Free Agency Update

You can scratch Channing Frye off the list of free agent targets for the Wizards, after the former Arizona product signed a two-year deal with the Phoenix Suns for roughly $4 million on Friday. It also sounds like another target, Rasho Nesterovic, has his heart set on returning to Toronto. The Toronto Star is reporting that there is mutual interest with Nesterovic and the Raptors. We'll see.

Brandon Bass was never going to work on the Wizards' limited budget, but he signed a four-year, $18-million with defending Eastern Conference champion and Southeast Division rival Orlando. The Magic has a pretty formidable starting five with Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson and Bass. That's four all-stars and useful role player who can hustle and help Howard on the glass. Not bad, when you consider that the Magic was also able to get Ryan Anderson in that Carter trade.

Don't sleep on Anderson. He quietly had a pretty decent rookie year in New Jersey and now he is tearing up the Orlando Pro Summer League. Anderson averaged 21.4 points and 9.4 rebounds in the five games, and Stan Van Gundy described him as "perfect for the way" Orlando plays. I know it's summer league, but the guy can play.

By the way, former Wizards summer leaguer, Virginia Tech guard and District native Brian Chase also played for Orlando and averaged 12.7 points for the Magic. Former Georgetown star Michael Sweetney, who hasn't played in the NBA since 2007, was on the Celtics' summer league team. He played just one game, scoring three points with four rebounds in just 15 minutes before tweaking a hamstring. Hoopsworld.com caught up with Sweetney last week. Sounds like he's steal dealing with weight issues.

Speaking of former Georgetown stars: Roy Hibbert was named MVP of the Orlando Pro Summer League after averaging 20.2 points and nine rebounds and leading Indiana to a 5-0 record. Hibbert told the Indianapolis Star that he was motivated to get better in his second season. He's off to a decent start.

By Michael Lee |  July 11, 2009; 12:01 AM ET
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The other probable factor hindering EG's ability to get the top FA C/PFs to come to the Wiz, that EG doesnt talk about is that they prefer to go to other teams. If you were a sought after PF or C and the dollars being offered were equal, would you pick the Wiz over: LA, Boston, Orl (no state income tax), Dallas (no state income tax), San Antonio (no state income tax), Phoenix, Toronto (no state and less federal tax), or Cleveland? So Ernie basically has to wait for each of these teams to get their first choices and then he can start to solicit for the Wiz. Detroit jumped in early and overpaid for their FA's...the rest are waiting just like the Wiz.

Posted by: oddjob2 | July 11, 2009 12:15 AM

So happy we are getting this breaking news about the Wizards free agent targets...yawwwnnnnn

Posted by: rc2223 | July 11, 2009 12:17 AM

Millsap's gone too...The Trail Blazers extended an offer to restricted free-agent forward Paul Millsap on Friday, according to sources. The actual offer sheet was reportedly sent to Millsap for his signature Friday night. The offer is worth between $32-$36 million over four years, and signifies that Portland isn't willing to wait for possible trades. Utah will have a week to match the offer, which is believed to include a substantial signing bonus in hopes that the Jazz won't do just that.

Posted by: oddjob2 | July 11, 2009 12:19 AM

I like the way Orlando has been pro active since they lost the championship. They aren't afraid to make a move and by signing Bass to a deal it shows me they aren't afraid to spend luxury cap money, which means their owner want to win!!!!

Can we trade a player, a pick, and Abe for their owner?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | July 11, 2009 12:55 AM

Well, looks like EG's plan to buy rotted fruit from the grocery store at discount is starting to backfire.

Time to pretty much call this free agency summer of discount hope a wrap and target Bosh next offseason after cap space is cleared out.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | July 11, 2009 1:29 AM

Well, looks like EG's plan to buy rotted fruit from the grocery store at discount is starting to backfire.

Time to pretty much call this free agency summer of discount hope a wrap and target Bosh next offseason after cap space is cleared out.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | July 11, 2009 1:29 AM

I agree 110%! I've been calling for a Bosh trade since mid-season. We had the pieces to pull it off. Expiring contracts, young talent, a high draft pick. That would've put over the top. But alas, now we're waiting for Joe Smith to come and save us.

Posted by: CBell29 | July 11, 2009 1:51 AM

A poster bring up a good point. Why would a decent free agent want to come here. He knows he will be playing behind Haywood and Jamison. He looks at that and say these guys are going to get 70% of the minutes and the team won 19 games give me a break. That team doesn't want to win why do I want to play there. How do you not open all positions to competition when you've won 19 games and I don't want to hear about the pretend allstars. What a joke. Being a Wiz fan is a love hate relationship.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | July 11, 2009 6:49 AM

rnbrown4

Like it or not EG and Abe have put their rep on the line with the "little 3" they are going to show us they can win a lot of games, pack the house with fans, and lose in the first round again.

With the money Abe got last year, if they make the playoffs, Abe will make a profit, and isn't that what the NBA (here in DC) is all about?

Read the post on here... people don't care about winning a championship, they only care that Abe makes money. I am sure none of them go to the games anyway.

Now look at Orlando they are over the luxury cap and they have only 10 players on their roster. What does that tell you? They don't care about spending luxury tax money because they understand in the NBA the window of opportunity only stays open for so long and if you are going to win a championship the real secret isn’t about having an exciting team that puts fans in the stands, it’s about looking at your competition and trying to put a team on the floor that can compete with the elite teams in the league.

I’m sure the backup the Wizards get cheap (like Juan last year) will be able to match up against Wallace if we meet Boston in the playoffs?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | July 11, 2009 7:06 AM

Relax, guys. We don't need to add anyone with a lot of talent right now. For now, we just need a big body who knows what they're doing, knows their limitations, and doesn't make mistakes. Someone who we can put into a game that we are supposed to win and depend on not to screw it up big time.

In mathematical terms, what we need is someone to give us 10 minutes with a point differential of -2 +/- 2 points. Which is a stark contrast to our current options of Blatche and McGee who might give us a point differential of +2 +/- 20 points.

At the trade deadline, we can get someone who is good, knows what they're doing, and doesn't make mistakes.

Posted by: yop32 | July 11, 2009 7:38 AM

"In mathematical terms, what we need is someone to give us 10 minutes with a point differential of -2 +/- 2 points. Which is a stark contrast to our current options of Blatche and McGee who might give us a point differential of +2 +/- 20 points. At the trade deadline, we can get someone who is good, knows what they're doing, and doesn't make mistakes.Posted by: yop32"

This is an interesting argument. If you're correct, then Josh Heytvelt might be worth a flyer, even though he's a rook. He's big enough (actually the third tallest in this draft class, after Thabeet and BJ Mullens) and his offense is something the Wiz are currently missing.

But Ernie seems to have his heart set on a veteran. That suggests he's looking for defensive experience as well.


Posted by: Samson151 | July 11, 2009 8:01 AM

I have opted not to say much but now I have to express my feelings on the Wizards!!! I am excited to see Randy Foye and Mike Miller here. Yes the Wizards did miss out on Rubio with the 5th pick, but look at the positives you get players who are in thier prime(Mike Miller) and a Player who has a the potential to be quite good(Foye) Getting rid of Thomas was great(What a waste)Songila will be missed but his back is an issue now. Pech never lived up to the hype. All the talk about how Cleceland and Boston and Detriot and Orlando are the upper eschelon of the Eastertn Conference is Just that, "all Talk". Every one forgets that when Healthy the Wizards won 3 out of 4 game against Boston(Boston's Champinship year) swept Detroit that same year. and matched up very well against Cleveland(2-2). orlando clearly has an advantage against the Wizards. Ok Yes the Wizards when Healthy had a difficult time beating teams with loosing records or injuries to key players. like loosing to the Clippers when they were missing Brand and Magette. Times now will be different!!! Coaching!!! Saunders will eleiminate the senseless loosing and playing down to a team with lesser talent!! Also the Media and fans need to stop talking about the "curse" and other negatives throughtout the Bulletts/Wizards History. Remember you bring about what you think about!!!! That being said lets all think about 56 wins and the 3rd seed in the eastern Conference and Home court advantage and good health and no injuries. My early Summer prediction. 1. Boston 2. Orlando 3. Washington 4. Cleveland 5. Detroit 6. Atlanta 7. Miami 8. Chicago

Posted by: sjbrjm22315 | July 11, 2009 8:15 AM

sjbr: "orlando clearly has an advantage against the Wizards."

The Magic have an advantage over almost everybody, and his name is Dwight Howard. Still, he's not the player yet that he could be. He's like the young Shaq before he learned to shoot and to pass the ball back to a teammate out of the post. That Shaq won a lot of games, but not titles. Like O'Neill has said, he didn't really learn to play basketball until he began to lose some of his athletic ability.

Orlando was something of a mystery last season. A lot of people expected them to struggle when Jameer Nelson went down, and instead they actually improved. Much of that was IMO due to two factors: Turkoglu's ability to take over some of the point duties to take pressure off Rafer Alston, and Rashard's willingness to alter his game and become more of an inside force.

Howard was Howard. I still can't figure out what happened to the Cavs, even though I knew they had weaknesses going into the series. Their shooting had been so consistent all year, and then it disappeared, seemingly overnight. Some if it was perimeter defense -- Detroit had bothered them in that respect in the first round -- but I suspect a lot of it was just a profound slump. James must have been tearing his hair out. All of a sudden, he's the only guy who can score. Then the same thing that used to occur with Jordan: everybody else standing around and watching the Star play one on four.

As to how Orlando will do this coming season, I'm thinking they'll do fine during the regular season, after some acclimation, but we'll discover some new weaknesses come the playoffs. They've got more talent now, no question, but will that make them a better team?

Posted by: Samson151 | July 11, 2009 8:32 AM

Arenas will get hurt. Jamison will decline. Wizards will struggle to make the playoffs. Same old same old. Until Abe Pollin is not the owner, the Wizards will be mediocre at best. The last 30 years have proven that.

Posted by: 4472jon | July 11, 2009 8:42 AM

Nice articale in the Post today about McGee. As the roster is composed now Ernie has sure placed a lot of trust in McGee and Blatche.

Sometimes a young guy has got to be given the opportunity in order to step up. McGee has flashed some real talent, now let's see what he can do under a seasoned NBA coach that believes in that talent.

I would think that any Vet that is brought in will know that Flip is going to give those two long looks as the first two bigs off the bench. If the Wiz look to a grizzled Vet that doesn't need a lot of minutes, Joe Smith might be a possibility.

Joe is a solid guy in the lockerroom and has seen enough action to be a great mentor to Blatche and McGee. And he could provide some useful minutes off the bench.
He can step out and hit a jumper, and he rebounds well. He's not going cause a problem if he doesn't play, but will show up the next night ready to go. He could fill a role kind of like Calvin Booth did here a few years back.

Heytvelt is going to be an interesting guy to watch in summer league, he could be a longterm project. But he's got size and talent.

The kid made a mistake that side lined him and knocked him from being a top prospect, and he's paid a heavy price. At one time he was regarded as a real sure thing, a projected lottery guy. Now a couple of years later he's just trying to get a team to give him a look as an older guy coming out of college.

He played very solid ball most of the year for the Zags against solid competition. He's big enough to bang down low and he's actually got some post moves. He could be a nice addition as a 15th man on the roster.

If he doesn't work out there sure isn't anything lost.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | July 11, 2009 9:22 AM

"Relax, guys. We don't need to add anyone with a lot of talent right now. For now, we just need a big body who knows what they're doing, knows their limitations, and doesn't make mistakes. Someone who we can put into a game that we are supposed to win and depend on not to screw it up big time.

At the trade deadline, we can get someone who is good, knows what they're doing, and doesn't make mistakes.

Posted by: yop32 | July 11, 2009 7:38 AM "

I've never heard of a lottery team that "didn't need to add anyone with a lot of talent right now."

At the trade deadline, there won't be anyone to add "that's good" because by that time, that person won't have enough time to learn the system and make any meaningful contributions.

Utterly ridiculous.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | July 11, 2009 9:24 AM

So many haters out there! Relax people. Obviously the team hinges on Gil being 100% healthy. If he is, things will fall into place ok for this playoff team. If he's not, we're effed.

Signing fricking Rasho Blagoavich was never going to change that.

Posted by: divi3 | July 11, 2009 9:37 AM

Ernie has placed a lot of faith in two shaky variables:

1. Gil's health.
If he is back to the player he was in 2006-07, Second Team All-NBA, Wiz are a conference finals possibility. But has anyone ever taken two years off and gotten back to that level? If he is a 20 ppg, 7 apg, 4 rpg combo guard, who is killer in the last 2 minutes of the fourth quarter, they may be better off.

2. Blatche's head.
If he ever caught religion in the weight room, and adopted an increased commitment to his craft (more gym, less ...), problem solved. He has the talent to be Lamar Odomish in terms of his role on the team. He may never become that. But Grunfeld is clearly betting he can become a consistent member of a frontcourt rotation on a team with serious playoff aspirations. Can't say I agree.

Posted by: BigWesGoingToTakeA | July 11, 2009 9:45 AM

Patience is key I say also. But are we sure that the Wiz will sign someone. I am not sure that they will. They may not Need Too.

Can somebody give me a lesson? If we sign someone, does whatever we pay the guy, we have to pay the same to the League for Cap reasons?

LarryInClintonMD.

I heard Mike on the Lockeroom yesterday with Sheehan and this was indicated I think.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | July 11, 2009 10:04 AM

"Arenas will get hurt. Jamison will decline. Wizards will struggle to make the playoffs. Same old same old. Until Abe Pollin is not the owner, the Wizards will be mediocre at best. The last 30 years have proven that. Posted by: 4472jon"

Y'know, I was wondering if we'd hear something completely original today -- something we've never heard here -- and 4472jon has provided it. Who'd a thunk it?

Posted by: Samson151 | July 11, 2009 10:29 AM

"So many haters out there! Relax people. Obviously the team hinges on Gil being 100% healthy. If he is, things will fall into place ok for this playoff team. If he's not, we're effed.

Signing fricking Rasho Blagoavich was never going to change that.

Posted by: divi3 | July 11, 2009 9:37 AM "

Wrong.

Gilby is important to the short term success of Les BouleS, but the key to this team is having BTH back strong and in full form manning the 5 spot.

This team will fall apart since other than BTH, they don't have anyone who can attempt to handle DHoward, Shaq, the Big 4, Okafor, etc.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | July 11, 2009 12:51 PM

Can somebody give me a lesson? If we sign someone, does whatever we pay the guy, we have to pay the same to the League for Cap reasons?

LarryInClintonMD.

Yes, anyone Wizards add to their payroll will add to the amount due as luxury tax for next year 2009-2010.

UNLESS they manage to somehow bring down their payroll during the season under that level. Tax payable is figured out at the end of the season with the team's final regular season game salaries.

Posted by: rickgonz | July 11, 2009 1:37 PM

sorry, add to above comments:

This season additional amounts over payroll level of $69.92M, tax will be due.

Posted by: rickgonz | July 11, 2009 1:40 PM

Finally.... Rumors are circling around Marcus Camby, appartently he is getting alot calls about his services from contending teams and has recently spoke with Clippers GM about his situation... Yes Yes Yes Yes.... I hope were one of those teams... Again these are rumors... but thats a start... its about time... I just could not imagine going through the summer without his name mention in some type of trade talk...

Ernie make that call if ya haven't already...

Posted by: DaGuru | July 12, 2009 10:58 AM

The Wiz are shopping the bargain basement for a big man. 2 million doesn't get you much. They may as well save their money if they plan to get any of the players that have been mentioned. For a million more than that and a million more in luxury tax, Drew Gooden may be available. If the Wiz are unwilling to spend an extra 2 million dollars, they really don't want to win. We will take that into consideration when injuries and fouls occur and they are trying to explain their bad luck. Injuries occur and the preparation to counteract that is to have good players in reserve. Those players are not in the bargain basement.

Posted by: JoeC2 | July 13, 2009 9:25 AM

Posted by: fetrew | July 14, 2009 7:26 AM

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