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Flip Saunders adjusts, Gilbert Arenas speaks

Morning brew

For this morning's newspaper, Michael Lee described how Coach Flip Saunders has adjusted to all of the roster changes this season.

Meanwhile, suspended guard Gilbert Arenas told the Associated Press that he would have "no problem" playing for Wizards again and that he is not nervous about his sentencing on March 26.

On his D.C. Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg reports that ESPN the Magazine has started running a new column by "NBA Player X," an anonymous "NBA star." For what it's worth, the debut column mentions Arenas twice and says: "Word around the league is that he's at home freaking out, calling the NBA every five minutes to fix things, afraid it all might disappear."

Yesterday, Truth About it's Kyle Weidie asked: Is Gilbert Arenas Freaking Out or Shrugging His Shoulders?

TrueHoops' Henry Abbott also weighed in on Arenas's statement.

Columnist Michael Wilbon says the Wizards' Andray Blatche and the Terps' Greivis Vasquez have dramatically changed perceptions about who they are.

Around the League ...

There were four games last night. Highlights are below, courtesy of NBA.com.

By Alexa Steele  |  March 3, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
 
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Next: The unmerciful month of March

Comments

What does a fellow have to do clear your ears and minds?
I see that some of you still aren't convinced of Ernest Grunfeld's genius. He knows what he's doing WRT the Arenas situation and you'll just have to put your complete trust and faith in him.
Gilbert will be in a different uniform next fall (and for you wise guys out there, I'm not referring to any prison garb) and all will be well with the Wizards.
Watch Grunfeld pull the strings and control the show and you will be absolutely amazed again at his savvy and managerial prowess. It is amazing what a man can do when he has a free hand to implement his vision, as he in the process of doing.
Do you not recognize a maestro when you experience his work?

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 11:43 AM

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

1st

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 3, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

lilhollywood10, it wasn't even close.

Good day!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

it's pretty easy to envision Gil driving the lane, then tossing the ball up to Mcgee at 10,000ft when opposition C slides over to help with Arenas' drive.

Or the quick bounce pass in the paint to Dr.Dray for the ez lay-in, a play we've already seen executed.

So if we are stuck with Gil, at least there's some crazy upside (potentially) to the situation

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the debate about Gilbert's defense or lack thereof...this is taken from the TrueHoops link above:

"Arenas is one of the NBA's worst defenders. Synergy Sports tracks every NBA play. At the time of Arenas' original suspension, he was rated the worst defender among the 107 players with at least 300 plays as an on-ball defender."

This is my problem with the guy more than the zaniness, the paycheck or his limitations as playmaker.

Posted by: jweber1 | March 3, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

19 wins last year
21 and gounting this season
Yeah F'in Motzart this grunfeld

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 3, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

one more time for tha jazzman

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 3, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

you should put the complete list up. an on the ball defense stat for a guy who just came back from 2 yrs off and 3 knee surgeries (one reconstructive) seems like kicking a guy while he's down; especially when he wasn't a good on the ball defender before the injuries. just more preaching to the choir. I guess you would refer to these stats when gil was hitting game winners when he was healthy,huh?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 3, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

i guarantee you steve nash is right next to Gil on that list and no one EVER ridicules him for being one of the worst defenders in the entire league. Amare is a weak azz defender, Dirk doesnt guard anyone, the list could go on all day.

Doesnt excuse Gil, but companies like Synergy dont make their stats public so it's tough to get the relative picture

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

19 wins last year
21 and gounting this season
Yeah F'in Motzart this grunfeld

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 3, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse


It is not at all fair to include the years when Ernest Grunfeld was leading the band but not free to select the musicians. He's running the show in its entirety now, so let's give the man his due and cease with the naysaying WRT his undeniable gift creating harmony on the court.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Saunders admitted, "This isn't what I signed up for."

Flip it's not like you were doing a very good job when you had Gil,AJ and Caron?

I see that some of you still aren't convinced of Ernest Grunfeld's genius.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 11:43 AM

melodious_thunk

I use to think out of all the people on here kal knew the least about basketball, but if you really think Ernie is a genius you make kal look like John Wooden?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 3, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

He's running the show in its entirety now,

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

No he isn't...

Irene told him to get under the cap and he is just following orders to save his job.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 3, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

When (not if) Gilbert comes back for the Wizzies I think he's gonna be out to prove that he is still a difference maker.
One or two good (not great) additions along with the continued progress of Blatche could move us up the ranks. I'm still holding out hope that Nick Y's light goes off and he sees what he can become and does the work needed to get there.
Flip can coach.
He just needs the right type of players to coach.
I don't think that NY is his type of player.

Posted by: VBFan | March 3, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

melodious_thunk,

EG is a durn FOOL for trying to trade Dr.Dray to the Bobs for DJ "5'11" Augstin...thankfully for us, Jordan is an even bigger fool for not pulling the trigger on it.

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

lihollywood--I'm out of my chair screaming like everyone else when Gil hit (past tense) all of those quarter-closers and game winners. And--when he could take it to the hole and feast at the line. But no one kicked Gil when he was down--everyone has been waiting and waiting, then, pulling him up when he returned. Gil kicked his own rear end. I'm just looking ahead. Time to turn the page. But it's all probably moot; my guess is we're stuck with him for better or worse.

Posted by: jweber1 | March 3, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

When (not if) Gilbert comes back for the Wizzies I think he's gonna be out to prove that he is still a difference maker.

Posted by: VBFan | March 3, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

VBFan

A lot of people thought AI could change too but some people are their own worst enemies.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 3, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Let's say all this happened with Gil on another club, and Gil got a buyout from that club. Would the Wiz pick him up?

The Wiz might be interested, for let's say $30 million or $35 million over 5 years. Gil's a good player--just not a franchise player. Several clubs could be interested at that price.

I'm just using that example as a way of illustrating that the Wiz can't just say to Gil, let's forgive and forget and come back home, given the current contract. At $80 million, it is just too high. It means you pay Gil franchise player money while not having a franchise player at that salary level. If you pay him the $80 million, you have to give up championship hopes for the remainder of Gil's contract, and hope instead for first round playoffs every so often.

A buyout is the only way to go from a basketball perspective. Hopefully Gil recognizes that he has $35 million of value left in him and he subtracts that amount, at least, from the $80 million owed him.

Posted by: EdDC | March 3, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Irene told him to get under the cap and he is just following orders to save his job.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 3, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

EG is a durn FOOL for trying to trade Dr.Dray to the Bobs for DJ "5'11" Augstin...thankfully for us, Jordan is an even bigger fool for not pulling the trigger on it.

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78,
Irene is not selecting the players that Ernest Grunfeld brought in to get under the cap. They were each hand-picked by him. So I hope that fact settles your mind a little bit.


divi3,
That remains an unsubstantiated rumor, young man. If even remotely true, you can bet your last dollar that Jordan initiated the trade talk when he thought Ernest Grunfeld might be getting undue pressure to get even further under the cap. One must be careful when one states mere rumors as fact.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

A buyout is the only way to go from a basketball perspective. Hopefully Gil recognizes that he has $35 million of value left in him and he subtracts that amount, at least, from the $80 million owed him.

Posted by: EdDC | March 3, 2010 1:20 PM

1)I think there are CBA rules controlling how much Gil could give up and how much CAP relief we could actually get. They dont want ownership to be able to pressure players into anything less than what they're owed.

2)Even if there arent such rules, there is ZERO INCENTIVE for arenas to give up one penny of what he's guaranteed to be paid. $80mill is a tremendous sum and will seem like even moreso when salaries take a hit under the next CBA. Gil is owed that money and he's not so crazy as to throw it away.

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

No takes today. I'm on vacation.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 3, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

divi3,

So how do you see the whole Arenas thing playing out?

Posted by: EdDC | March 3, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

divi3,
That remains an unsubstantiated rumor, young man. If even remotely true, you can bet your last dollar that Jordan initiated the trade talk when he thought Ernest Grunfeld might be getting undue pressure to get even further under the cap. One must be careful when one states mere rumors as fact.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 1:22 PM

When All Day powers us past the 'cats in a few weeks thus dashing their postseason hopes, look for the single tear running down MJs face- it will speak the truth!

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78,
Irene is not selecting the players that Ernest Grunfeld brought in to get under the cap. They were each hand-picked by him. So I hope that fact settles your mind a little bit.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

AJ (Some people thought he was an all star)
CB (Some people thought he was an all star)
BTH a top 15 center
Dom McGuire

for

the 30th pick
Josh Howard who will walk at the end of the season
Gooden who took a buyout
Zydrunas Ilgauskas who took a buyout
James Singleton
Quinton Ross below average player
Al Thornton average player
a 2nd round pick

So Ernie traded AJ, Caron, and BTH for Al Thornton

Great moves?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 3, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

divi3,

So how do you see the whole Arenas thing playing out?

Posted by: EdDC | March 3, 2010 1:30 PM

I think we are stuck with him for at least the upcoming season. My GUESS is that he'll have to play well until there is $60mill or less left on his deal before any other team will consider touching him.

Best case scenario is he and Dray form a dynamic duo with Mcgee developing alongside and Thornton remaining solid. By the time Dray is a FA, gil will "only" have $40mill left on his deal so we'll have flexibility. EG will look like a genius for extending Blatche right after he picked up the tranny and was at his lowest value.

Worst case, Gil comes back and dashes team chemistry and/or simply isnt a good player anymore. That would be ruinous

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

So Ernie traded AJ, Caron, and BTH for Al Thornton

Great moves?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 3, 2010 1:39 PM

yes. Those guys were stale as 3day old sh** on this team and had to go before the deadline one way or another. You are being duplicitous when you now say we didnt get enough for AJ after complaining forever about how terrible "MeTawn" was. BTH was walking at end of this season. CB was playing terribly.

Now we have young players developing and $$$ to spend. Given that, most people would find EG did a good job of fixing the mess he put together

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Arenas is one of the NBA's worst defenders. Synergy Sports tracks every NBA play. At the time of Arenas' original suspension, he was rated the worst defender among the 107 players with at least 300 plays as an on-ball defender."

LOL I think that has to fit into the category of 'big duh'. He's a terrible on-ball defender; in other news, the sun is expected to rise in the east tomorrow morning.

Arenas is like Jamison in that he is a constant source of frustration for aficionados of defense. He's marvelously productive in other areas, however. Teams know that, and some are willing to pay for it. That tells us something about the NBA game. For all the jabbering about defense, it's the offensive players who usually get the large bucks.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 3, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

divi3 said: Best case scenario is he and Dray form a dynamic duo with Mcgee developing alongside and Thornton remaining solid.

That is a very reasonable scenario. By the start of next season, Gil's knee will be as good as it's gonna get. Add the athletic Blatche, Thornton, McGee and Singleton and you have a high-energy team similar to the Atlanta Hawks or Memphis Grizzlies.

Win or lose, what Wizards fan wouldn't want to see that?

Posted by: musicmanjr | March 3, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

AJ (Some people thought he was an all star)
CB (Some people thought he was an all star)
BTH a top 15 center
Dom McGuire

for

the 30th pick
Josh Howard who will walk at the end of the season
Gooden who took a buyout
Zydrunas Ilgauskas who took a buyout
James Singleton
Quinton Ross below average player
Al Thornton average player
a 2nd round pick

So Ernie traded AJ, Caron, and BTH for Al Thornton

Great moves?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 3, 2010 1:39 PM Report abuse


Yes. Great moves! When Ernest pulls the strings, others are just marionettes.
I realize the big picture is difficult for you to fully comprehend, but your list had a glaring ommission--cap space.
In that vein, Howard only leaves if Ernest Grunfeld wants him to and even then, guess what? There will be more cap space to sign hungry players that he gets to carefully select, much as you do produce at the market or a fine wine.
Finally, Howard isn't walking anywhere as he's recovering an ACL tear and if CB, AJ, BTH and DS were as bad as you've suggested in the past, then you must conclude that the Wizards made out fantastically with the trades/acquisitions that Grunfeld engineered with his newly given freedom. If you cannot yourself to do so, you're just a mindless fence sitter swaying whichever way the wind blows. Now go ahead and enjoy a midday nap and return when you are thinking lucidly so that you may safely join the fray.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon is full of crap on this article.

He acts as if Flip had something to do with Blatche's improved play. The only thing Flip did was give him more minutes.

The change to become a better player began last summer. How does somebody suddenly decide to just "beast out" because the starting frontcourt was traded?

Let's call out these outsiders who don't follow the team regularly enough to know.

Posted by: elfreako | March 3, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I see a lot of people wrong-headedly criticizing Ernie's trades of Jamison and Butler. You can't trade for cap space and comparable value at the same time, unless you find another GM stupid enough to trade a guy who is vastly underpaid.

I think that given the situation, Ernie did pretty well. Howard was a can't-lose proposition, since if he didn't work out, the Wizards had a team option for next year. (He was playing pretty well for the Wiz before his bad-luck injury, too.) Al Thornton is a great pickup--he's a solid midrange jump shooter who also can post up and get to the rim, he hits the boards, and he's down on the floor after every loose ball. And he's cheap, too.

Besides, it's time for a reboot. If Blatche keeps playing at the level he's been at since the Jamison trade, you could build a pretty good team around him. He's actually a much more well-rounded player than AJ or Caron, especially at the defensive end. If McGee can get stronger and develop some basketball IQ, he could turn into a real game-changer with his shot blocking and ability to finish way above the rim. Thornton has the potential to give you 17-20 ppg and 6 boards at the 3. We haven't seen much from Harris yet, but he killed everybody in the D league. Foye and Gilbert are the big question marks, obviously.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | March 3, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

any body who is against on what EG did this mid season trade is not a true wizard fan.
what ever he did in the past this current move is a requirment for the futurity of the team.One can not leave in a dream world for more than 2 seasons expecting a miracle from the so called big 3's.

Posted by: gtefferra | March 3, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Let's call out these outsiders who don't follow the team regularly enough to know.

Posted by: elfreako | March 3, 2010 2:26 PM

Wilbon has devolved into a complete fraud over the past few years. I wonder if he's bothered to follow Rubio's "progress" in europe after declaring the Wizards incompetent for not drafting him?

The funny thing is you will see him out pretty late at some of the better restaurants in DC, then his column appears first thing a.m. about a game that was on while he was on the town. TIVO, watch a few plays, mail in a column. Lame!

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

A quote from Wilbon...

To the undying credit of the coaching staffs, going back to Eddie Jordan and Ed Tapscott, the men paid to coach Blatche worked with him despite their frustration.

Wilbon, kiss my enTIRE azz. And quit slobbering over the coaches. They held him back, not the other way around.

Posted by: original_mark | March 3, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm generally more fine with the trades EG has made than the draft picks. I don't think there was a lot more Ernie was going to get for CB and AJ than what he got. He might have been better off foregoing the Dallas deal and trying to trade Haywood separately, but that's purely speculation.

I don't know what we'll be able to do with the cap space, but considering the team is playing better than it was before the deals AND is way under the cap, it's hard to complain too much with much merit.

BTW, Gooden wasn't bought out, he was traded.

Posted by: ts35 | March 3, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

harlem nights tho Mark!i luv it!

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 3, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Ever since Wilbon said that Sean Taylor's death was inevitable, I've had no respect for him. He said that before it came out that ST was defending his home and family.

Another stupid journalist who knows no more than we do spouting off and revising history to make himself seem more intelligent than he is. This dude lost all objectivity years ago. He's like Ahmad Rashad/Michael Jordan or Bill Simmons/Larry Bird. He develops these man crushes and partial views that don't allow him to see the whole picture. He's a tv personality who used to be a journalist. Now he's a caricature of his former self.

Posted by: original_mark | March 3, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

This ESPN article contains everything you need to know about Ernie. The $$ are off, but Salmons is on-point.

"For instance, let's say you root for the Wizards like my buddy House. Over the last two years, House watched his team overpay Arenas ($111 million; nobody else could have offered more than $85 million at the time) and Antawn Jamison (a $41 million extension for someone about to reach his mid-30s) in a bizarre attempt to keep together the nucleus of a noncontender. Those contracts forced the Wiz to package the No. 5 pick in the 2009 draft, along with a couple of lousy contracts, for immediate help (Randy Foye and Mike Miller). When that move backfired and Arenas went child actor on us, the team called an audible and dealt three of its four best players (Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood) for expiring contracts and the No. 30 pick in the 2010 draft.

Three unintentionally funny outcomes here. First, Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld was the one who overpaid everybody, then had to sacrifice Butler and a 2009 lottery pick just to undo his own horrendous mistakes. Basically, he created the same cap space that could have been attained two summers ago, only Washington fans lost a lottery pick in the process. Did he get fired for this? Of course not."
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/100224

Posted by: closg | March 3, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Yep, lilhollywood10. Somebody needs to shoot off his pinkie toe.

Posted by: original_mark | March 3, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse


Now go ahead and enjoy a midday nap and return when you are thinking lucidly so that you may safely join the fray.

Posted by: melodious_thunk


What the hell's going on out here?!

Posted by: harrybalz | March 3, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

closg,

The article tells you all you need to know about when Grunfeld wasn't allowed to run things HIS way. Without question, he's been superb since being allowed to deconstruct the team.
In Ernie We Trust.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | March 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon looks more and more like Uncle Fester everyday

Posted by: divi3 | March 3, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

AJ (Some people thought he was an all star)
CB (Some people thought he was an all star)
BTH a top 15 center
Dom McGuire

for

the 30th pick
Josh Howard who will walk at the end of the season
Gooden who took a buyout
Zydrunas Ilgauskas who took a buyout
James Singleton
Quinton Ross below average player
Al Thornton average player
a 2nd round pick

So Ernie traded AJ, Caron, and BTH for Al Thornton

Great moves?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 3, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse
josh howard is praying he can walk by the end of this season.

at first i though he would dip out we'd overpay for sure. Now given his his rep around the league (THX MAVS) and perceived propensity for injury we should be able to keep him for a bargain. He is nowhere near the star Gil was when he got his 100 mil while hurt.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 3, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Is it too late for AB to be considered for Most Improved Player or does it have to be a inter-season change?

Seems to me that if he keeps it up til the end of the year, it has to be one of the most dramatic improvements ever.
Or will voters acknowledge that the only thing that improved was his minutes and he had IT all along?

Posted by: original_mark | March 3, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"First, Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld was the one who overpaid everybody, then had to sacrifice Butler and a 2009 lottery pick just to undo his own horrendous mistakes. Basically, he created the same cap space that could have been attained two summers ago, only Washington fans lost a lottery pick in the process. Did he get fired for this? Of course not."

Put that way, it does sound awful. Of course, you had to bend and stretch reality a little to put it that way. In Salmons' version, you've got an imbecile who's solely responsible for all the big contracts and also getting rid of them. There's no Abe Pollin in the picture at all. And of course, the solution is simply to fire this madman before he can do even more damage.

Meanwhile there's a new contingent overrating the Wiz' other players (except Foye and Miller) and proclaiming Andray Blatche and Al Thornton the building blocks of a future dynasty.

But I'd be surprised if Ernie doesn't get fired, because that's how things work.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 3, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Wilbon is full of crap on this article.

He acts as if Flip had something to do with Blatche's improved play. The only thing Flip did was give him more minutes."

I don't pretend to know how much truth is in the column, but Blatche himself has been pretty vocal about crediting Saunders with working with him a lot to help him improve.

Posted by: fansincebullets | March 3, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Somebody needs to shoot off his pinkie toe.

Posted by: original_mark | March 3, 2010 2:49 PM |

Just save "sunshine" for me...

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | March 3, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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