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In Wilbon's World

Wizards had to start over

It's officially over now. The team that began to take shape six seasons ago as a contender yesterday became a footnote in Washington basketball history. The trade of Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood to the Dallas Mavericks dropped the curtain on the whole run. The team featuring Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes/DeShawn Stevenson, Antawn Jamison, Haywood and Butler has essentially been dismantled now. If you figure Arenas will never play here again, Jamison is the only one of the principals remaining, and if he's lucky Ernie Grunfeld will free him, too, before the trading deadline later this week.

Jamison certainly doesn't deserve to be a part of what's coming. You think the Wizards have been a mess so far this season? Wait until you get a load of what they become these final seven weeks. Having said that, the Wizards did exactly what they should have done, trading Haywood, Butler and Stevenson for, well, nothing. As non-competitive as they'll likely be on the court for awhile the Wizards have to start over. The club needs salary cap room to chase free agents and high draft picks over the next two to three years that might yield a kid like, say, Kentucky's talented playmaker John Wall.

The Wizards weren't going to win anything keeping that group together any longer. Every night they took the court together as of late was a waste of the franchise's time. The team had simply reached its expiration date, probably more than a year ago. Keeping Stevenson (over Roger Mason Jr.) was a huge mistake; paying Gilbert Arenas $111 million turned out to be one of the league's biggest mistakes in years.

There's no easy fix. Nothing quick is going to spin the Wizards 180 degrees. Waving goodbye to Butler and perhaps Jamison is swallowing the medicine. It's going to take the Wizards, if they're incredibly lucky, two or three years to get back where they were in 2004-05 when they won 45 games and a playoff series.

Don't spend a moment assessing the trade from the standpoint of what kind of talent the Wizards received in return. Drew Gooden's contract is up at the end of the season. And Josh Howard's might as well be because the club holds the option on next season, and Howard is a shell of the player he was in 2006 when he was an all star, Robin to Dirk Nowitzki's Batman, and a big reason why the Mavericks were able to get within two victories of an NBA championship.

But some very strange behavior, featuring revelations about marijuana use, moodiness and a couple of injuries completely sabotaged Howard's career to the point where he simply isn't a front-line player anymore. But again, he's not part of the big plan. Neither are Quinton Ross and James Singleton. It's all for cap room, which is absolutely the way to go.

The tough part around here, once the season reaches mid-May and the Wizards are praying for lottery position, will be watching the Mavericks enter the playoffs with Butler and Haywood (it's hard to imagine the Mavs keeping Stevenson) forming a formidable front line with Nowitzki.

Kobe Bryant went as far as to pronounce the Mavericks a serious threat to his Lakers in the Western Conference. I wouldn't second that, but the Mavericks do look to be even with Utah and closer to Denver. Haywood's a big defensive upgrade (from Gooden) and ought to help Dallas considerably if the Mavs have to go against Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in a best-of-seven series. The Mavericks, remember, went after Orlando center Martin Gortat last summer but the Magic matched Dallas' free agent offer. And it shouldn't surprise anybody if Butler returns to his 20-points-per-night form, freed from the current Wizards offense, which marginalized him.

As Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said, "...fresh scenery will just energize him" and Butler's ability to score "will take a lot of pressure off Dirk."

The Mavericks should be trying to fortify the roster for one last playoff run, before Nowitzki (31 years old) and Jason Kidd (soon to be 37) are simply too old. The Wizards should be trying to make wholesale changes. And if they can clear more cap room by dealing Jamison to a contender in return for an expiring contract or a good, young player, they should. Jamison told me a few weeks ago he would not ask for a trade, not with the franchise dealing with the death of owner Abe Pollin and the Arenas drama. But Jamison shouldn't have to ask for a trade; the Wizards should reward him for changing the culture of the place when he arrived back in '04-'05. One would understand if Jamison was jealous of Haywood and Butler now.

The biggest losers will be the people who pay full NBA ticket prices but now have to watch a team entering full-fledged rebuilding mode. Of course, the most hopeful folks in town look at what Ted Leonsis and his management team have done with the Capitals and hope for a similar basketball renaissance. It would be easier to do if the Wizards get lucky enough in the lottery to draft the kind of player the Capitals got when they selected Alexander Ovechkin. That takes a level of good fortune the franchise hasn't known since Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes were in Bullets uniform.

But the first steps, like dealing off all the known assets to try to acquire new ones, have to be the boldest. The big trade with Dallas amounts to a nice first step, little more.

By

Michael Wilbon

 |  February 14, 2010; 10:03 AM ET  |  Category:  NBA , Wizards Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Wilbon, who is Father Hesburgh? What has he done for blacks around the world, whether it be the civil rights movement in this country or impoverished blacks in other countries, such as Africa? Yet, you have the audacity to call Notre Dame a racist school because they fired a coach who couldn't win and refused to recruit? How dare you. Know your history - your ignorance is embarrassing.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | February 17, 2010 5:05 PM
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Has Wilbon apologized yet for this piece of journalistic slander/garbage now that ND fired Weis? Is ND now racist against white coaches now they it fired a white coach?

"Notre Dame, the school that never before fired a coach before his initial contract expired, fired the first black head coach the school had ever hired in any sport. I’m sure everybody ever associated with Notre Dame will tell you color had nothing to do with letting Willingham go, that it’s totally a coincidence, which is like spitting in somebody’s face and telling him it’s a rain drop."

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | February 17, 2010 4:56 PM
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@PeteBowling1: you think I threw a "racist bone" because I questioned whether Wilbon, a journalist who often plays the race card, received any preferential treatment as a journalist because of the color of his skin? I did not answer that question - really that's for Wilbon and people that know his career to answer. But, for you to claim that posing that question is throwing a "racist bone" to me demonstrates that you're incapable of having an honest discussion relating to race in this country. Keep in mind, Attorney General Holder, wants us to stop being cowards when it comes to discussing issues relating to race. Should any race be given preferential treatment? Should racial quotas exist? Should the Rooney Rule exist? Those are questions, not "racist bones". By the way, what is a "racist bone" - you just make that up?

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | February 17, 2010 4:41 PM
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@Bazteal:
Let me clarify - Arenas told Javaris he'd shoot him in the face and then Arenas feloniously brought several guns into the Verizon Center for the purpose of again threatening Javaris). Here are the facts Arenas stipulated to:

Prosecutor Chris Kavanaugh, reading from a statement of facts that Arenas agreed to, said the disagreement developed during a team flight back from Phoenix. The other player offered to settle matters with a fist fight, but Arenas, 28, said he was too old for that and suggested he would instead burn the other player’s car or SHOOT HIM IN THE FACE. The argument on the plane ended with the other player saying he would shoot Arenas in his surgically repaired knee. Two days later, Arenas brought at least one gun to the Verizon Center in a black backpack. He laid out four guns on a chair in front of the other player’s locker with a sign saying, “Pick one.”

How many of us would get our jobs back after doing something like that? Especially if we were one of the most overpaid persons in our industry.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | February 17, 2010 4:24 PM
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"How can the Wizards move Arenas with his horrible contract?"

I second that. What are some options?

Posted by: dclifer97 | February 16, 2010 4:44 PM
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How can you justify saying that the fans are getting ripped off and then, in the same breath (or stroke of the pen), say trade Jameson as a reward or to "free" him ? First, making millions to play a game is not exactly Alcatraz. Second, the fans are the ones who are bound by the season ticket "contract" that they paid for. You can trade Jameson, but do it for business reasons, not for him to be able to go get a ring.

Posted by: bkhoward1 | February 16, 2010 4:00 PM
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damn it hurts to have your teams guts ripped out. i know it probably had to be done but ouch. so the moral of the story is don't bring guns to work because you will kill your team. just hope the ping pong balls bounce our way.

Posted by: jlogan117 | February 16, 2010 1:03 PM
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EYEKEY416,
You're right. To that I would add that the league is rigged...ever since Michael Jordan showed up and introduced the crying game. (Hence, Phil Jackson, LeBron James, Wilbon...)

POSTED BY: MCSOBRAN

Not to get off topic, but the crying game has been around in the NBA long before MJ. Even in just my limited memory, Larry Bird and Danny Ainge were cryin big time before MJ was even drafted.

Posted by: ts35 | February 16, 2010 12:36 PM
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1. Gil was guilty of a felony, a felony relating to his use of a hand gun against a fellow player at the Verizon Center - WIZ SHOULD FIGHT TO THE DEATH TO VOID HIS CONTRACT - what's required to void a contract - Ray Carruthing someone? At that point it's irrelevant because the guy's in jail for the duration of the contract. The Players Association will lose out in the end as wealthy folks get tired of thug culture in the NBA and stop supporting the NBA - it's in the PA's long-term interest to put their foot down on this garbage -salary caps are directly set by revenue.
2. Ernie had to get a draft pick for the salary dump and did not. I will never accept that this was a good
3. Fire Ernie - he's been a disaster and has run this franchise into Clipperland - actually the Clippers' future is looking was better than the Wiz at present.
4. Don't trade Jamison for nothing. We'd be better off keeping him. The Wiz WILL NOT be players in FA - no one will come to this franchise in a free fall.
Posted by: BulletsFan1 | February 14, 2010 4:46 PM
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'Wo,Wo, Wo, poster! Like yourself, I'm sure there are a lot of us Bullet/Wiz fans who are upset, But... we have got to keep it on the real side!

1. First, Gil did not ' use of a hand gun against a fellow player at the Verizon Center.' All published reports were that he showed the gun to a fellow player (of which like you I do not condone. But Using a hand gun against a fellow player...Those appear to be some very powerful and choice words of your own.

2.You stated: "Ernie had to get a draft pick for the salary dump and did not. I will never accept that this was a good."

Last checked, the daft deadline is not over til' Thursday, so even if Ernie doesn’t get a draft pick, your comments are a bit premature. He still has time to pull off something. Let's see if he humors us, huh?

3.Additionally you state: "Fire Ernie - he's been a disaster and has run this franchise into Clipperland."

Now Firing Ernie, I would have to agree with you on that!!! Although it is easy for us to project ourselves as a better GM than Ernie from a 'hindsight' position. This guy was not playing an amateur card game whereby, if he played the wrong car, he could take it back! He had to make some choices, and unfortunately, they did not all turn out right. That is a part of life.
I hope he gets another shot to straighten things out....Just not here in D.C.

Just some thoughts.....(can't say I know more than you or anyone else). Just a thought.
Peace!

Posted by: bazteal | February 16, 2010 2:17 AM
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didnt you also think that Ike Austin for Ben Wallace, Terry Davis, Tim Legler and Jeff McInnis was a good trade?

spend some more time in dc and you'll realize that us average fans aren't as stupid as you think.

Posted by: PindarPushkin | February 16, 2010 12:03 AM
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check your facts wilbon, josh howard was an all star in 2007, not 2006.

Posted by: JamiesonT | February 15, 2010 7:56 PM
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Heheheheh, silly humans and their exchange systems, heheheh..Some wise-a** Victor Charlie posted memos on a bunch of dead American soldiers after an Tet offensive ambush, saying " We've got the x-rays back from the lab, and we think we know what your problem is..."..heheheh..how f***in' buddhist, heheheh...

Posted by: frak | February 15, 2010 4:50 PM
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wilbon=captain obvious.wish I could make my living writing this drivel.

Posted by: rfsjms | February 15, 2010 4:32 PM
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Good Article, Wilbon.

The Truth is Polin got lucky early did not know how to run a Pro Team. The guy was in construction.
He should have sold the team long time ago.
Grunfield just not the one. He's snake bitten or something lol

The NBA looks real shaky. Especially the way Sterns control everything. The Refs and lottery gives it a tainted look.
It's a STAR AND DUNK LEAGUE. A carry is now called a crossover.

What will they look like now when they hit the floor? WIZARDRIEE

Posted by: SOLVBACK | February 15, 2010 3:56 PM
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The curse over this franchise is Abe Pollin. I like many in the community have tremendous respect for the guy. As a fan of the wizards I also realize he was a great and caring man, but his rule of the Wizards post 1979 can be considered the WORST of any other nba owner during that same time. Yes, Verizon Center is great, kudos to him for that but the product inside is Terrible and his failure is even highlighted by what Ted has done with the CAPS! Sure #8 is once in lifetime player, but do the caps ever get that draft slot if not for his previous decisions to cure the franchise.

Sadly, and I'm not involved in negotiations, it appears the ghost of Abe or probably the greedy family members and friends who employed with no regard for the success of the franchise now appear to be making it harder for Ted to own the building and franchise? Given the events this year wouldn't it be best for all with a SPEEDY transition. I mean heck with all the money the Wizards stole from season ticket holders for the past 30 years I can't imagine they don't have enough money for both sides to split the difference and sign over the team to speed up the transformation! Isn't that What Abe would really want for his community?

Posted by: jdb70 | February 15, 2010 2:56 PM
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wonder how much Dallas fans will enjoy Caron's "shake and bake" when he gets stuffed more often than not.
Posted by: richs91 | February 15, 2010

Finally a comment from someone who actually watched the Wizards play. Not sure if anyone in the media does. Wilbon?

Posted by: bobilly2 | February 15, 2010 2:19 PM
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Thug Wannabes

Posted by: hessone | February 15, 2010 2:11 PM
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If I bring a gun to my office I get fired and arrested. After I get out of jail I may even get sued ina civil procedure by my ex employer for breach. The last thing anybody is thinking about is buying me out. Why does Gil get a multi million dollar payout for bringing a gun to work again?

Posted by: sjp879 | February 15, 2010 12:03 PM
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What top line free agent in his right mind would want to play here next season???? We will be New Jersey in 2011-12

Posted by: BruinSteve | February 15, 2010 11:57 AM
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Get lucky in the lottery and just pick up a less coveted (than James-Wade-Bosh-Stoudemire free agent) and you have, e.g., the following as the 2010-2011 starting lineup:

John Wall PG, Nick Young SG, David Lee PF,
Dominic McGuire or Mike Miller SF and Javale McGee C.

The point is, as other posters have noted, in the NBA rebuilding came come quickly with a single top notch draft choice and one free agent.

Posted by: phil27 | February 15, 2010 10:57 AM
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mlbfaninVA - You bought full season tickets? Are you insane?

Posted by: bal503 | February 15, 2010 10:53 AM
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Wow Wilbon you are so insightful. How do you do it. You have become the Paris Hilton of Sports Writers. Stop it. Write something of substance. This is beyond obvious.
Possible Comments.
How is Dan Snyder destroying the NFL like he destroyed the Redskins.
How Dan Snyder destroyed the Rooney rule and Jerry Gray.
How Gilbert Arenas should be sued for fraud because he is one.
Take a position of substance and stop playing look at me. You are becoming a joke.

Posted by: HelloNewman1 | February 15, 2010 10:42 AM
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This is another Washington Wizard mistake like the D. Howard's salary contract.


Richard Bumbrey, Jr.

Posted by: rwb5442003 | February 15, 2010 10:15 AM
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I wonder how much Dallas fans will enjoy Caron's "shake and bake" when he gets stuffed more often than not.

Posted by: richs91 | February 15, 2010 10:00 AM
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the curse started when the bullets wouldn't pay earl the pearl the money he deserved. yes they won one championship but overall they've been horrible for years and years. the team needs new leadership from big ted. he's done a great job with the caps and can do the same with the wizards. he can start by re-naming the team and changing the uniforms.

Posted by: fkterp | February 15, 2010 9:54 AM
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I'm still shocked by Butler's atitude and that Haywood is gone. For the longest time, Butler has said he wants to stay here, but this year, why not catch and shoot? Why try to keep breaking people down who are not there...play in the system Butler!! It hurts Wilbon..alot. And Haywood..he was my guy..solid defense, anchored their team defense..and even a little bit of offense was decent for me from him. It hurts alot to see these 2 go the way they did..and Stevenson is gone too? Where is the team headed? What is their identity? I have a sour taste in my mouth and I don't think it'll go away anytime soon.

Posted by: leopsan | February 15, 2010 9:47 AM
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There is still more work to be done! Jameson deserves a better place to play. Grunfeld needs to be fired. Those silly uniforms need to be replaced, and that dumb name has to be changed in order to break from the past culture of losing. I know the "Bullets" name is unpopular right now so anything other than Wizards will do. That name just signifies that the organization is made up of court jesters and clowns.

Posted by: alphadog2 | February 15, 2010 9:47 AM
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@BulletsFan1

My comment is short and to the point. Yours is long and boring.

Posted by: hessone | February 15, 2010 9:37 AM
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Good bye Brendan - you have underperformed here for the last 6 or 7 years and it is time to go. Luckily for you, it will be easier to hide under the "mess" of the current Wizards organization.

Time for another team to realize you are not an NBA Center.

Posted by: Woodbridge45 | February 15, 2010 9:21 AM
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I agree with Mike. But I regret that Ernie is the one embarking on this blowup-and-rebuild job now, since he's the party most responsible for having presided over the team's current situation in the first place and should be held accountable, only there's no new owner in place yet to fire him. Not that I blame him for resigning Gilbert -- at the time I don't know how he could have done otherwise, even though I never actually believed a Gilbert-led team could compete for a championship.

But letting Mason go was absolutely a mistake, as was permitting the Brendan/Etan situation to fester for too long, wasting time and picks on longshot projects that unsurprisingly never came to fruition like Pecherov and Ramos, failing to enforce the company line concerning some of Gil and Stephenson's choicer public comments and gestures, permitting "face of the franchise" Gil to flout the direction of his head coach (a symptom of the [lack of] culture allowed around here that ultimately led to where we are now), never landing the team a legit point guard, never fielding a team that played defense, failing to fully maximize the development of young guys like Blatche and Young, and most of all pointlessly firing Eddie Jordan -- the club's only successful head coach in recent memory but who wasn't Ernie's own hire -- in a vain attempt to take the heat off of himself for an underperforming lineup and chronic injury woes. Too bad Ted wasn't able to assume ownership already and get a new GM in here to start cleaning up Ernie's fallen house of cards from the start.

Posted by: evanescent_panoply | February 15, 2010 9:12 AM
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The chances that the Wizards will be able to void Arenas's contract are about zero. Sprewell strangled his coach and the team couldn't void his deal. Although Butler may have been their best player last season, he's now playing for his 4th team. Players get dealt multiple times for 2 reasons: they're problems in the locker room and/or they're expendable journeymen. Caron will probably go down as the latter...

Posted by: randysbailin | February 15, 2010 8:49 AM
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Good start, now finish the job. Wilbon, you were banging the Gilbert drum louder and louder when he was signed. Tony had this right - too unstable a person. Where is Tony?

Posted by: KDSmallJr | February 15, 2010 7:17 AM
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Rediculous assesment. This team has nothing...Who will want to come here next year? Worse than a first year franchise team. No telling how long it will take to rebuild. The absolute worst move any NBA team could make!

Posted by: bobilly2 | February 15, 2010 6:35 AM
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As bad as it is, can't blame the Wiz for the Arenas contract. He was the star of the team and it was making the playoffs for the first time in years. The Wiz won't play him again, and he doesn't want to sit inactive for the remainder of the contract, so there will be a buyout I think. I'm a DC transplant to Philly where I watched Iverson, as great as he is, make a good team better, but never a good team great. I see the same thing in Arenas. This is the first time I can remember the team being truly blown up, and it was time.

I really hope the new ownership can turn the Wiz around. It's been miserable over the years watching teams like San Antonia or LA go from best to worst back to best while the Wiz stay at their mediocre best. A little luck in the draft wouldn't hurt either.

Posted by: wavery315 | February 15, 2010 6:25 AM
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Bulletsfan1...do you think Mr.Wilbon is as successful and as popular as he is on PTI because he is Black ? Do you think Mr.Tony is on PTI because of his dashing good looks AND the vast Jewish media conspiracy ?
Do you think they are successful because they are articulate,intelligent,witty,funny and very knowledgable about sports,perhaps ?
Perhaps you should look a little closer to home before tossing the "racist bone",my friend.

Posted by: petebowling1 | February 15, 2010 1:26 AM
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team need a low post player who can score and get fouls.if they want to get rid of Arenas stop worrying about his contract for there a lot of team that want him so the Wizard should keep him for they already save 10 mil and get a real point guard and player who play defense. wish them luck for I don't think that they know how.

Posted by: lostdogrwd1011 | February 14, 2010 11:51 PM
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"But it was a good one at the time it was made"

Gilberts contract never made sense, after three surgeries and the management knowing full well about him crapping in a team mates shoes and stealing rims. Grunfield was an idiot for doing that contract.

Posted by: nowhine | February 14, 2010 11:47 PM
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As a DC transplant, I'm the lone Washington fan living in Dallas ... and while he is viewed as an afterthought in this deal, I'm ecstatic to see my team getting Quinton Ross.

Yes, I'm serious.

"The Q" is one of the best defenders in the NBA (read a comment when he played for the Clippers where Dunleavy said his defense alone made him as valuable as any player on the roster outside of Elton Brand), and incredibly versatile — he can play SG or SF, and can defend anyone from point guards to power forwards (as long as they're not overly burly types). He doesn't shoot much, but he is a better shooter than you think, and I guarantee Coach Saunders and The Q's new teammates will never hear a complaint out of him — he's very quiet and completely selfless.

Is he a star? No. As a guy who always defers to his teammates, he'll never demand the spotlight or any headlines, but he is a great guy (can you tell I know him a little?) and is a perfect teammate. If nothing else, he should be told to shoot more, but Dunleavy and Randy Carlisle both have been quoted as saying "every team needs a guy like The Q."

I'm a huge fan of his, and even while the team is in a massive rebuilding mode, I hope my favorite NBA player sticks with my team.

Posted by: DC2Dallas | February 14, 2010 11:39 PM
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Article is right, biggest losers in this are the folks like me who bought full season tickets believing the crap out of the Wiz front office and are now stuck with 3 months supply of worthless tickets---nobody to buy them and a pathethic product on court. Seriously, EG should be fired for his dishonesty---saying the Wiz got talent in return is a blantant lie, none of those guys will be re-signed, he just gave away 2 of the team's best 3 players for cap room. He is incompetent, just a few weeks ago the front office had a season ticket holder event and promised they would not dump salaries nor have a fire sale. Total lie. I've had season tickets for several years but unless the Wiz do something proactive and offer some serious compensation for this latest BS, I refuse to trust them enough to buy season tickets again and will not do so again until they have a competitive product and a professional front office.

Posted by: mlbfaninVA | February 14, 2010 10:47 PM
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I blame E Jordan and Flip for continuing to play Caron and Jamison out of position! The Wizards biggest problems for the last three years are 1. Gil was out and 2. Jamison is the starting PF. There was a lot of talk about Gil not playing D but if Jamison, Caron, or Haywood posed any threat of blocking a shot, you would not notice it. Of all the Pg's in the East, only Rondo would probably "shut the opposition down". What the good teams in the East have is a second line of defense (shot blockers or shot changers due to their height). The Wiz have relied on "smallball" for far too long and a change was needed. Even though it was short lived, we gotta get back to Wizards fan's being in the builing for the "primetime" game.

Posted by: SkinzNWiz | February 14, 2010 9:12 PM
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But Jamison shouldn't have to ask for a trade..."

Mike, you forgot to say Jamison also does not deserve to be traded to a "loser" team. If EG does that then he just trade himself.

Jamison is a class act and deserves to be on a team that can win. He would be a great fit in San Antonio, or maybe Cleveland.

"How can the Wizards move Arenas with his horrible contract?"

I said the very same thing before Shaq was traded to Pheonix. If Shaq can be moved, anyone can. You just need the right partner and as Wilbon has suggested in the past it's going to be after all of the top free agents are gone and someone gets desperate to take Arenas for peanuts from the Wiz. They will 100% trade Arenas this summer.

"Otherwise, major FAIL."

Typical comment from someone who does not know basketball.

"What in the heck has Ernie Grunfeld ever done as an NBA GM?"

Nothing, he should be the first one out the door when Ted takes over the franchise.

What I think is funny, like Wilbon or not, he's talks to people everyday in sports that we do not have access to and more often then not he's right. Yet people think they know more then he does just to be spiteful. Pretty lame IMHO.

Everything he has said in regards to Wizards I agree with and it had to be done. I've been a Bullets/Wizards fan all of my life and it's been a bitter pill to swallow as a fan. Hopefully Ted can change things with the Wiz like he did with the Caps.

God knows it can't get any worse. I also said that right after MJ was shown the door...boy was I wrong.

The Wiz are just clearing space right now. Butthe good thing is basketball is not like any other sport. You get a good pick, make a trade or two and you're right back in it. Boston was horrid a few years back. They trade for Garnett and Allen and BAM! They win a Championship. The Miami Heat trade for Shaq and draft D.Wade and BAM! They win a championship. Same thing happend to the Lakers also.

Relax people. It's going to be pretty lean the next few years around here for bball.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | February 14, 2010 9:09 PM
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The lottery is stupid. No other major sport has it, and the league should fine any team t5hey deem not trying to win. a truly awful team could end up picking 10th.
Wilbon should have pointed out that while
dismantling the team might be the correct move...it was Ernie who put that team together in the first place. Now they are gonna let him rebuild it...why does that sound like a really bad idea?

Posted by: blazerguy234 | February 14, 2010 9:00 PM
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Hey plfunk,

I checked out all the posts here and yours had to be the best, and probably most insightful. Ol' Gil is UNDER CONTRACT and cant hold the Wiz hostage any more than they can hold him!

As bad as things here are gonna be, I would LOVE to hear about him screwing up his career more and more here while the franchise rebuilds, young players play out their contracts and the few fans that come to see the other teams play BOO HIM OUT THE ARENA.

So if he doesn't play nice, he's gonna be so messed over in DC he wont be able to eat out at Appleby's in Suitland!

Now if only Grunfeld could get a clue and get draft pix for Antawn... and then get his own self outta town...

Wow, what a world.

Posted by: good_grief91 | February 14, 2010 8:57 PM
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It is easy to say now that Arenas's contract was a bad one.

But it was a good one at the time it was made.

Arenas played like a superstar and everyone that reads this blog would have called for the GM's termination if Gil was not resigned.

He may not be a superstar in the future, but I believe he will be a allstar again and one of the top 20 players in the NBA

Posted by: scmitch | February 14, 2010 7:27 PM
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Though I'm not sure who would want his contract, can Arenas be traded while he is suspended or does any trade have to wait until he is re-instated?

Posted by: interactingdc | February 14, 2010 6:15 PM
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@HessOne: a comment like "Wilbon = Race Baiter" is just lazy, and name calling. I don't entirely disagree with your comment, but I think you should say something of substance when you post. My perception of Wilbon is that he only speaks out against one form of racism - white against black - and he sometimes does so when race is not at issue. Yet, rarely, if ever, do you hear him speak out against any other form of racism.

I certainly am not all that impressed with his journalistic insights, usually sophomoric (e.g., the trade with the Mavs is a great first step), and many times he waits to give his opinion on issues until the jury is back (e.g., resigning Arenas was a bad move). Would he have reached the journalistic heights he has were he a white male? Has he been given any preferential treatment as a journalist because of the color of his skin? I don't know, but I suppose there are many other prominent sports journalists, white and black, that are mediocre. I certainly would never wager based on his opinions, you'd lose way more often than you'd win. I certainly don't recall Wilbon banging the drum to fire Wes Unseld as GM of the Bullets - isn't that a sports journalist's job?

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | February 14, 2010 5:41 PM
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The Wizards huge mistake was the Arenas contract. Even before his arrest it was easy to tell he was not a game changing player who you could build a team around.

Sadly for the NBA the Wizards situation is not unique. Basically every franchise outside of LA, Cleveland, Orlando, and maybe Denver has nothing to watch. Even Boston will be much like the Wizards soon as they are only getting older.

Stern and the NBA definitely have to do something about giant contracts like Arenas' that destroy a franchise and basically render it's product unwatchable. Without a significant change that eliminates these crazy long term contracts the NBA will continue to sink in popularity which may even lead to teams to fold as more of them become major money losers for the owners.

Posted by: skinsFan74 | February 14, 2010 5:25 PM
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Serous question here; What in the heck has Ernie Grunfeld ever done as an NBA GM? He has never been with a winner...ever. I asked a friend this same question and he responded that Ernie drafted Micael Reddd in Milwauke. I told my friend if that is what Ernie has to be proud of he should resign. Now I am hearing that Ernie declined a first round pick from Portland. Ernie needs to be fired if he doesn't have the integrity to resign first.

Posted by: sjp879 | February 14, 2010 5:03 PM
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EYEKEY416,
You're right. To that I would add that the league is rigged...ever since Michael Jordan showed up and introduced the crying game. (Hence, Phil Jackson, LeBron James, Wilbon...)

Posted by: mcsobran | February 14, 2010 5:01 PM
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How can the Wizards move Arenas with his horrible contract?
Posted by: blr851 | February 14, 2010 12:04 PM
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They can't.

Arenas will be stuck here for the next 4 years playing in a basketball hell that he created for himself.

If he's smart he'll take a buyout and salvage his career someplace else.

As it stands, he'll grab a $20 million paycheck and join Nick Young, McGuire, Blatche and McGee in next year's starting lineup, and have a grand ole time shooting 40-foot 3-pointers on a 15-win team.

And considering how he's scalped the franchise and then sunk the ship, it's what he deserves.

Posted by: p1funk | February 14, 2010 4:58 PM
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1. Gil was guilty of a felony, a felony relating to his use of a hand gun against a fellow player at the Verizon Center - WIZ SHOULD FIGHT TO THE DEATH TO VOID HIS CONTRACT - what's required to void a contract - Ray Carruthing someone? At that point it's irrelevant because the guy's in jail for the duration of the contract. The Players Association will lose out in the end as wealthy folks get tired of thug culture in the NBA and stop supporting the NBA - it's in the PA's long-term interest to put their foot down on this garbage -salary caps are directly set by revenue.

2. Ernie had to get a draft pick for the salary dump and did not. I will never accept that this was a good

3. Fire Ernie - he's been a disaster and has run this franchise into Clipperland - actually the Clippers' future is looking was better than the Wiz at present.

4. Don't trade Jamison for nothing. We'd be better off keeping him. The Wiz WILL NOT be players in FA - no one will come to this franchise in a free fall.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | February 14, 2010 4:46 PM
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After all the trades are made this week, Grunfeld himself needs to be fired.

The last thing Washington needs is Grunfeld attempting to start the rebuilding process.

As a seasoned GM he should have known that Arenas was not the type of personality you put out there as the face of a franchise, he was simply too brittle and lacking in discipline and to pay him $111M was the height of lunacy.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 14, 2010 3:45 PM
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It's too bad you haters out there don't want to admit it, but both Wilbon & Steinberg are dead-on correct about the sad state of the Wiz. This team is years away from being decent, and even further than that from being good--and that's only IF they get incredibly lucky in the draft (not gonna happen--see Steinberg) & make smart moves with free agents (also unlikely--why would anyone with championship aspirations want to come here?). Wiz should drop ticket prices substantially for the next 4-5 years, cuz this team is gonna suck for at least that long.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | February 14, 2010 3:09 PM
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I'm happy for Caron. He deserves better than the Wizards organization..

Posted by: wewintheylose | February 14, 2010 2:39 PM
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Wilbon,

There are different points of view and yours is one of them. In fact you just would not sit back and let things take place on their own. You posted articles about your opinion on Gilbert Arenas' contract be voided by the Wizards in the MEDIA! That plants a seed in Grunfeld head, and I'm sure there is a lot of CAP space there. Gilbert Arenas made the same mistake that others have and you and others offer no chance for redemption. Remember when Grunfeld kept Stevenson and traded the real shooter on the Wizards?
Now you can't think of any other way to salvage Butler, Jamison and Haywood as your core? I'm starting to think that this whole media thing has gotten to your head! You big time now buddy. But in your life as a young man with no money have you ever made a mistake your regretted. Well in the world of professional sports young men are exploited for their abilities at much younger less mature ages and are handsomely paid at that. These young men need help,not your ridicule or management suggestions. Your are not in the front office and Grunfeld does this in the absence of a dedicated owner. You know how this works he'll be run from town when the people stop showing up at games and not renewing season tickets or not even watching them on TV which is where I'm headed. Fortunately, you make a living out of reporting and opinionating so I guess you will still have to watch them without a bag over your head. THINK Wilbon, THINK

Posted by: dcchamp1 | February 14, 2010 2:07 PM
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bring back unseld and start paying everyone about 50 bucks a game again...then, they can lower ticket prices...who would pay what they want now?

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | February 14, 2010 2:03 PM
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You mention Leonsis and the Pollin family. How about the Wiz do the right thing first, and let Leonsis take charge??? Let him fix the Wiz like he did the Caps. It all starts from the top.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | February 14, 2010 1:43 PM
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Clandestinetomcat,

I've seen you make this comment before so I feel obligated to shed some legal light. There is NO way that Arenas' deal will be voided. Yes, the nba has a "morals clause" open-ended enough to at least allow the Wizards to bring a claim for voiding the Arenas deal; sadly, at least for us Wiz fans, precedence will not allow a successful voidance. The Players Association would fight full-throttle against any attempt at voiding a player's contract, and history says that they win. Remember Sprewell, you know, the guy who literally chocked his coach...yeah, his deal could not get voided (and many would argue that his action was worse). The odds of voiding Gil are a very long-shot.

Granted, the judge's ruling on Arenas' case will have bearing. If Arenas escapes without jail time then waive the word void goodbye. If he ends up getting hit hard with jail time, serving while next season would be in play, then I think the ability to void his deal is possible. After all, that is exactly what happened to Vick, and I think because he was unable to play as a result of his crime helped Atlanta's case. However, Gil will likely not receive a very harsh punishment. Even with past possession charges, Gil has been good of late, volunteering to talk to kids about guns. I think he will end up serving time, but only for around 3 months. Gil will be available to play next season and he will have already been punished by the league for missing the remainder of this season plus the salary he would earn. He will likely enter at some early point next season eligible to play.

I know this is not what many want to hear, but it is the likely result, whether Gil rightfully deserves to have his deal voided or not. Wilbon touched on the best way to get rid of Arenas earlier; wait for New York to lose out on LeBron, Bosh, and Wade and then dangle Arenas in front of them. He is risky and will generate a lot of negativity, at least at first, but he is the biggest headline player a big headline city and franchise will have the option of obtaining. We will see how everything goes from there.

As for this trade. Picks would have been preferred but this is better than standing pat. Hope for John Wall and maybe convincing Derek Lee and/or Rudy Gay to come here (Arenas for Lee swap...I know now I'm the one really reaching).

No matter what, the good news is that shipping Arenas out by the start of next season is not impossible.

Posted by: mcgratsp | February 14, 2010 1:40 PM
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If this leads to the Wiz taking all that cap space and successfully putting a full-court press on LeBron this summer, all is well. Otherwise, major FAIL.

Posted by: BMoreChil | February 14, 2010 1:25 PM
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The curse shall be lifted when the Arenas contract is justifiably voided.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | February 14, 2010 1:04 PM
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Cap space makes sense but what recent notable free agents have ever given the Wiz a second thought? I would have expected the Wiz to get some draft picks or prospects for what they gave up to Dallas. Otherwise they could have waited until the end of the year to try and deal Butler and Haywood. Who is going to want to watch this team for the rest of the year? I won't be watching them!

Posted by: Terminator3 | February 14, 2010 12:57 PM
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Man... Wilbon is right. But who here wouldn't love to hear his old sidekick Tony weigh in on the curse of Les Boulez right about now?

Posted by: fundermental | February 14, 2010 12:35 PM
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First of all, with the Wizards/Bullets complete 20+ years of failure in terms of strategy, I wish any move was done AFTER Ted gets in his role as owner. As far as Wilbon, a great journalist, I don't understand this comment
"The club needs salary cap room to chase free agents and high draft picks "

We certainly gave up enough talent to get a low end #1 pick, which is exactly what a team the level of talent of Dallas would have in terms of picking order. How would you not find some way to get that in the deal. Its worth mentioning getting "rid" of Arenas is not going to be easy

Posted by: xjensen | February 14, 2010 12:26 PM
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That would be something if Jamison went to Cleveland and Cleveland met Dallas in the finals .. heh.

Posted by: boblas | February 14, 2010 12:22 PM
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Wilbon = Race Baiter

Posted by: hessone | February 14, 2010 12:07 PM
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How can the Wizards move Arenas with his horrible contract?

Posted by: blr851 | February 14, 2010 12:04 PM
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The lottery is rigged.

Posted by: eyekey416 | February 14, 2010 10:37 AM
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