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Posted at 1:52 AM ET, 02/24/2011

Another wild night in Philadelphia for Wizards

By Michael Lee

I don't think I can come to Philadelphia without something crazy happening anymore. I missed the Wizards' game at Wells Fargo Center in Jan. 5, which was only amusing in that it added another double-digit road loss to the ledger.

Is this why you're mad? (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

But the last time I was in this arena -- which was called Wachovia Center -- Gilbert Arenas played his last game wearing the No. 0 for the Wizards. He flashed the finger guns, playfully shot down his teammates, and figuratively shot down his career in Washington. Arenas was suspended the next day, his birthday, and came back a few months later wearing No. 9 before he got shipped to Orlando.

More than 13 months after my last Philly cheesesteak, I came back and not only does JaVale McGee get into a shouting match with Wizards assistant Randy Wittman during a despicable 117-94 loss, but John Wall rips his teammates for failing to show heart afterward, and the Wizards also make a trade that will bring another former Arizona point guard to town -- and he plans on wearing No. 0.

Yep, only two months after Arenas was traded away, the Wizards have completely moved on by giving new arrival Mike Bibby the number that Arenas made a movement for about six seasons in Washington. Bibby joined the Wizards in a five-player deal with the Hawks that also brought back Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans and a 2011 first-round pick and sent Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong packing.

Bibby has worn the No. 10 his whole career, but that number is hanging in the rafters for Earl "The Pearl" Monroe. The No. 0 was available, so ... Agent Zero, officially, no more.

Hinrich was still hanging out after the game, spending a few minutes with Wizards' coaching staff, then walking around saying goodbye to his teammates and talking on the phone in the back tunnel of the locker room. This has been an incredibly frustrating season for Hinrich, who was "blindsided" by his trade from a playoff contender in Chicago to a rebuilding situation in Washington.

Hinrich never hit his irritation with his teammates' inability to make smart decisions, compete for four quarters and show some fight. He would often ripped off his protective goggles to roll his eyes, slap his hands on his thighs when he became exasperated. But he couldn't hide his happiness as he walked around after the game. It was like he had been granted his freedom.

"I wish him the best of luck in Atlanta," John Wall said. "Kirk's a veteran guy that really helped me and guided me through this rookie season, helped me defensive-wise, and someone I can talk to about basketball. So much he learned as a point guard in eight seasons. That was tough to lose him. It was also tough to lose a guy like Hilton."

At least you won't have to defend this anymore, JaVale. (AP Photo)

Before the game, Armstrong was joking around with his Andray Blatche and Nick Young. The three players then left to head to chapel and Armstrong came back with some prayers answered. He wasn't playing on a lottery team and now moves to a playoff team in Atlanta. Armstrong left his jersey for McGee, who put it on over his clothes before walking out of the arena.

"I was angry. Hilton was my best friend on the team," said McGee, who had heard speculation about the deal earlier in the day. "At least he gets a guaranteed spot on the playoffs."

McGee and the Wizards are much further away from the playoffs, and the difficulty of losing 12 of the past 14 games led to an explosive blowup in the third quarter. McGee was yanked after another lapse on defense led to a three-second violation and he took it out on Wizards assistant Randy Wittman, who criticized him on the bench. Andray Blatche eventually had to step in to get McGee to calm down.

"A lot of guys are starting to get frustrated with the losing streak," Blatche said.

McGee said his anger was rooting in that he's "tired of losing. Tensions build up when you're tired of losing."

The Wizards are hoping that a new influx of talent can break up the malaise of a season headed nowhere. Bibby is a veteran point guard who helped elevate the Hawks to being a playoff team. Evans is a solid, hard-working defensive-minded player who actually spent time with Saunders in Minnesota and Detroit. Crawford hasn't done much for the Hawks, but he dropped 30 points on the Wizards in a preseason game and famously dunked on LeBron James at his summer camp.

"In our situation, we're getting back two veteran players. Bibby has been a starter and can maybe fill what Kirk has done and Mo Evans has been a starter; he's been the sixth-and seventh-man. We get two promising young players that do a lot for what we are trying to do," Saunders said, with the Wizards adding Crawford and a pick that right now is slotted at No. 22.

After blasting his teammates, questioning their heart and will to fight, Wall wondered if the Wizards would make more moves."Until we find five guys that really want to fight, compete and care the whole time, it's really going to be tough," Wall said. "It is tough. I know it's going to be a busy week. There's the big trade for Carmelo [Anthony], everyone else is making trades and Deron Williams just got traded. There's so much stuff that could happen before [the deadline] is over. I'm just going to sit back and watch, just going to see if we're going to get other teammates or if this is it for us. Just trying to finish out the year strong."

At least they don't have to come back to Philadelphia for a while.

By Michael Lee  | February 24, 2011; 1:52 AM ET
Categories:  Gilbert Arenas, Hilton Armstrong, JaVale McGee, John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Kirk Hinrich, Maurice Evans, Mike Bibby  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wizards trade Kirk Hinrich to Atlanta [UPDATED]
Next: As the trade deadline approaches ...


Ted Lose Grunfeld = TLG.
Until you do, nothing will change in this culture of losing.

Posted by: member8 | February 24, 2011 7:12 AM | Report abuse

I see what Wall is saying. The team tends to come out strong in the first quarter and then guys like JMac and AB tend to disappear as the game wears on. As we all know, other than Wall (who was a total no-brainer as a pick) the EG draft picks are at best heartless hotdogs and circus performers, and at worst total busts.

If Lewis can't play on the bad knee he should just get the surgery, he isn't doing much good right now. AT has energy and now if he can only find some skills to match the energy we might have a decent player. A guy like Yi has an opportunity with the starting "bigs" (LOL) playing so inconsistently, but he himself has been unreliable and a disappointment.

And what happened to Nick ("Brickem") Young? Suddenly can't hit a shot. Does he need surgery too?

Hin-Brick finally started hitting some shots in his last few games here. You just KNOW he really wanted to get out of here.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | February 24, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

I think the Wizards are going to have to cut bait with these knuckleheads in order to grow as a team. You can keep waiting for McGee and Blatche to grow into their potential while Wall and every other decent player get worse (or leave) or you can trade them away now when other teams can still be suckered in by "potential".

Posted by: tundey | February 24, 2011 7:46 AM | Report abuse

McGee said that he was upset with the losing. Well, how about playing at 100% versus dreaming about the dunk contest. So many players have IQs in single digits.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | February 24, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

People are not evaluating the up comimng draft very well. The drat is weak since there is no outstanding lottery pick like LJ or BG. This draft will be so deep from 8th position to the end.The wizard secured 2, they need one more in the draft night.
wizard should use JM trade value to clear RL contract and get a dependable big man that can help AB. If any one is interested to take AB there should not be a hesitation.NO Yi , no AT next season.

Posted by: gtefferra | February 24, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Proofread, please.

Posted by: WaPoPimp | February 24, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Bibby will be much better than projected.

They must fire Flip now.

This trade somewhat, might make things appear a bit better, but Flip doesn't have this Teams confidence and attention to do anything.

Wall hasn't been around long enough to understand why the Team, his mates are stinking up the Joint.

He thinks his mates aren't bringing it and giving the effort that they should. He is right in what he sees. However, he does not have the wisdom yet to correct his mates and also to identify why his mates aren't stepping up.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 24, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

And yes Samson151, I am completely flabbergasted that they added a number one pick in the deal. I smack mine own forehead.

I guess on this trade I will have to give Mr. Grunfeld the Red Auerbach check mark.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 24, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

At first glance, I thought we'd picked up Reggie Evans. I'm sure we would have had a ball talking about THAT trade. ...or two.

Posted by: original_mark1 | February 24, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

LarryinClinton and i have been asking this mgmt team to change the style of play for a while now.
We have a first round pick Lamborghini and we're using him like a Ford F150. JM, AB, NY, Josh Howard, Wall, are all much better in a fast paced game. It's not like we should be getting our halfcourt sets down so that when we get to the playoffs when the pace is slower we're better adapted. We're light years away from the playoffs. Let's shoot for 40 wins and then worry about the postseason. If we run, we can get to 40. We'd be a guaranteed first round loser but still, it's an incremental step.

Posted by: original_mark1 | February 24, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Flip has had a few years to try and at least be competitve. I am not talking about winning. God forbid Flip coach a winning team. He can't even coach a cometitive team to play with heart and emotion. At the end of the season it's time for Flip to move on and to a lesser extent Ernie. If Flip is back I can no longer support this team.

Posted by: sjp879 | February 24, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse


40 wins seems far fetched, but a running style would better suit the personnel. For all of NY's skill shooting off the screens, his athleticism is being sold short. We all saw him catch that 2 handed reverse oop from wall a week or 2 ago. While some on this blog would diminish the effect of the slam dunk on the game, it's still 2 pts. Philly found a way to get their athletes like Thad Young and Iggy alley oops off of back screens (flashy, but hardly playground) and lots of motion in their offense. Our system is stale, most possessions end with a contested jump shot going away from the basket. You can see it in some of the players body language as they stand on the other side of the court and watch the play.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | February 24, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The team has one player. John Wall.

They need to get another piece in the draft - be it Kanter, Sullinger, Barnes.

Next year will also suck. And there is a real danger that Wall will leave when he can.

Posted by: BigWesGoingToTakeA | February 24, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I second WaPoPimp's post. Try proofreading your articles, at least occasionally anyway...

Posted by: semilost44 | February 24, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'd definately wanna see an up tempo no defence style Wizard team, quite like the suns. if J wall is averaging 9 assists a game on this team imagine how many he can average on a quick team and not to mention the points he would get through just slashing and getting the easy layup and getting to the line often.

Posted by: Joe08121990 | February 24, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

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