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Wizards (11-42) vs. T-Wolves (17-34)

Wizards starters: Mike James, Caron Butler, Darius Songaila, Antawn Jamison, Dominic McGuire

T-Wolves: Sebastian Telfair, Randy Foye, Kevin Love, Ryan Gomes, Mike Miller.

Refs: Kevin Fehr, Scott Foster, Sean Wright.

Line: Wizards by 2 1/2.

-Andray Blatche, who missed the last nine games with a left knee strain, will be in uniform tonight and could see limited action, according to interim coach Ed Tapscott.

-To again clarify: contrary to what was reported elsewhere Gilbert Arenas DID NOT practice yesterday. He did do some non-contract shooting work which he's done before. The confusion probably stemmed from the fact that Caron Butler was quoted as saying that it was good to see Gilbert out there "practicing." What Butler meant was that he was out there on the court.

However, as I reported a couple of weeks ago, GIlbert is making steady progress after meeting with a knee specialist in Miami. That, and the fact that he's been bouncing around the locker room in good spirits, are signs to me that he's going to play at some point this season.

Tapscott on what Arenas has been doing during practice: "Mainly shooting around, what we call breakdown shooting where it's not just shooting but there is some movement as well. Just ramping up slowly as part of the rehab process, seeing what type of stress the knee can really take."

-Nothing new on the trade front. Refer to my previous post. I've been reading through some of the comments and just wanted to emphasize this to those of you saying that Grunfeld should throw Etan Thomas into deals: he is as close to impossible to trade as there is in the league.

First, Thomas is on the books for $7.35 million next season and has a bitter trade kicker (that was put in the contract by the Bucks before Ernie matched it). Second, he just missed an entire season following open heart surgery and is about to miss most of this one with a knee injury. That contract will become valuable next season. Ditto for Mike James, who has a player option $6.46 million (you better believe he's picking that baby up).

-One more thing to keep in mind: yes, this team as presently constructed is facing a tough luxury tax situation next season but remember, Ernie could make the lottery pick and wait to sign the guy a couple of months while he clears space with other deals. Also, remember that the tax isn't assessed until after the season. Just some things to keep in mind as you discuss trades, the cap and tax and the lottery situation.

By Ivan Carter  |  February 17, 2009; 5:20 PM ET
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Next: Wizards 111, Wolves 103


The best trade out there is Caron to Portland in exchange for Raef Lafrentz's expiring contract, Jerrod Bayless, Travis Outlaw, and Nicholas Batum. We would also send Songaila & O-Pech. This trade will get us under the luxury tax level for next season and receive 3 solid young players in exchange for Caron. The deal works for both teams.

Posted by: twigmuffin | February 17, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

The best move is to do nothing. Wait and see what pick we get and then try to package it if it's not top 2 like Ivan says. ET and MJ's contracts are bait.

If Griffin or Harden are available, pick them. We don't need another C. Thabeet is an unskilled Jm with size.
If I were picking today and JM and Thabeet were both in the draft, I'd take JM first. IMO, it's easier to add weight than to add skill.

Posted by: original_mark | February 17, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

It's Griffin or nothing for the Wiz, trade the pick otherwise.

Then Jamison becomes very tradable.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | February 17, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"The deal works for both teams."

The Blazers would be insane to give up that much for Caron.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Kal (continuing from the last post), the Wiz are only about 100k or so under the luxury tax this season. Without signing another player the Wiz are projected to be WAY over the luxury tax next season, what with the current economy leading to a probable drop in the salary cap and luxury tax (check out aol fanhouse on teams in trouble if the luxury tax line drops, Wiz are in the top 5). And that's with Dixon and Brown's deals coming off the books but before having to sign a top 5 pick (and the between $2.6 and $4.5 million it would cost to sign him). Bottom line is the Wiz wouldn't be discussing moving the pick if money wasn't an issue. Kal your flat wrong on this issue (but unlke other people on this board I'm not saying your a bad person for it, just misinformed).

Posted by: detox04 | February 17, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

If Caron goes to the Blazers that makes them NBA finals contenders. From their point of view they would have Brandon Roy, Caron, LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden, even the Lakers would be afraid of that team. Right now they have a bunch of young guys, but need a star to pair with Brandon Roy to put them over the top.

Posted by: twigmuffin | February 17, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

"If Caron goes to the Blazers that makes them NBA finals contenders. "

Says who? Did I miss the part of Butler's career where his arrival turns teams into contenders? Butler's a very good player, a legit all-star. But he's not a franchise changer. He's certainly not a guy a GM gives up three good young, productive prospects, a big expiring contract, and takes back two bad contracts to get. Not a chance.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

"Bottom line is the Wiz wouldn't be discussing moving the pick if money wasn't an issue. "

First, there are many reasons to discuss moving the pick, including the belief that there's no one in the draft they think is worthy of a number one selection (a not unreasonable belief in this draft). Second, based on everything that's been written, all of the "discussion" so far has come in the form of other teams contacting the Wiz about Jamison and Butler. There's no indication that Grunfeld has been actively shopping either player or the pick.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

But, even supposing you are right about the tax, it still doesn't change my underlying point. Trading Jamison for nothing but cap space provides minuscule short term benefit (one season relief from the tax) but fails to provide long-term returns that couldn't be accomplished by keeping Jamison and leveraging the expiring contracts next season. At worst, they'd have to pay a relatively small amount of tax for 1 season before being able to use the expiring contracts to leverage deals that would allow them to add to the core with Jamison and get under the tax.

Trading Jamison only makes any kind of bball sense if (A) they get a significant tangible basketball asset in return or (B) they're blowing the whole thing up.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

This has nothing to do with the trade rumors or whatever, just that your statement that the Wizards would not have to do anything to have the money to sign their #1 pick this year other than let Brown and Dixon's deals come off the books is untrue. That's it, I was just letting you know their contracts aren't worth a whole lot (both are the minimums for players that have played the amount of years they have respectfully played).

Posted by: detox04 | February 17, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, SportWiz. What I find ironic/hypocritical is that the some of the same people who have been hammering Pollin for supposedly being cheap are now on the bandwagon for a deal whose primary benefit is to save Pollin money.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2009 5:55 PM

Take the time to read my post before commenting. It is the way Abe runs this team that makes him Cheap and I want him to make the trade because this team needs to go in a different direction if they are ever going to win a championship.

Trading Jamison for nothing but cap space provides minuscule short term benefit (one season relief from the tax)

How about it gives them 3 years of tax refief since that's how long AJ's contract is for?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 17, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Derrcik Rose signed a 4,882,800 deal with Chicago last year and the Wizards will save 998,398 by not resigning Juan. The Wizards can exceed the luxury cap to sign their draft pick but we all know Abe will not let them go over the cap.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 17, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

"It's Griffin or nothing for the Wiz, trade the pick otherwise.

Then Jamison becomes very tradable."
- Ray

EXACTLY! I would damn near give Jamison away if we got Griffin. Butler, Griffin, Haywood is a legit NBA front line and could be together for another 4/5 years.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 17, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Crittenton seems to be improving by the game. If James wasn't so clutch tonight, it would be a no-brainer to give Crit the reigns for the rest of the season (although I think they should still do it).

Next mission for Crit -- embrace the contact when you attack the rim. Draw some fouls. Give yourself a chance at the and-1. He's very good at getting to the rim, but once he goes up it seems as if he's trying to avoid contact (in the process of attempting to avoid a block). He needs to embrace it, even force the contact every once in a while.

I'm beginning to think he has the second highest ceiling amongst the youngsters, after McGee.

Posted by: psps23 | February 17, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Take the time to read my post"

Why would anyone waste time doing that? Life is too short.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

psps23, I actually think Crittenton has a higher ceiling than McGee, simply because his understanding of the game is so much more advanced.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Ivan how come no mentions of trading Darius Songaila? He would have more value than Etan or James. He makes too much compared to his production, but is he a PJ Brown-type who can help a contender. Blatche is now back, that position is already deep here & HOPEFULLY we get the Blake Griffin pick. Why not Darius now then James or Thomas in the offseason?

Posted by: djnumb | February 17, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

"How about it gives them 3 years of tax refief since that's how long AJ's contract is for?"

How about you're wrong, again? They could have up to $21 mill in salary come off the cap after the end of next season, which what put them well under the tax even with Jamison. Furthermore, they could keep Jamison, trade some of the expiring contracts for players, and still be under the tax after next season.

So, again, trading Jamison this season for nothing really only serves to keep them under the tax next season because after that they have plenty of options to get under it without moving Jamison.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 17, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

kal, for me McGee's combination of size and athleticism put him on a level that few players can measure up against in terms of a ceiling. He is, however, very, very far from reaching that potential. For that reason, I do think Crit has a better shot at becoming the "better player" between the two.

I see Crittenton becoming a Rajon Rondo type of PG. In the right situation, I think he could be a great player.

Posted by: psps23 | February 17, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

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