The Ernie and Eddie Show
The Wizards just completed a press conference involving president Ernie Grunfeld and Eddie Jordan. I'll be writing in depth about it for tomorrow's paper and will flesh out some quotes later on after I transcribe everything but I thought I'd hop on and post a few noteworthy items.
-Jordan on the possibility of Grunfeld making a roster move in the next few days: "I am comfortable (with the current roster) and he's (Grunfeld) got some things hidden in his back pocket that will help us in a few more days. He's always looking at some names and some players who can help us. We've brought some names up - I don't want to reveal them now - but some promising names in our meetings. We think we can maybe get some more people in training camp. However, we're very confident in Antonio (Daniels) and DeShawn (Stevenson) and Dee Brown who played in summer league. We've always wanted a guard like Dee to change the pace, to quicken the pace, to pick up defensively. He's got some experience under him and he's relatively young. He's a tough, hard-nosed kid from Chicago and we're very exciited about him being on our roster."
-That player could be Juan Dixon. Ernie: "Like we said before, Juan is one of the guys we are considering. We're talking to Juan and yeah, there's always a chance. If we have something to report in the next couple of days or sooner, we will. But yes, Juan had some good years with us. He's a proven NBA player and a tough, hard-nosed competitor....We like his game and we think he can bring something to the table."
Eddie on the chance of adding Juan: "It's very possible. He's a guy I'm comfortable with and he could help us certainly."
-Here's the deal: The Wizards want Juan Dixon but they don't want to go over the luxury tax. He made $2.55 million last season and obviously hasn't had teams lining up to give him anywhere near that so far but he clearly will want to make as much as possible. The key will be whether the Wizards can talk Juan into taking a cap friendly deal. Roger Mason Jr. did just that last summer, had a big season and earned himself a tidy $7.3 million deal from the Spurs this summer. Stay tuned.
-Both Eddie and Ernie said that center Etan Thomas is fully healthy and will be good to go 100 percent when camp opens in Richmond on Saturday. Thomas missed all of last season following open-heart surgery.
-Darius Songaila, who was a late scratch for Lithuania prior to the Olympics do to back soreness, is healthy and good to go for camp as well according to Eddie and Ernie.
-Oleksiy Pecherov was finally cleared to participate in five-on-five scrimmaging yesterday and that ankle is healthy for the start of camp. Eddie made a point of saying that he likes Pesh and hopes to see him compete for a spot in the rotation.
-Gilbert Arenas will be in Richmond, according to Ernie and Eddie and will be around the team on a regular basis. Jordan said he has spoken with Arenas since the latest procedure and said he is in good spirits.
-I asked Eddie whether he went through the summer expecting to have a fully healthy Arenas for the opening of the season. His answer: "I didn't think we were going to have him 100 percent, I knew we weren't going to have him 100 percent for training camp and I didn't want to go further than that. We knew he needed more rehab, more strenghtening and more work during training camp. Our thinking and our preperation was for training camp and preparing this team to lay the foundation again for the season."
-Eddie on Nick Young: "He's an exciting scorer. We want him to be a better player. Defensively, that's understanding time and score. Work ethic: being a pro in the lockeroom, maturing. All of that is going to take place but yes, we're very excited about his opportunity and we do have other guys."
-Eddie on Ernie picking up his option for the 2009-2010 season yesterday: "It was a total shock to me. Ernie said: 'come to my office and let's talk about camp personnel, let's talk about this and talk about this and then he said: "in fact, we're going to pick up your option."....So, I'm very grateful to Ernie and to Mr. Pollin and my assistant and my players who have made a tremendous contribution to this happening."
By "total shock" Eddie meant that he was so focused on the start of camp, he hadn't considered his contract. "I was thinking about what I have to do for camp. I'm in training camp mode.....That was totally out of my relm of thinking, the option."
-Eddie and the coaches had the "retreat" at a Washington hotel last week. It's something they do every year. They lock themselves up, go over tape and personnel, formalize practice and preseason plans and talk strategy.
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