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Jamison looks back with some regrets

Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler were riding the team bus to Orlando a few weeks ago, when they started talking about legacy and what they hoped to accomplish in Washington. Despite all the trade rumors and endless speculation that they would get dealt, the two former all-stars -- who famously led the Wizards to the playoffs with Gilbert Arenas sidelined for most of the 2008-09 campaign -- still held out the faintest hope.

"That was our dream and our vision to have our numbers retire here, our kids grow old here and things of that nature," Jamison said. "Just disappointed it didn't happen that way. Sitting on that bus every game. It was one of the fondest memories that we had, and we talked about doing everything possible to make it happen. We wish it could've been different, but I'm glad something positive came out of it."

Less than two weeks later, both players are in new locations, with Butler beating Jamison out of Washington in a deal to Dallas and Jamison going to Cleveland five days later. Although Jamison expressed joy about his move to a championship contender, he still has an empty feeling about what happened in his five years in Washington. His first season in 2004-05 got off to a great start, with the Wizards winning their first playoff series since 1982, but they haven't won another series since.

"This franchise, where we had been, it was a while since it had experienced any kind of success. Just how everybody felt during that moment," Jamison said. "The picture they always showed of me and Mr. Pollin hugging after that series; Gilbert being one of the young talents in the league; and how we didn't know what to expect before the season got started, but once the season got off, to come together and be successful, that was my fondest memory, pretty much the most success we had here. Having the city and the fans behind us. I can remember how the arena was. Those are the moments that you cherish and those are the moments that you wish you would've had more of."

After that season, the Wizards pushed the Cavaliers to six games in the first round, but could never get over the hump. The following season, the Wizards at one point had the best record in the Eastern Conference, but injuries to Arenas and Butler derailed a promising season and the franchise never recovered.

"It's sad because five or six years ago, we was on the doorstep of being one of the most successful franchises in the league. I sit there and think how did it go bad so quickly? How could we have so much talent and just never accomplish a lot of goals? But with injuries and outside distractions, it just really limited us as far as going deep and really making some noise," he said. "That's the most frustrating thing about it; knowing that you should've been better as far as your record goes, but it's tough."

Jamison said that there is a lot that he will miss about Washington. "Just the friendships, the fans and what they've done for making me and my family feel welcome. Just people around the Verizon Center and of course, the Pollins, and Mr. Pollin not being here. It was tough to actually say goodbye. This is a place that I called home, a place where so many friends and family are here. It's tough to say goodbye, but most importantly for us not to scratch the surface of what we could potentially."

Jamison said Arenas sent him a congratulatory text message Wednesday night after the trade. "He's happy for me and wish things would've turned out differently. I said thanks and I'll give you a call as soon as things settle down because I haven't been able to clear my thoughts really," Jamison said.

Although he hated to see this team dismantled, Jamison said that he was happy that Butler and Brendan Haywood now have the opportunity to play for something as well. He sent Butler a text message immediately after the trade.

"I told him he deserved to be in a better situation. He was happy with that," Jamison said. "We know it's a business, we have to move on. The relationship that he and I had and Brendan and I had, it goes beyond basketball. Once we're done, we'll still be able to hang out outside of the game. It's disappoinintg because, we're grown men, but you have dreams like a kid. You want to accomplish a lot of things, but we wasn't able to do it. We learned from it and move on."

By Michael Lee  |  February 18, 2010; 3:43 PM ET
 
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Next: Grunfeld discusses trade flurry and future

Comments

Mcguire traded to Sac. for 2nd round pick

Posted by: millineumman | February 18, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"I told him he deserved to be in a better situation."

Um, no. None of the traded players "deserved" to be in a situation different or better than the one they created. They were responsible for making it "better."

Posted by: disgruntledfan | February 18, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, Good Luck Dom...
Singleton was a bigger version of the "hustle guy"...and the Zards add a second round pick too boot!

Posted by: bozomoeman | February 18, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Too much focus on "The Big Three." A team shouldn't be about three people. It became about them--which they embraced--and which I'm guessing contributed to the selfish play. No question, it was a good run for a while. You need eight to nine guys who feel apart of the same thing, not just three.

Posted by: jweber1 | February 18, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Good luck, Antawn. You did good during your 5+ years here and, yes, perhaps the Wizards fans didn't warm up to you as much as you liked them.

You, Caron Butler, and Gilbert Arenas did take the team to the playoffs several times after a long drought.

Thanks for that and good luck in Cleveland.

Posted by: JekyllnHyde | February 18, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I will truly miss you Antawn....but I cannot root for the Cavaliers.

Dom for a 2nd round pick in 2011 and cash? Please - how sad that it has come to this. Ernie never uses our draft picks anyway but he loves to trade for cash.

Posted by: Lisa_R | February 18, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"I told him he deserved to be in a better situation. He was happy with that," Jamison said.

Hpw about the fans do they deseve better?

You're right we didn't love YOU the way YOU needed to be loved?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 18, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"I missed the car ride, I missed the bus and I missed the plane..."

Yeah, but you took the money and ran Mr. James when you could have signed elsewhere last summer.

I feel no sympathy for you.

You will sit at the end of the bench and You will like it.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | February 18, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"I told him he deserved to be in a better situation. He was happy with that," Jamison said.


Right. He deserved better.

He had nothing to do with the Wizards being a 17 win team and it wasn't fair that he had to make millions of dollars playing a school-yard game here.

This is the kind of crap that makes me disgusted with how out of touch pro athletes are.

Posted by: p1funk | February 18, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Hpw about the fans do they deseve better?

You're right we didn't love YOU the way YOU needed to be loved?

Posted by: bulletsfan78

he probably read some of your posts and hired a security guard.

Posted by: divi3 | February 18, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

""I missed the car ride, I missed the bus and I missed the plane," James said. "Now it's a ship going out at about 2:45, but I'm on the other side of town and I only got a couple of minutes to make it, so it don't look good for me right now.

"If this is what I got to deal with for this season, I feel like a summer going to go to waste as hard as I worked this year," he said. "I played, what, two games, three games this year. I haven't done that since my rookie year in the NBA and this is my ninth year. And I've played for some solidified teams and they felt I could help those teams. This year, I'm just not good enough with this system. I don't fit this system. If I'm here tomorrow, I'm come to work early like I always do. And it's just for my own sanity.""


Barf.

More whiny out of touch crap from a millionare baller.

Yeah, Mike James it's such a tough life going to work for that $6mill to sit on your backside.

All of DC will hold a candle-light vigil and pray for your hardships and "sanity".

Posted by: p1funk | February 18, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Now isn't this a fine kettle of fish? I don't blame Heywood, Butler, and Jamison for leaving. They are all good guys and brought a little class to the Wizards. I understand it's a business, BUT if they had not spent all that money for wonder boy Arenas, we wouldn't be in this situation. If they are stupid enough to allow Arenas to play next year, i hope he enjoys "running the team" all by himself because I doubt anyone will opt for him to join their team..he is bad news and has ruined the Wizards. SAD SAD... From a very Disallusioned FAN..

Posted by: sjcmcd | February 18, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"I told him he deserved to be in a better situation."

Um, no. None of the traded players "deserved" to be in a situation different or better than the one they created. They were responsible for making it "better."

Posted by: disgruntledfan | February 18, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

agreed 100% we as fans deserved for them to make this situation better. the only people getting compensated are the players. as fans we get some enjoyment, but no tangible product for all the money spent on tickets that pay their salaries. And all along folks thought it was the young guys who had a sense of entitlement.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 18, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow - there are some really harsh people here. And, all of these harsh comments seem to be aimed at the fact that NBA players get paid a lot of money. What a shock - entertainers (which is what they are) get paid millions of dollars to entertain. I happen to think that the TV show, 2 1/2 Men, is one of the dumbest things on TV but I als know that since they are entertainers on TV, the actors on that show are going to make millions. Do I think they're worth it? No, but evidently some people do. It's the same with athletes. They all get paid a lot of money whether they're "worth" it or not. And, PLEASE, get over yourselves. The money anyone spent on tickets is NOT what is paying their salaries. TV broadcasts pay the salaries of high-priced athletes. Or, maybe the money spent on tickets provides the gum they chew but, seriously, their salaries? Nuh-uh.

Posted by: juliagraffam | February 18, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Antawn, you probably still haven't gotten over the Terps beating you and Vince at Cole - goodbye, no. 1 ranking - no Natty, no NBA Chsmps - cleveland is hereby cursed - Kobe gonna get the Cavs over the chair - ha ha ha

Posted by: terptek | February 18, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Wizards trade Dominic McGuire and cash to the Sacramento Kings for a future second round pick.

Posted by: ElBigChroizo | February 18, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Is it really right that the purpose of all this is to cut the luxury tax and not build?

Posted by: jhough1 | February 18, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Who in their right mind would pay anything to acquire Dominic McGuire?

Posted by: junkmail0153 | February 18, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

JULIAGRAFFAM that might be the best comment today. Sound like a bunch of jeoulous chumps over how much money ball players make. Get over it punks- nobody complains you make too much money. Even when you serve COLD fries with that #5 value meal. CHUMPS!!!!!

Posted by: Mikereese23 | February 18, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

It's sad because five or six years ago, we was on the doorstep of being one of the most successful franchises in the league.

Is this guy kidding or is he just stupid?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 18, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Hibachiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Posted by: prescrunk | February 18, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: prescrunk | February 18, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

We were never on the doorsteps of anything! Dont be fooled. E>G steelo is always to have 3 guys who can score and trash around them. Bucks- R. Allen/ Cassell/Big dog. Playoffs but no cigar. Knicks-P.Chewing/Starks/and a hand full of diff number 3 guys. Ernie WILL get your teams turned around but, untill he wins it all as a g.m..........

Posted by: Mikereese23 | February 18, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

BRING BACK AGENT ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Mikereese23 | February 18, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Really don't care.....Go Caps

Posted by: devans_design | February 18, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, where are all the EG haters? This "rebuilding" was pulled off flawlessly. 4 draft picks for next season, plenty of cap space and a nice young player in Thornton while giving two well respected deserving veterans an opportunity to win now. Kudos Ernie!

I've said all along that Ernie has made mistakes (what GM doesn't?) but that the dude knows how to build a winning team as does Flip Saunders (Minnesota anyone?). You could do a hell of a lot worse than them rebuilding your team.

Now the franchise just needs a little luck for once in the lottery in a year where there are actual real potential franchise players.

With time for everything to blow over, I would not be surprised if GA is back. Don't like him as a PG in FS's system, but hey maybe we get to start John Wall at PG with GA at SG next season. I don't know what the hell else you do with GA.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 18, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

@rphilli721,

Kudos to Ernie my ass. This should've
taken place last year.

Not to mention the way Ernie pulled the rug on Coach Jordan and didn't back him which attributed to creating an environment for Bozo to be the clown that he is.

Yeah, we got plent of cap space, and I think we got some good pieces but Ernie needs to be fired asap...

Posted by: kevenjones | February 18, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

James expected to leave Wiz in buyout
February, 18, 2010
FEB 18
6:48
PM ET

By Marc Stein
Archive
Wizards guard Mike James has been granted an indefinite leave by the team in anticipation of a buyout, according to team sources.

The Wizards held onto James through Thursday in the event that his $6.6 million expiring contract might be included in a trade.

The parties are now expected to negotiate a buyout settlement before March 1 that will make James eligible to play in the playoffs with his next team.

James, 34, has appeared in only four games this season for the Wizards, but he started 50 games for Washington last season after arriving in a trade with New Orleans, averaging 9.6 points and 3.6 assists.

Cleveland and Miami are among the teams that have monitored James’ situation in Washington in hopes that he would eventually become an in-season free agent. It’s believed that Charlotte is an eventual landing spot for James after he played for Bobcats coach Larry Brown in Detroit when the Pistons won the championship in 2004.

Posted by: VBFan | February 18, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: VBFan | February 18, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

look at the situation the team is in right now....there's no reason we have to be terrible for years like that fool Wilbon suggests. Sure we MIGHT be awful just because....but there is plenty of flexibility between CAP space and draft picks to remake the team sooner rather than later.

Hell, if AB/JM turn out to be legit starters we're halfway there already

Posted by: divi3 | February 18, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, the answer to D-MAC is now clear. So that's still eight warm bodies under contract for next year. One player option(ROSS), one team option(HOWARD), and one 80% qualifying offer(FOYE). A lot of flexibility there.

Payroll for 2010-11 stands at $29,183,101 with the draftees to add. BTW, ARENAS gets $17,730,694 next season.

MILLER appears to be staying, and he currently gets $9,750,000 on his expiring.

And now four draft picks, a potential WIZ lottery pick, plus the # 28-32 from CLEVELAND, the # 36 pick from the KINGS and the WIZ # 38 as it now stands. Question is are there 38 players worth picking.

Needs include a true point guard. FOYE and ARENAS are hybrids. We still need to run both McGEE and BLATCHE at the five, but a geniune center like Z in his prime is in order. Maybe we get the #1 pick this year if we've got the balls for it.

Noticed 13,138 fans at the game last night. Pretty sparse for normal times, but under these circumstances probably understandable and acceptable.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 18, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, where are all the EG haters? This "rebuilding" was pulled off flawlessly. 4 draft picks for next season, plenty of cap space and a nice young player in Thornton while giving two well respected deserving veterans an opportunity to win now. Kudos Ernie!

I've said all along that Ernie has made mistakes (what GM doesn't?) but that the dude knows how to build a winning team as does Flip Saunders (Minnesota anyone?). You could do a hell of a lot worse than them rebuilding your team.

Now the franchise just needs a little luck for once in the lottery in a year where there are actual real potential franchise players.

With time for everything to blow over, I would not be surprised if GA is back. Don't like him as a PG in FS's system, but hey maybe we get to start John Wall at PG with GA at SG next season. I don't know what the hell else you do with GA.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 18, 2010 7:29 PM


Ernie messed up the team by years of failed picks. Ernie did pretty well in dumping his failed free agent acquisitions. Now I want someone else to come in and fix his mess.

Posted by: anacostia85 | February 18, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Good luck Antawn, we will miss you and thanks for the memories. DC loved you!

Posted by: washwiz | February 18, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

@rmcazz

James didn't sign here he was traded here for Antonio Daniels just fyi

Posted by: DMoney28 | February 18, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

What's with all the texting back and forth. No one uses their phone for talking? The least Arenas can do is call these guys and wish them good luck. After all, his juvenile acts put the final kibosh on the "Big 3".

Posted by: tundey | February 18, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2010/02/18/20100218_jamison_segment.nba/

110 %? Since when you take half of the game off when you are supposed to be playing "D".

I hope Shaq backhands you for letting your man drive to the basket while he's in the game.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 18, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

@anacostia,Kevin

Are you guys just whining sniveling fools? All teams go through rebuilding for many different reasons including under performance. On paper this team was extremely talented. Perhaps the most talent this team has had from 1-8 since the 70's.

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 19, 2010 4:50 AM | Report abuse

@rphilli721,

I agree, I'm just saying for those of us paying money, this was a year too late. And the moves he pulled were the ez ones. Getting rid of Jamison, Haywood,Butler, was easy.

The problem with this team is still on the roster and owed 80 million, which was another Ernie error. Jamison, Haywood, Butler wasn't the problem. Bozo the clown, the centerpiece of the circus is the root of the problem here.

Posted by: kevenjones | February 19, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

@rphilli721,

I agree, I'm just saying for those of us paying money, this was a year too late. And the moves he pulled were the ez ones. Getting rid of Jamison, Haywood,Butler, was easy.

The problem with this team is still on the roster and owed 80 million, which was another Ernie error. Jamison, Haywood, Butler wasn't the problem. Bozo the clown, the centerpiece of the circus is the root of the problem here.

Posted by: kevenjones | February 19, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

More whiny out of touch crap from a millionare baller.

Yeah, Mike James it's such a tough life going to work for that $6mill to sit on your backside.

All of DC will hold a candle-light vigil and pray for your hardships and "sanity".

Posted by: p1funk | February 18, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse


You aren't making a lick of sense. The guy is complaining that he wants to work more. he doesn't want to sit.

Not like he is pulling a Danny manning and wants a reneg on his contract or anything. He goes to work early every day and works hard and wants to play.

Thats a big difference from someone who slacks off and complains about his salary.

Posted by: Blurred | February 19, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

people keep talking about gil and antawn's contracts like ernie had all authority in the deals, abe's the one who didn't want his cash cows getting milked on another farm, his famous loyalty far too often placed personal interests in front of team success, one playoff series victory in the last 27 years, that is depressing and ernie got it so say what you will but he's the only gm thats been around in my lifetime who's had at least a clue, he may very well have saved his job by turning over the roster and I thank him for blowing it up

Posted by: bford1kb | February 19, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Jamison meant that Caron didn't deserve to be in a locker room full of immature children and that he didn't deserve to be surrounded by teammates who bring guns to the locker room? If he did, than I agree with him...the professional players don't need be around the kind of crap that has been drafted in the last few years or acquired in the last few years.

Posted by: authorofpoetry | February 19, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Um, no. None of the traded players "deserved" to be in a situation different or better than the one they created. They were responsible for making it "better."

I'm with YOU, disgruntledfan. As a season ticket holder, I'm not interested in excuses. If someone had asked me to buy tickets to see our current lineup, I'd have said no...not at these prices at least.

And I'm not hating on AJ at all in regard to his salary. I'm on record as saying that Gil (and everyone else in this league including famously overpaid guys like Jon Contract, Adonal Foyle, etc.) deserves and has earned every dollar they can get. It's what the market bears. I'm an IT guy. Do I deserve more money than a soldier who's dodging bullets? Hell no but it's what the job pays.

HOWEVA, he is as responsible for this teams demise as anyone. Maybe even more so and here's why...
AJ has known Gil longer than anyone else on this team. It's widely known in professional sports than locker room leaders and veterans are the true leaders on a team, not coaches. If anyone on this team should be talking to Gil, guiding him showing him how to conduct himself, it should have been AJ. He is not his brother's keeper but an acknowledged 'true veteran' and professional should have taken Gil to task for his misbehavior. If he did so and I am unaware, I owe AJ an apology. I did note that in the picture of Gil joking about the guns, AJ was in the forefront laughing.

AJ gets a pass because he played hurt and he is an undersized big guy who produced. Well, using that same criteria of production, does Gil get a pass? He also produced on the court. Nope. Than neither should AJ.

If AJ was the best example of a true professional we had, perhaps it's best for all parties that he's gone.

Posted by: original_mark | February 19, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Now let me light into CB....

I read an article about how CB got his name of Tuff Juice. Apparently he was bowling guys over in practice and told them they needed to drink some tough juice.

I rarely saw him do anything but stutter step, dribble in place and shoot a jumper. I hope they recorded that practice for posterity. It may have been the last time he took the ball to the rack.

Secondly, it's notable that he earned his nickname on the offensive end of the court. He was anything but tough on defense. I would think that 'Turn Loose' would be a more appropriate name because that's exactly what he used to do to his offensive opponents.

Good luck and good riddance to both of them. AB is the future star of this team. IMO, he might already be a capable 'Robin' and is still young enough to potentially develop into our 'Batman'.

Posted by: original_mark | February 19, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

People please!! Arenas is an All Star and has lots of potential. Its sad to see Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Deshawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood leave but change comes with life. We live and learn just as Arenas did. I cant wait to see Arenas back out on the court and hope it's with the Wizards as Ernie Grunfield stated. Arenas just as you... I have a sense of humor in which some people dont. Nobody is gonna be perfect. I dont think you've committed a crime. It was not a act of violence.

Arenas still has many fans that cant wait to wear the Agent 0 jersey's again. I think the congrats that was sent to Antawn and Caron were from the heart. What do people expect...

Posted by: keshjahkamya | February 19, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

People STOP!!! WITH ALL OF THE SENSELESS CHATTER!!! First the team was awful period.AJ played hard each and every night.CB played hard they got stale like Ernie said. The direction they need to take in this rebuilding process is to get a Big man like Chris Bosh and get the right fit of players into Flip system because his system is proven. WE dont need a Big Three we need 7 to 9 nine players who play hard and within the system every night and please let nick young go..Just a waste of talent

Posted by: harveyclifton6 | February 19, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

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