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The Missing Holiday, Rubio Slipping?

It's understandable why Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet and Ricky Rubio haven't visited Washington for a pre-draft workout, since they are considered the three best prospects in the draft. But I'm sure some of you may have noticed that there another is potential top 10 pick in Thursday's draft whose name has not been mentioned much in these parts -- UCLA combo guard Jrue Holiday.

Holiday has been slated to possibly go as high as No. 4 to Sacramento. ESPN's Chad Ford and Draftexpress.com have Holiday rated as third- and the fifth-best point guard prospect in the draft, respectively, after averaging 8.5 points and 3.7 assists last year at UCLA.


The Fourth of July will remain the biggest Holiday in D.C. (AP Photo)

The Timberwolves, Knicks, Raptors, Bucks and Pacers are also considering him, yet Holiday somehow hasn't worked out for the Wizards. Strange, right?

It's not that the Wizards have no interest.

Here's an explanation: According to a league source, the Wizards attempted to set up something with Holiday but Holiday's agent did not want him to work out for the team.

Holiday's agent? Dan Fegan.

Yep, the same Fegan who doesn't want Rubio in the same time zone as the Wizards. The source didn't say why Holiday wouldn't come, but if you recall, Fegan was concerned about Rubio sharing the floor with his former client, Gilbert Arenas.

Opinions about Holiday are mixed, but most view him as tweener, since senior Darren Collison dominated the ball and handled most of the point guard duties at UCLA. Some scouts and executives that I've spoken with believe that Holiday's numbers are low because was buried his freshman year with the Bruins with the hope that he would have to come back and improve his stock. He is considered a player who could be the Russell Westbrook of this draft.

There is an interesting side note to all of this. What happens if Rubio slips?

Rubio has met with Sacramento, which holds the No. 4 pick, and Oklahoma City, which holds the No. 3 pick and interviewed him Los Angeles over the weekend. Fegan has reportedly already made it known that he doesn't want Rubio in Memphis, where fellow Spaniards Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro had some less than ideal experiences with the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies met with Rubio in Spain.

Memphis has been going back and forth with what it wants to do with the No. 2 pick and is in the most pivotal position in this draft. ESPN's Ric Bucher is reporting on his Twitter page that there is dissention in Memphis, where General Manager Chris Wallace wants Rubio, Coach Lionel Hollins wants Stephen Curry and the scouting department wants Hasheem Thabeet: "that's your memphis grizzlies," Bucher tweets.

Oklahoma City is interesting, but mostly because General Manager Sam Presti is quite shrewd and opportunistic. Realizing the value in Rubio -- the Knicks and Timberwolves are among the handful of teams that would love to have him -- Presti might be willing to move him to get more assets for the team he is building. He could also skip Rubio and go with James Harden to solidify the Thunder's needs at shooting guard. Of course, he could also simply take Rubio and pair him in the backcourt with Westbrook.

Fegan has been directing Rubio toward Sacramento, where the Kings desperately need a point guard. But Rubio fell ill during his visit last week and was unable to work out for the team. The Sacramento Bee is reporting that Rubio's reported $6.6 million buyout is close to being resolved, which would make it much easier for him to come over and play in the upcoming season. But the Kings have yet to fully commit to Rubio.

I doubt if four teams pass over Rubio, but he does . And, with Fegan's apprehension about having Rubio in Washington, what happens if he falls to the Wizards?

These next few days should be fun.

The Wizards on Monday will have another workout, highlighted by Boston College guard Tyrese Rice (from Chesterfield, Va.) and Florida sophomore guard Nick Calathes, who has already signed a professional contract with a team in Greece. Ryan Ayers, son of former Wizards assistant Randy Ayers, will also work out for the team.

By Michael Lee  |  June 21, 2009; 9:25 PM ET
 
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Next: Curry Wins!

Comments

All I can say is F Dan Fegan, he's still smarting from not getting a penny of Gilbert's Max-deal.

Posted by: closg | June 21, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Michael, I'm following all of your stories & posts very carfeully. If you been checking , you can tell I'm drinking the Tyreke Evans Kool Aid. In your most experienced and educated guesses, Why would the Zards pass him @ #5 if he is there. This kid can do the things this team needs to be a very, very good deep playoff run with the players already on board. I truly believe this coaching staff will get this group to maximize their potential , which high. EG keeps singing the song about this core group, then leave it alone & if this pick and the team we know now does not give us what I believe or more importantly what the teams brass wants, then the trading deadkine with expiring contracts with a piece for a needing team to push them over the hump(make deal then). Sorry for the short story I only wish we could get into what the thinking is with EG & Co. Tell me where TE is a non factor fot this team. All this Hill, Curry, Thabeet if he's there,bigs this and bigs that. Evans will in a short time be the perimeter ,ballhandle,3pt shooter, drive to score or assist ala Kobe, DWade, & 6' 6" players that top tier teams have and is very successful.

Posted by: bossclifnpooh2 | June 21, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

If Rubio is there at #5 our phone(s) will be ringing. Get the teams that want Rubio into a bidding competition and take the best trade possible.

Posted by: jeremybozz | June 21, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 21, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

i recommend having Michael Jordan evaluate the guys on ernie's list, top to bottom , then you flip it upside down and you're guaranteed a winner :-)
Winner Winner!

Posted by: creativefunk | June 21, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

My feeling is that Rubio isn't even among the top three point guards in this draft. The media discussion of Rubio is like an echo chamber. I wonder how far GMs are willing to break from popular opinion when deciding whom to draft?

Anyway, I think a better question than "Will he fall to #5?" would be, "Should the Wizards spend the #5 pick on him if he falls?" I'm not convinced they should.

Posted by: satchmore | June 21, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

don't think the Rubio issues will arise for the Wizards at 5. But I would if I;m the Wizards put the word out that Holiday is our guy at 5 to suck teams into trading real assets for him if he's hot on different teams list. He's not that good to me so we're not missing out and I have cooled considerably on Hill in recent days.

Evans and Flynn I think are the next best prospects who I think wil play 10 years in the league.

Posted by: jrwalkerivory | June 22, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Correction to my earlier post: I meant to say that I don't consider Rubio to be among the top three guards in this year's draft. Top three point guards, probably.

Posted by: satchmore | June 22, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

i've been a big proponent of a swap of Butler and Johnson, So I'm going to address a lot of points. They both have about the same scoring output ability. Butler is a better rebounder, and Johnson is a better assist man. Johnson is clearly the better 'outside' shooter and better ball-handler. They are both about the same height, so there isn't much lost there. Johnson is only a year younger, so not much difference there, though he has less of an injury history. Where Johnson really takes his game above Butler's is his defense. While he may not be the best SG defender in the league, he is one of the best. Butler is just no where near the defender Johnson is.

"Also, why would the Hawks trade Joe Johnson? They probably wouldnt make the playoffs without him..."

They wouldn't.

If that deal is on the table, Grunfeld would be nuts not to pull the trigger. Conversely, the Hawks would be fools to even consider it." - kalo_rama

The Hawks would take a step back, no doubt, but there is the very large question for them of whether they think they're going to be able to resign Johnson after next season. There are some factors working against them. First, they are already trying to shed salaries to resign people this summer, so they clearly aren't looking to overspend. Secondly, next free-agent season has numerous teams with room for 2 top flight salaries, but Atlanta is not one of them. And lastly, though more arguable, is that Atlanta is still a young team, with Johnson one of the oldest main contributers. If he thinks their window is after his, or that they are plateauing, he may choose not to resign with them.

Posted by: segastyle | June 22, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

"I said a couple years ago that the Wiz needed someone like Miller coming off the bench to bolster their playoff chances. They still do, but between age and declining production, I'm not sure the actual Mike Miller is what they need at this point. On the flip side, he's only got 1 year on his deal, so it wouldn't affect their cap status. I don't think the reward would be that high, but the risk would be pretty much nonexistent." - kalo_rama

I've felt and do feel the same way. He's certainly not worth the 5th pick alone. Washington Times is mentioning more players than just him. Foye, some expiring contracts, 18th and/or 28th picks.


"Some of the pieces Minnesota is believed to be offering up are swingman Mike Miller, who has a $9.75 million expiring contract, guard Randy Foye, the expiring contracts of Brian Cardinal ($6.75 million) and Mark Madsen ($3.6 million) and possibly the 18th and/or 28th picks." - http://washingtontimes.com/weblogs/outlet/2009/jun/20/twolves-eying-5th-pick/

Not sure what the combination is that they have offered up, but Foye, Miller, and the 18th for our 5th and expiring contracts would make me seriously think if I were EG. Miller could be used in a later trade and still produce some until then, and Foye is already a very solid guard who can shoot and defend.

Posted by: segastyle | June 22, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if Foye is a good fit for the Wizards. I believe he's more productive at the 2 which given his size is a problem. If the Wizards trade the pick they should get a guy that has a shot of being their starting SG, or they need to be able to drop enough salary to get that guy as a free agent.

It's an interesting move by Minnesota though. If they can get the #2 pick with the #5 and #6, I wonder if OKC can get Griffin with the #3 and #5.

Posted by: djnnnou | June 22, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

who cares where rubio is? he'd be a terrible fit with this team. writers and draft sites put a lot of subterfuge about talent out there so bloggers like us can debate the pros and cons. i say again, if rubio shoots just 29% (which includes his layup attempts), what good would he do here? teams will play him for the drive and make him hit take shots. who could he defend??? chris paul would run circles around him. all the other pg's would post him up. what kind of leadership skills will a 17-yr-old bring? probably less than zero. let somebody else be suckered into picking him. i like evans' versatility, height and build over curry's. i have to think that mcgee and blatche will develop after we hire a big man coach. for those who say we already have an evans in nick young... i say young still plays the game like a kid in high school on a team full of would-be gunners. his team basketball iq is low.

Posted by: dcjazzman | June 22, 2009 2:35 AM | Report abuse

I think Memphis is high on Tyreke Evans who played college ball in the area. An O.J. Mayo / Tyreke Evans backcourt doesn't sound terrible.

If Oklahoma City passes on Thabeet which all indications point to, Sactown won't take him, meaning Thabeet will fall to us at #4. So basically if Memphis passes on Thabeet, he's probably going to fall to us.

Posted by: twigmuffin | June 22, 2009 2:36 AM | Report abuse

None of the guys that will be available at 5 will be ready to help the Wizards win right now. Yes there are players who have an upside, but, the only problem is when they finally reach their potential our core players will be on their downside?

I would prefer Ernie either trade for a vet who can help this team now or trade down and select a guy who can play right away like a Gerald Henderson or Tyler Hansbrough.

This team is built around Gil, CB and AJ so they do not need to draft another superstar who needs the ball in his hands. They need a player who understands the game and is willing to play his role on this team!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | June 22, 2009 4:50 AM | Report abuse

Do you really believe these guys will make a difference? If you notice from the playoffs small guards have a hard time.

If they don't have Allen Iverson skills why pick a small guard?

This draft is overblown there is only one pick in this draft Blake Griffin.
The rest are projects!

Posted by: shamken | June 22, 2009 7:14 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards can't and won't pass on Rubio if given the chance. According to draftexpress.com, there are hardly any teams as high on Rubio as the Wizards.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | June 22, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Dan Fegan is trying to be David Faulk. The problem is his clients are not that good. A few years ago it was Yi Jinlian that he tried to control who drafted him. The bucks stood firm and in the end, it turns out Yi is a bust. At least the Bucks got Jefferson for him. Holiday is far from a sure bet to get drafted early. He might be talented, but this draft has plenty of PG's that are talented. He should wake up and get a new agent. Washington isn't the only lottery team he has snubbed for a workout.

Posted by: al_kohaulic | June 22, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of his agent's blatant and self-serving antipathy towards the Wizards, the team might do well to draft Ricky Rubio if he drops to the 5th slot.

One can talk about the Wizards defensive foibles until doomsday, but the major problem with the team's defense (leaving three point shooters wide open) is at least in part remediable by better coaching and defensive schemes. The Wizards are a team that is built around the ability to score, and Ricky Rubio's greatest talent is a court vision that enables him to get the ball to scorers in ways that are both daring and highly effective. Gilbert Arenas (remember the two games he played in last year, 19 assists, one TO) is also a very effective passer, but unlike Rubio his primary talent and gift is for scoring.

Put these two men in the same backcourt and the Wizards shooting percentage could be astronomical as the easy scoring opportunities for Butler, Jamison, Young, Blatche and Haywood increase.

The, use the 32 pick or an expiring contract to pick up an aggressive big man off the bench, and watch the fun.

Posted by: khrabb | June 22, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

al - That is funny...

Fegan has no leverage in this situation and is just acting like an idiot. If he wants to be a successful agent in this league, he needs to worry more about maximizing his clients net worth and less about personal vendettas. He is doing an awful job with Rubio, who now may slip 4-5 slots. This is going to cost his client millions.

Posted by: BT23 | June 22, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Rubio is gonna be a bust. Why are we talking about him? The only way we should consider him is if the Knicks are stupid enough to give us their pick plus David Lee and take Etan/James off our hands. This way we would probably still be able to get quality (Curry, Evans, Hill, Henderson) at the 8th pick.

I'd take Lee and Curry for James/Etan and Rubio and call it a steal. If they have to throw in a bum (LH) to make the numbers work, that's fine.

Posted by: original_mark | June 22, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

i like the idea of the wizards get larry hughes and wilson chandler coming to washington for mike james and etan thomas

Posted by: BlackHibachi | June 22, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Just wait until Thursday Night. EG will be making the deal of the century without having the number one pick. EG will rise again.

Posted by: gman1030 | June 22, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

This Rubio kid is really overrated, no athletecism, no speed, no jump shot, no defense, and no strength. Built his reputation by making a few fancy passes. Barely played for the Spanish Olympic team. Tony parker he is not, parker is gifted with incredible speed and you can't get around speed at the point guard position in the NBA.

Posted by: impartial1 | June 22, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"First, they are already trying to shed salaries to resign people this summer, so they clearly aren't looking to overspend."

If that's true, then simple basic logic dictates that the main guy they're concerned about re-signing is Joe Johnson, their "franchise" player. If they don't re-sign him there's no point in re-signing anyone else. And, as I already said, Bibby's $18 mill contract expires this season, so if they're in a money crunch, showing him the door solves their money problem quite nicely.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 22, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

In other words, there's not a snowball's chance that the Hawks would trade Johnson for Butler. They'd hang up on that deal before Grunfeld finished the question.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 22, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Check that: Bibby's expiring deal is $15 mill coming off the books.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 22, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"And lastly, though more arguable, is that Atlanta is still a young team, with Johnson one of the oldest main contributers."

Again, it's not like he's on the cusp of retirement. He's 28 years old, barely 5 years older than the youngest guy in the regular rotation (Horford). That's a much smaller gap than between Kobe and Bynum or Garnett and Rondo. Those teams did okay without feeling the need to wheel the old men out to the curb.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 22, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Fegan does not appear to be acting in the best interest of his client. I hope Rubio drops to us and we draft him. Then we have all the leverage in the world since he would have committed 6 million to his own buy out.

Posted by: lavar609 | June 22, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Let's use the pick or draft of Rubio to pry David Lee out of NY (or Love out of Minn), send them Etan, James and Pech, and still pick high enough to get Eric Maynor, Ty Lawson, or Stephen Curry.

If Thabeet falls to us, maybe we should just keep the big guy; but we have to get a top notch point guard like Maynor since so far we've only been as good as Gil's knees and that ain't saying a lot.

Posted by: liveride | June 22, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

If Harden's gone, Tyreke Evans appears to be versatile and ready to contribute. He's gotta be the guy.

Posted by: original_mark | June 22, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Fegan does not appear to be acting in the best interest of his client. I hope Rubio drops to us and we draft him. Then we have all the leverage in the world since he would have committed 6 million to his own buy out.

Posted by: lavar609 | June 22, 2009 10:35 AM

wouldn't that mean the pick would be wasted and he could go back to spain? the buyout gets his rights from the spanish team, without the buyout being paid, he is commited to play in spain next year. it still seems like fegan is trippin, but the wiz wouldn't get the upper hand in drafting him, he's only paying the buyout if he goes where he wants to/fegan wants hime to.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 22, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Rubio & Thabeet's chances of being available to the Wizzies at 5 are about as good as me being taken at #6.

Ok, Memphis or Sac will make a trade with NY or some other team that has the hots for them. It would be fun to see what Ernie does if one of them does fall to us tho.

If the Wizzies get Harden, Hill, DeRozen, Curry or Evans It'll be ok with me Ernie.

But I don't think that we'll end up with the pick.

Posted by: VBFan | June 22, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The No. 5 pick for the Wiz is only as valuable as the player's available are being sought after by other teams. If NY wants Curry or Hill bad enough, they'll be willing to trade us David Lee and their pick & accept Etan's contract in return. I don't see the Wiz ultimatley keeping this pick and it's likely going to involve a veteran big man coming to us in return.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 22, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

09' Washington Wizards starting lineup:
PG: Arenas
SG: Butler
SF: Jamison
PF: Mcgee
C: Haywood

6th: Young
7th: HARDEN, OR HILL

blatche, mcguire

Posted by: crisco00786 | June 22, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"Correction to my earlier post: I meant to say that I don't consider Rubio to be among the top three guards in this year's draft. Top three point guards, probably.
Posted by: satchmore"

Either way it's difficult to understand your reasoning.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 22, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

We are NOT taking Rubio, believe that and Jamison will NOT be traded.

Posted by: ivyleague | June 22, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Holiday's an interesting case. It's always a bad sign when scouts start calling the 'next [insert name]'. He went to UCLA so naturally he's the next Russell Westbrook. The difference, however, is that Westbrook played two years as a Bruin and blossomed in his second. Holiday never got that chance. Will it affect his development in the NBA? Hard to tell, but it could.

The NBA's big weakness is in player development. Once you're in the regular season, your playing time will depend on your performance. If you excel, you'll get more of it. If you don't...


Posted by: Samson151 | June 22, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Just a dull morning so I did a little review of history. Looking at the top five picks in drafts from 1980 through 2007, seems to me (subjectively) that the player who turned out to be the best was selected first 15 times (5 times in the second slot, and 3 times in the 3rd -- Gasol was one of those last). Conversely, the player who turned out to be the worst of the top five went first 4 times, second 4 times, third 6 times, fourth 3 times, fifth 6 times... in other words, 'worst' was a lot better distributed than 'best'.

Not very scientific, but it does suggest that there's a moderately high margin of error once you get past that first pick.

Which we already knew, of course.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 22, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know if Foye is a good fit for the Wizards. I believe he's more productive at the 2 which given his size is a problem. If the Wizards trade the pick they should get a guy that has a shot of being their starting SG, or they need to be able to drop enough salary to get that guy as a free agent." - djnnnou

He's 6'4, so not tiny. Bigger than Curry, really, who everyone seems to want us to take.

Posted by: segastyle | June 22, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

""First, they are already trying to shed salaries to resign people this summer, so they clearly aren't looking to overspend."

If that's true, then simple basic logic dictates that the main guy they're concerned about re-signing is Joe Johnson, their "franchise" player....And, as I already said, Bibby's $18 mill contract expires this season, so if they're in a money crunch, showing him the door solves their money problem quite nicely." - kalo_rama

Actually, simple logic does not dictate that. They are currently trying to shed salaries in order to sign the free agents they have this summer, if you take the rumor of them shopping Smith as true. Yes, they probably want to shed salaries for Johnson next summer too, but if they aren't willing to spend to resign marvin williams, it makes you wonder what they are willing to do next summer.

"Again, it's not like he's on the cusp of retirement. He's 28 years old, barely 5 years older than the youngest guy in the regular rotation (Horford). That's a much smaller gap than between Kobe and Bynum or Garnett and Rondo. Those teams did okay without feeling the need to wheel the old men out to the curb."

You just mentioned two teams who are not 'working their way up' but are yearly championship contenders. Last I saw, the Hawks were no where close to being that. Lakers also have older players closer to Kobe's age who are main contributers. Lakers have Walton, Odom, Gasol, and Fisher. All of whom are turning 29 or older. Their core is not Bynum. Celtics have Allen and Pierce along with Garnett. Again, their core is all over 30.

Atlanta's 3 biggest guys for production after Johnson (if you don't include Bibby, since he's probably gone) are all 24 or under. I'm not saying it's a major concern, but it is something to think about. Now if Atlanta is trying to trade Josh Smith to bring in another major piece like Johnson, that's a different story. But the only info we have is that they wanted to shed him for salary and attitude, which makes you wonder why they resigned him in the first place instead of looking for a sign-and-trade deal last summer.

Posted by: segastyle | June 22, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, simple logic does not dictate that. They are currently trying to shed salaries in order to sign the free agents they have this summer, if you take the rumor of them shopping Smith as true."

They aren't shopping Smith to free up money to sign FAs this summer. First of all, unless they trade Smith without taking salary back in return (which is damned unlikely), trading Smith wouldn't free up any money this summer. Second, the only FAs they have worth even thinking about re-signing this summer are Bibby, Pachulia, and maybe Flip Murray. And, as I said before, letting Bibby go and losing his $15 mill salary would free up plenty of money to re-sign Pachulia and Murray. (There's no chance in the world that their combined salaries would meet or exceed $15 mill. Hell, with the money left over, they could probably re-sign Bibby to a smaller deal). None of which really matters, because the reason they're shopping Smith has little to nothing to do with money and most everything to do with Smith's well-deserved rep as a knucklehead and a head case and the fact that he and the coach have been butting heads for years with no resolution.

"I'm not saying it's a major concern, but it is something to think about."

No, it's really not. Unless you're projecting a 10 year window before the Hawks can move up in the playoff ranks. (And there's no reason to think that) then the 4 or 5 year age difference between Johnson and Smith/Williams/Horford is pretty much meaningless. In three years Johnson will be 31, the same age Kobe is now. The young guys around him will be vets and there will be new role players. It's called team building. Teams that do it successfully build around a great player. Once they get a great player, they don't just give him away with the hopes that they'll be able to go out and get another one.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 22, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

To further my point that if the Hawks are freeing up money it's to re-sign Johnson next year . . .

The only way they can save money by trading Smith would be to trade him for no immediate return (which is almost impossible) or to trade him for an expiring contract (which is much more doable). However, they can't trade him for a contract that expires this summer, that chance passed at the trade deadline. That means that the soonest they'd see any benefit on trading him for an expiring contract would be next summer. When Joe Johnson is a FA.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 22, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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