever be healthy. Other teams have had their injuries, but managed to persevere.

One could say this team has gotten better, but so has the competition. What you see on this team is the core 3 all stars that are great, and a very mediocre bench. Two of the all stars are reaching their max pay.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 7, 2008 12:59 PM

I don't know if Wally Sczerbiak can help this team, but he makes 12 mil and is a veteran who has shown that he can score...assuming we can't get Mike Miller.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 7, 2008 1:00 PM

No question.. Tim Duncan in his prime!

Great Article. If you think Tim doesn't have a sense of humor, read the article again... lol

Posted by: Mary | February 7, 2008 1:01 PM

The Wiz played a good game last night. Their injuries and San Antonio's depth is what did them in. Remember, they were playing the defending NBA champs without 2 starters.

As far as the comments on Mason, I guess the Spurs are idiots also? Mason turned down a nice contract with the Spurs this year to stay in DC. The Spurs wanted him to come off the bench and shoot.

Let's wait until April and see what happens. Keep the faith.

Posted by: Section101 | February 7, 2008 1:07 PM

Are you crazy? Shaq was unstoppable in his prime. When he was annihilating fools from 2000-2002, the only thing that stood in his way was himself - and maybe Kobe. But he wasn't called the MDE for nothing. Duncan has been great, but never dominating.

Posted by: Diesel Fueled | February 7, 2008 1:08 PM

For Mr. Diesel Fuel, how does this work for you: Duncan is 4-0 in NBA Finals. Shaq is 4-1. His one loss was against Detroit. Duncan prevailed over the Pistons a year later.
Tim may not have been a self promoter, but you have to remember that when Shaq won all of those titles, the second best player on those Lakers teams was Kobe Bryant. Tim had to carry an aging David Robinson and a bunch of bums - and he still never got swept! TD all day, baby.

Posted by: Duncan Donuts | February 7, 2008 1:15 PM

Manu Ginobli = McFlop, Flop Easy, Flop City, etc...

LOL!

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 7, 2008 1:28 PM

Manu Ginobili = Unguardable.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 1:34 PM

I'm keeping the faith. The Wiz just need to start closing out their opponents. They always seem to gain a good lead and loose it. Hopefully, the All-Star break (& the return of Arenas?) will do them some good.

Posted by: wizz nation | February 7, 2008 1:38 PM

In their primes, I'd take Shaq every time. That's not to demean the great Tim Duncan, the best PF of all time. But Shaq was a force of nature. The scariest player in the game, and absolutely, completely unstoppable.

Posted by: Keithinator | February 7, 2008 1:43 PM

A few points about Jamison:

1. He is the best/most effective player on the Wizards this year. Look at his incredible +/- numbers.

2. Moving him to the bench while Caron or Gilbert is out makes little sense.

3. Moving him to the bench when Caron and Gil are back is worth considering. Sometimes doing something unusual can reap rewards. And if Manu Ginobli can come off the bench for the Spurs, Jamison can for the Wizards.

4. You could and should criticize Blatche for playing great when he starts and not so great when he doesn't, but isn't maximizing your players' effectiveness the point? Jamison could still play 35+ minutes, but he could really anchor that bench and make it a more effective unit.

5. My only concern is that bringing Jamison off the bench could lead to minutes when Songalia and Jamison are playing the 4 and 5. That combo doesn't work defensively.

Posted by: Sean | February 7, 2008 1:47 PM

Tim Duncan gets plenty of love. In the yearly Harris Poll of "Ten Favorite Sports Star-Male" for 2007 he landed 7th on the list.
http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=777

Posted by: Scott | February 7, 2008 1:49 PM

This is interesting. Wizards' bench averages the 4th least minutes per game in the league.

http://www.82games.com/benchstats.htm

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 2:15 PM

Now that Memphis is cleaning house, gave away Gasol to Lakers, and D. Stoudamire to Spurs, can we get JCN back? Memphis can get their draft pick back, since it is more and more likely it will be protected as Memphis is going to rebuild mode!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 2:41 PM

Heres a minor trade thats possible

Sogaila (3.942 million) and a 2nd for maglore (4.00mil)

any opinions?

Posted by: Mookie Watkins | February 7, 2008 4:23 PM

"You could and should criticize Blatche for playing great when he starts and not so great when he doesn't, but isn't maximizing your players' effectiveness the point?"

Yes, and pulling your 20/10 multiple all-star out of the starting lineup and putting him on the bench is not maximizing his effectiveness.

Blatche only starts when one of the other starters is out. He puts up better numbers because the rotation is shorter, the options are more limited, and thus he gets more run than normal. Starting or coming off the bench, Jamison is going to play 35+ minutes, which means that even if he starts, Blatche will essentially be playing backup minutes. He needs to adjust his mental approach to play with the same kind of focus in a backup role that he does as a starter.

Posted by: kalorama | February 7, 2008 4:28 PM


Are you sure you're not in the movie "A Man Who Knew Too Much".....LOL

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 4:56 PM

Duncan Donuts

Shaq is 4-2 in the finals. He lost to Detroit and the Rockets in 95. just fyi

Posted by: esolis | February 7, 2008 6:16 PM

I would never take Shaq over Duncan, ever!! Duncan has always stepped up in the playoffs and if it wasen't for certain screw ups by his teamates he would have rings in his other hand also. You haters could keep Shaq's smile and charisma, and I'll keep the championships with one teams. Man, I love seeing those shinny larry obrien trophies everytime I go to the AT&T Center and watch the Spurs play...

Posted by: tonyboy | February 7, 2008 6:19 PM

Like Mary said, you should reread the article if you think Tim doesn't have a sense of humor.

Reading comprehension really should be a requirement for advancing through the school system.

Posted by: skippy | February 7, 2008 6:21 PM

I'm 12. I wasn't alive in 1995. Thank you, sir. :)

Posted by: Duncan Donuts | February 7, 2008 6:25 PM

Another interesting angle to the Shaq trade:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23038062/

Posted by: kalorama | February 7, 2008 6:27 PM

Blatche does affect Jamison's signing negotiations later on this year.

Grunfeld is going to be less and less inclined to give Jamison big money with every great game Blatche plays as a starter.

Posted by: hmm | February 7, 2008 8:08 PM

Shaq made his mark in the league by his size alone. Tim Duncan's basketball IQ towers over Shaq's. There's no doubt about it though, these two men have dominated basketball in the post Jordan era. It's funny how the media and the league itself tries to sell us on who's going to be the next Michael Jordan yet fully overlook that the O'Neal, Duncan (big men) have dominated the league. I wish the NBA, TNT and ESPN would quit trying to tell us that Kobe, LeBron, Vince and Wade are the next Jordan.

Posted by: Eddie | February 7, 2008 9:15 PM

Yeah, you're right. This league is dominated by big men, medium sized men, and little men.

Posted by: JSchon | February 7, 2008 9:43 PM

No one should be terribly surprised by what is happening to the Wizards right now. They had been overachieving (delightfully so) in Gilbert's absence, but now with the wear and tear catching up with Butler and Daniels in particular, they have pretty much hit the wall.

The bench is what it is... but it's interesting that in all this discussion of making Jamison the sixth man so that Blatche can start (and clearly he is one of those players who has more focus when he is a starter) no one has suggested that perhaps our starting frontline should be Butler, Jamison and Blatche. This is, after all, the Eastern Conference and with that front line plue Stevenson and Arenas, the Wizards might actuallt be able to play the nore like the pre-Shaq Suns.

As far as a Mike Miller or Wally Sczerbiak acquistion goes, it would be wonderful if Mr Pollin summoned EG into his office this afternoon and said "Oh, what the hey, I really do want to win the big one again before I hit 90, here are the keys to the vault." And I actually suspect that if he were convinced that this team could do it, he would.

So much depends on whether he (and the rest of us) honestly believes that Gilbert can really bring it as a team player in March ...

I do not think we are going to roll over and die by any means, there is too much character on this team for that to happen. It's just a question of how far we can go and who will take us there.

Posted by: khrabb | February 8, 2008 8:53 AM

One of AB's strenght is his versatility. He can play Center, PF or SF depending on what is needed. I believe that one of EJ's biggest mistake as a coach is not playing on the team's strenght. Imagine BH, AJ, AB, CB and AD playing at the same time. The opposing team will have their hands full in playing AB at the SF position. He keeps on adjusting to the other team's rotation and that have been Wizards waterloo. AJ as a sixth man will be very tough for the opposing team.

Posted by: Dave, | February 8, 2008 9:19 AM


As a fan, this is the most frstruating part about the Wizards. Every year the team makes a surge in the December and January months and when Febuary comes around players start to get injuried and it causes the Wizards to have setbacks come playoff team, the Wizards are trying to make the surge thay had earlier in the season but unfornately fall short playing against a hotter team.

Basically what I'm trying to say is, while most team take their games to the next level around Feb up until the finals the Wizards can't because of the injuries to key players, Gil, Caron and Jamison. It happened last year and the year before. The only thing we can hope for is that the young players, Blatche, Young, Pech and McGuire and contribute major minutes when called upon to maintain a decent spot in the playoffs because the Wizards don't want to start the playoofs on the road again.

Posted by: Robert C. | February 8, 2008 9:33 AM

I don't think you could go wrong either way if you chose Duncan or Shaq. Without a doubt they have been the 2 best players since Jordan left the Bulls. That point is not up for debate. No other player since Jordan has come close to what Duncan and Shaq have achieved. Personally, I would take Duncan, but that is because I am a Spurs fan. It is also refreshing to see a player that is so good yet, remain humble and hungry. Duncan has been with one team his entire career, this will be Shaq's fourth. Duncan doesn't get out of shape, Shaq does. Duncan gets along with his teamates, Shaq hasn't always done that. If this were put to a vote, I am sure Shaq would win. People always complain about the state of the NBA. They say that the players make too much money and live extravegant lifestyles. People complain that these multi-millionaires have huge egoes and don't have any humility. All the while, there is Duncan in a small market town quietly having one of the most remarkable careers in NBA history, and he is doing it in an honorable way which makes Spurs fans proud.

Posted by: Trey | February 8, 2008 9:34 AM

The more I think about it the more I like it AJ to the bench gives EJ some options and makes the opposition adjust, it also gives the bench a lift,however will it take away from AJ getting his 'flow and shooting stroke going. Something to consider fellow bloggers Josh Smith(Hawks) will be available next year and he is a great shot blocker,rebounder, and his offense is getting better every game. We can't keep AJ and go after him who would you rather have?

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | February 8, 2008 10:01 AM

The more I think about it the more I like it AJ to the bench gives EJ some options and makes the opposition adjust, it also gives the bench a lift,however will it take away from AJ getting his 'flow and shooting stroke going. Something to consider fellow bloggers Josh Smith(Hawks) will be available next year and he is a great shot blocker,rebounder, and his offense is getting better every game. We can't keep AJ and go after him who would you rather have?

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | February 8, 2008 10:01 AM

As far as a Mike Miller or Wally Sczerbiak acquistion goes, it would be wonderful if Mr Pollin summoned EG into his office this afternoon and said "Oh, what the hey, I really do want to win the big one again before I hit 90, here are the keys to the vault." And I actually suspect that if he were convinced that this team could do it, he would.

Posted by: khrabb | February 8, 2008 08:53 AM

______________________________________

Of course, you are assuming that the Wizards might have something to offer Memphis and/or Seattle.

It's easy to 'play' GM when you don't have to worry about the Collective Bargaining Agreement rules.

To get Miller from Memphis, or Szczerbiak from Seattle - the Wizards would have to trade something that the other team wants - AND the salaries have to match.

Last time I checked, Miller was making around $8.4 Million and Sczerbiak $12 Million.... OF COURSE their teams want to get rid of them!!!

Memphis is looking to dump salaries, so they want expiring contracts. The only expiring contract we have is Jamison.

Would it be nice to have Miller or Szczerbiak ? Absolutely..!! It would be nice to have Lebron James AND Steve Nash AND Dwight Howard AND Tim Duncan too.....

The only assets the Wizards have are some young rookies(untested and raw but talented - Blatche, Young, Pech, and McGuire) and Jamison's expiring contract. But remember, the wiz need to keep Jamison's expiring contract to resign Arenas.

Before you start telling everyone that Polin should open up his wallet to "get this guy", or "get that guy"..... first go to:
http://games.espn.go.com/nba/features/trademachine

Try out the trade before you post "we should get this guy" scenarios here.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 10:57 AM

LOL

Posted by: Rook | February 8, 2008 11:02 AM

So my question to you Rook (and whoever wants to share their input) is, how much is AJ worth to re-sign? Remember he's having an all-star year. Do you think he'll accept an offer which is a half of what he's making, around 8-9 mil?

Posted by: Fortune Teller | February 8, 2008 11:36 AM

$8-$10 mill is likely the salary slot he'll fall into. No one (including the Wizards) is going to pay him anywhere close to the $16 mill or so he's making now.

Posted by: kalorama | February 8, 2008 11:50 AM

Can't we just get Gil and Antawn around the table and say: "Here's the money we have. We want to keep both of you, divide it up as you see fit."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 12:04 PM

"Why they kept Mason is beyong me....He must be dating somebodies daughter?"

I have been saying for 2 years now roger mason is lucky to be in the league. He is terrible. Not only do we keep him around but we give him all kinds of minutes and let him shoot whenever like he's kobe or something. I think its so funny how Ivan and all of you early in the year were saying i wish I was mason jr's agent he will be getting the full MLE next year. On a good team like the spurs mason gets minimum money and plays behind jaque vaughn. Roger mason jr is a complete bum with a good game mixed in every about 20. Quit wasting time on this bum....let nick young develop instead of giving minutes to a player who wont even be in the league in a couple years. Eddie Jordan's rotation is the worst I have ever seen...He's a good guy but he needs to go.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 12:44 PM

Jamison will get money like gilbert is getting now around 12 million especially after the huge year he is having. No way will he take 8 or 9 million. Darko is making 10 mil a year so no chance jamison will take anything less than 11 and even that is low.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 12:46 PM

I think amount of average $$/year AJ takes depends on the length of the contract. I think he takes $8 million a year if it is a 3 or 4-year deal. I think if it is a 1 or 2-year deal then AJ might want $10 or $12 million a year.

Posted by: George Templeton | February 8, 2008 12:57 PM

there is no way jamison is getting less than darko!! Darko is getting 10 a year for 3 years so its a lock he is getting at least 11. My guess he gets a 3-4 year deal around 12 a year

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 1:14 PM

Darko Milicic isn't making $10 mil/year. That's crazy. He signed a 3-year, $21 mill deal with the Grizzlies, an average of $7 mil/yr.

Posted by: kalorama | February 8, 2008 1:57 PM

So my question to you Rook (and whoever wants to share their input) is, how much is AJ worth to re-sign? Remember he's having an all-star year. Do you think he'll accept an offer which is a half of what he's making, around 8-9 mil?

Posted by: Fortune Teller | February 8, 2008 11:36 AM



I agree with the previous poster. I think that AJ and Arenas will just swap salary slots. AJ to get $11-12 Mil per year, and Arenas to get the $16 Mil. AND Yes, I think that Jamison will re-sign with the Wizards for $11-$12 Mil, even if someone else offers more (which I doubt).

The real question is: How do the Wizards get someone to replace Mason when he leaves (and he WILL leave) - AND, how do they sign Veremeenko and their 2008 draft picks unless they go over the Luxury Tax.

With the Wizards situation at Forward (with Blatche, Jamison, Butler, McGuire, Pecherov, Songaila), along with several other assets (the Memphis 1st round pick, etc...), I wouldn't be surprised to see Ernie Grunfeld package some picks, Etan Thomas and one of our young Forwards to someone for an established point guard, or a veteran scorer for the bench and free up some salary space.

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