It's a quiet time in Wizard land but players have been rolling into the Verizon Center for workouts and before long, training camp and preseason will arrive. I hear that Gilbert Arenas is doing well as he gets his surgically repaired knee and body in shape for the upcoming season. He resumed heavy on-court workouts August 1 with the goal of being at full speed when camp opens.
-The regular season schedule is out and we should have a training camp and preseason schedule officially finalized as soon as this week.
-One huge key for me will be how this team handles the extensive travel it will see during October. Traditionally, the team plays only one or two home games (the WIz played a game in Fairfax last preseason as well as one at the VC) and travels the remainder of the preseason. As you already know, the Wiz will make a trip to Europe for games against the Hornets in Berlin and Barcelona (I'm really looking forward to the trip) and that wil obviously serve as an extra batch of wear and tear.
-The good news as far as the regular season schedule is concerned is that the Wiz open at home (Oct. 29 against New Jersey) and play eight of the first 13 contests at the Verizon Center. The other thing I looked at was back-to-backs. The team plays three sets in the season's first month and you can bet that we'll all be closely watching how Arenas and to a lesser extent, Caron Butler, are handled. Needless to say, it will be crucial for those two to remain relatively healthy all season along with Antawn Jamison.
-As you can tell, it's been quiet on the free agent front. That doesn't mean Ernie Grunfeld hasn't been working the phones, but the team's roster, salary cap and luxury tax situation has contributed to him not being more aggressive in adding another player. Right now, the team has 14 players under contract (Dee Brown carries a partial guarantee) and I wouldn't be surprised to if Ernie stayed at that number so he has some roster and salary flexibility early in the season.
-I briefly caught up with DeShawn Stevenson last week at the VC before he got a workout in. He's still rocking the scraggly beard but is sporting an old-school fade haircut with a part in the middle. Really late 80's. DeShawn seldom fails to come up with something.
-Expect more detailed preseason info and a solid Arenas update soon. It's funny but it's still only mid August yet it feels as if the season is right around the corner.
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