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Closing In On Oberto

Free agent big man Fabricio Oberto will decide early next week if he will join the Washington Wizards after the team recently made him a formal contract offer, Oberto's agent, Herb Rudoy, said on Thursday. Rudoy added that the 34-year-old Oberto is being courted by about four other teams but is strongly considering coming to Washington after spending the first four years of his NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs.

"He's very interested in going to the Wizards," Rudoy said. "They are a mature team, with a mature coach, and he's a big-time winner."

The 6-foot-10 Oberto started on the Spurs' 2007 championship team and would provide a veteran backup for center Brendan Haywood. The Wizards currently have young big men JaVale McGee, who is in Las Vegas for USA Basketball mini-camp, and Andray Blatche slated to back up Haywood.

Sacramento, Phoenix, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers are also believed to be interested in Oberto, who was released by Detroit earlier this month after being involved in a three-team trade that sent Richard Jefferson to the Spurs.

In addition to the hiring of Flip Saunders and the recent acquisition of Mike Miller and Randy Foye, the presence of former Spurs assistant Mike Wells on Saunders' staff may also help woo Oberto to Washington.

A team source said that the Wizards are optimistic that they can land Oberto. The same source added that the Wizards have offered Oberto the bi-annual exception, which is worth about $2 million. Detroit still owes Oberto the $1.9 million he was guaranteed to receive this season.

Oberto averaged 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds last season for the Spurs. He is home in his native Argentina. The Pistons used the cap savings from waiving Oberto to sign former Maryland forward Chris Wilcox -- another player with whom the Wizards had been in contact -- to a two-year, $6 million deal. Jamaal Magloire, another player the Wizards considered, re-signed with the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Another option, Joe Smith, recently met with the Atlanta Hawks.

By Michael Lee  |  July 23, 2009; 3:59 PM ET
 
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Comments

First

Posted by: silvermarvin | July 23, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

After watching all the big men we were targeting get signed one after the other, I'm really hoping we can land Oberto. I honestly feel that he was our best option out there from the beginning with our cap situation. DC send him some love on his twitter! http://twitter.com/obricio7

It'll have to be in Spanish tho~

Posted by: jumpset10 | July 23, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Oberto will give us some needed nastiness. I respect the guy, and we do need a back up for Haywood.

Posted by: MeviousMan | July 23, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

How do you say "I'd rather we sign Joe Smith" in Spanish?

Posted by: divi3 | July 23, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Neither here nor there, really. He's basically being signed for insurance. If he actually sees meaningful floor time in anything other than a blow out it means that at least one of Haywood, Blatche, or McGee are either hurt or severely underachieving. Either way the Wiz will be in deep trouble.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 23, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Assume the Lakers are not offering the full bi-annual...otherwise why would anyone chose the Wiz over Kobe. I hope he signs with the Wiz before training camp opens.

Posted by: oddjob1 | July 23, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

sorry kalo but I disagree. Oberto will be the first PF off the bench until Blatche gets his act (read: ego and consistency) together. McGee will be first C off the bench.

Regardless, we will need all the fouls we can get against the Cavs (Shaq and Big Z) and Orl (Howard + 100 other 6'10" guys)

Posted by: ThatGuy2 | July 23, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Assume the Lakers are not offering the full bi-annual...otherwise why would anyone chose the Wiz over Kobe."

Well, he hasn't actually chosen yet. But if he does, it would probably be because he thinks (hopefully incorrectly) that he has a better shot at actually getting to play in a rotation that includes Haywood, McGee and Blatche than he would in one with Gasol, Bynum, and Odom.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 23, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

At $2million, you would think EG is expecting more than 2/2 out of him.

AB beware??

Posted by: divi3 | July 23, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"sorry kalo but I disagree. Oberto will be the first PF off the bench until Blatche gets his act (read: ego and consistency) together."

That's not really disagreeing with me. In fact, it's basically a different way of saying the very same thing I did: that if Oberto gets quality minutes it'll be because one of the incumbent bigs isn't getting the job done.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 23, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the folks at Divino's www.divinolounge.com in Bethesda are pulling for him to sign! Great steak and S.American wine...

Posted by: oddjob1 | July 23, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

...or perhaps Oberto is used as the primary backup for BTH, and Flip uses McGee to push AB toward more consistentce positive play at the PF position. Having AB and McGee compete for the same spot and push each other from a conditioning, strength and fundamentals perspective would serve them both well, I would think. That way you also reduce the risk of having more than one knucklehead on the floor at any one time. Oops almost forgot NY, so make that potentially only 2 knuckleheads on the floor at any one time. Which would be a big change for the Wiz...

Posted by: oddjob1 | July 23, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Insurance, and extra fouls against certain teams in the east that have big centers that don't shoot well from the line.

The guy plays fundamentaly sound ball. Joe Smith is a very similar guy at this point of his career, I wouldn't object to signing them both, but I'm quessing the final spot goes to a project.

If a project doesn't pan out, he can be cut down the stretch and guys like Smith change teams at midseason all the time.
If another guy is signed it's going to be one that chalks up a lot of DNP coach's decision.
And there's still James's contract that could be dealt.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | July 23, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

sweet

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | July 23, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Given their position vis-a-vis the luxury tax, it's likely that Oberto will be filling their final spot.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 23, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

If he signs, I did call this one probably at least a month ago more like two.

He is a perfect fit for what we need and the right price. Experience, fouls, legit size, savvy, and strength.

And, I have to say I disagree as well Kal. First, they never intended to sign someone to play heavy mins. He is a guy that offers something Blatche and McGee can't do and that is play against power in the post i.e. Shaq, Howard, etc... If Haywood were to get into foul trouble say against Howard, Blatche and McGee could both be having career years, and it would be sad to watch Howard pulverize them. So, if he plays ten mins a night I don't think it signals doom for the season or that Blatche and McGee have failed necessarily. He is simply fulfilling his intended role. I think he's a perfectly logical addition to this team and one that will help tremendously particularly in the playoffs.

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 23, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse


The "no-more-than-one knucklehead" coaching strategy...well said, oddjob!

It still probably applies to NY. I think this is the year he get's it (thanks to Cassel) or he rides the bench.

Posted by: cballer | July 23, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Now, I will agree if he is playing decent minutes nightly just bc they are getting nothing out of Blatche or McGee that may signal we are not going to make a major splash in the playoffs bc we will need those two playing well for that to happen. I actually think Blatche will be much more consistent this season bc he has a really good coach now and that McGee will be improved, but much less consistent. That would not make me very prescient bc it seems fairly logical although Blatche does have a way of surprising both good and bad.

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 23, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I actually think Blatche will be much more consistent this season bc he has a really good coach now

--------------------------

If Blatche becomes consistent, he would deserve a lot of credit for taking it upon himself to improve.

Which is merely the corollary to saying that if he fails, he can't blame it on the coach. a player's success or failure depends on his determination to put in the work. Good coaches can only help those who want to be helped, not those who want things handed to them.

He's in charge of his own, well, destiny. Here's hoping he figures it out.

Posted by: crs-one | July 23, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

ThatGuy,

Oberto, if he signs, is not being brought here to be the first power forward off the bench. He is being brought here to be the backup center depending on the matchups.

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 23, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"And, I have to say I disagree as well Kal."

And, I have to say again, that's not really disagreeing with me. I never said he wouldn't play at all, ever. I said the only way he'd play significant time is if one of the other bigs is hurt or faltering. Playing about 10 mpg or only on the rare occasions when they're facing a team with a big hulking offensive isn't really that significant, in terms of volume of PT.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 23, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

crs-one,

I agree with you, but as you pointed out he does not have the EJ excuse anymore and everyone knows it. It's time to put up or shut up. This is probably his last season here if he doesn't and he will be well on his way to being an NBA journeyman with nothing close to a mega contract although I would take a couple million a year to travel around the NBA...lol.

Coaches, however, do have some impetus on the progress and development of players whether it is motivation skills, fear, respect, and/or teaching skills. Blatche did not respect EJ. He was not particularly motivated by him obviously nor was he being taught particularly well by EJ IMHO. EJ gave up on him so he just coasted as young people sometimes do.

I think we've all had bosses that we liked working for so you go the extra mile. And, we've all had bosses that you don't like particularly well, did not respect, and your work suffers somewhat as well. It's human nature.

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 23, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

If he actually sees meaningful floor time in anything other than a blow out it means that at least one of Haywood, Blatche, or McGee are either hurt or severely underachieving.
____

To parse, as you are wont to do, you state very clearly "meaningful floor time in anything other than a blowout". Well, I am saying that is not the case. If he plays in the scenerio I suggested, it means he is doing what he was brought here to do not that "Haywood, Blatche, or McGee are either hurt or severely underachieving." I suppose your reply will be to dissect what the meaning of "meaningful floor time" is. Those would be very "meaningful" mins for this team and would not indicate much of anything about Blatche and McGee. Obviously, if he is playing big time mins something is up, but nobody we have a chance of signing is intended to do such.

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 23, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Plus, I don't even know if he can play big time mins anymore consistently with the bad ticker news...lol. Although I sure hope that is not the case, we could use that extra big body insurance.

Ironically, BH might be the player we can least afford to lose for a significant time this season. The player EJ refused to name as his starter for a couple of seasons and almost ran out of town.

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 23, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Guys - look at the stats:

Oberto was playing an average of 15 min/game over his 4 years with the Spurs. He is a quality role player and quality backup, even on very good teams.

There will normally be about 30 total backup mins at 4/5 per game, plus addt'l mins from injuries, fouls etc. FO providing 10-15 min /game splitting the backup 4/5 role with AB and JM says nothing bad about them or the Wiz - it's the logical role for a quality backup who provides some bulk that AB and JM don't.

This is a very good pick-up filling exactly the role that was needed.

Posted by: Bill81 | July 23, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"To parse, as you are wont to do, you state very clearly "meaningful floor time in anything other than a blowout". "

But, unlike you, I'm actually good at parsing. And what I said obviously wasn't that clear to you since you continue to talk in way that demonstrates you didn't understand it (or, more likely, that you did understand it and have chosen to act like you didn't for some unfathomable reason).

Ten minutes a game is not, by any definition, meaningful or signficant in terms of minutes played. By way of example: Andray Blatche, Nick Young, and Javale McGee all averaged more mpg than that last season and half the people here spent every day cusring Eddies jordan and Tapscott for not playing them at all.

"If he plays in the scenerio I suggested, it means he is doing what he was brought here to do not that "Haywood, Blatche, or McGee are either hurt or severely underachieving.""

Which is utterly irrelevant to your attempted refutation because the scenario you described does not involve him playing meaningful or significant minutes in terms of measurable time played which is quite clearly what I was talking about.

"I suppose your reply will be to dissect what the meaning of "meaningful floor time" is. Those would be very "meaningful" mins for this team"

So I'm predictable. But then, so are you (so are most people, really), because I saw this one coming a mile away. Doesn't make it any less transparently wrong. You're defining meaningful in terms of quality and impact. That's cute and all, but it's completely and obviously bogus. When I said "meaningful" and "significant" time , I was quite clearly talking only about the amount of time played. Period. And, again, pretty obviously.

"Obviously, if he is playing big time mins something is up . . .

Which, again, was what I said in the first place. Which only, again, begs the question of why you're arguing with me over something we both have the same position on. (Seriously, people accuse me of arguing just for the sake of it? Jesus.)

Anyway, good to see you finally coming admitting to around to my way of thinking on this. Next time try not to take the long road. The direct route is much quicker.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 23, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

For future reference, there's a "meaningful" and "significant" difference between (A) parsing someone's words and (A) ignoring the clear implication of said words and making up your own meaning for them.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 23, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

My kingdom for an EDIT button:

Anyway, good to see you finally admitting to coming around to my way of thinking on this. Next time try not to take the long road. The direct route is much quicker.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 23, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Grande Fabri!! Me alegro que te quedes en la NBA, creo que Washington es una buena opción, vas a tener muchos minutos y si Arenas y Jamison están bien se puede llegar lejos.
Oberto is the best center of the team. Is a complete player... defense, rebounds and good shoot when is necesary... and is natural winner, with the Spurs and Argentina!

Posted by: gerice | July 24, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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