It's No Surprise That Wizards Cautiously Open For Business | Wizards Blog Truth About

No Surprise That Wizards Are Cautiously Open For Business

Updated: December 28, 2009

On Christmas day, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reported, according to at least one NBA executive, that the Wizards were “open for business.” Of course, this could simply mean that Ernie Grunfeld has fielded a call, or made a call, and has had a discussion involving the potential possibilities past “hello.” You know, pretty much doing the job a general manager of a team falling way below expectations should be doing in gauging the value of his players.

No biggie and certainly to be expected despite the initial judgement phase of 20 games being extended to 40 games by Flip Saunders, which is probably a reflection of Grunfeld’s thinking … or at least the message the team president of basketball operations wants to convey to the media and the players.

Spears also reported that Gilbert Arenas is on the table and that the Wizards think highly of JaVale McGee and are unlikely to include him in a deal unless the pot is really sweet.

Again, it’s no shocker that everyone is pretty much available … for the right price, which is a pretty big caveat.

What Spears’ report doesn’t mean is that Grunfeld is ready to blow up the team and start dumping salary. It sounds like, again, according to at least one NBA executive, Grunfeld is simply performing due diligence.

Two days later, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported on several Wizards items of interest in his Weekend Dime. First, Stein reports:

It’s a misnomer, according to one source close to the situation, to say that Washington has been shopping Arenas beyond some exploratory talks with Houston about an Arenas-for-Tracy McGrady swap that would naturally appeal to the Wiz because of McGrady’s huge expiring contract but was never going to tempt the Rockets.

Jettisoning Arenas for a salary dump would be quite foolhardy and could set the franchise back further than keeping him. To the Wizards, Arenas contract isn’t that bad. Sure, four more years at about $80 million is a lot of money. But his return from injury and the progress he’s made on the court this season must be considered. Arenas’ contract is not, by any means, even close to historic Jim McIlvaine, Eddy Curry or Jon Koncak proportions.

Now, whether Arenas can ever be part of a winning team is a debate based on too many unknowns and speculation. To other teams, his contract is obviously bad because it’s predicated on a lot of risk, mostly due to his knee surgeries. Thus, it’s unlikely that anyone offers any assets outside of an expiring contract for Arenas, and actually, most teams might demand assets just to take Arenas off Grunfeld’s hands.

Wizards fans, would you want to give up Arenas and McGee just for McGrady’s expiring contract? Didn’t think so. It simply does not make sense to trade Gilbert unless the Wizards are getting some value in return.

Stein also reports that Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are receiving the most interest from other teams and that Jamison is, “quite frustrated by the ongoing disarray with the Wiz.”

Duh. If anyone on that team isn’t frustrated, then they don’t care about the game of basketball. Now, whether Jamison is ‘get me out of town’ frustrated, as Stein insinuates, remains to be seen.

Finally, Stein reports:

I’m told that the Wizards (A) would insist on at least one more asset because they are not prepared to part with Butler or Jamison merely for cap relief and (B) would do everything they could to avoid sending Jamison to Cleveland because of the tension that has built up in recent years between those teams.

Two things I like to hear as someone with a vested emotional interest in the team. Screw Cleveland. If the Wizards trade Jamison to the Cavs and he goes on to help them win a title then I’ll spit in my own face.

But also, as I clearly believe, it would be highly disappointing if Grunfeld made a strictly salary-dump move. Sure, cut costs, make some creative side deals to avoid paying the luxury tax this year, but don’t get rid of talent without getting back potential, regardless of the cost.

This franchise is not in the best position in the world. Yet, they still aren’t in a bad enough position where they have to wreaking-ball the house and rebuild from scratch. With the trade deadline around seven weeks away, a lateral shake-up is what should be sought at this juncture.

It’s no surprise that the Wizards are cautiously open for business, it just doesn’t mean that they are any closer to pulling the trigger on a deal.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • Andrew

    The Wizards need to make a move as soon as possible. Jamison must be the first to go. Jamison has a big contract , they can’t do a Jamison, and a few more players for Mcgrady? Either way you’ve invested in Arenas and it’s time to go in a different direction.

  • Jonathan

    Arenas’ contract is handcuffing this franchise for many years to come. If I could swap McGee/Arenas for TMacs expiring contract, I would do it in a New York second. What an awful mistake it was to throw 115 million at a shoot-first poing guard coming off three knee surgeries. Gross.

    It looks inevitable we are going to have to blow the whole thing up. I would probably keep Young, McGee if I could and then just start from the ground up.

    What a disgusting year this has turned out to be after I had such high hopes in the off season.

  • Sharon

    The last thing I would do is trad Gil. We will be just like we were when we traded Hamilton, Webber and other players who blew up once they left our court. Maybe Butler and Jamison and throw in Young or something,but I would not trade Gil. We may be losing right now, but Gil is coming back into his own. How about a new GM all together? It will be real interesting to see what
    the new owners are thinking of doing with this team.

  • Matt

    Jonathan – he wasn’t coming off three knee surgeries when he signed that contract. It does look like things need to be shaken up but Arenas isn’t going anywhere. Like it or not, pieces need to be put in place around him.

  • Anthony

    Is Gilbert still giving away his jersey at end of games. If not he should start doing it, and Caron should have pregame mountain dew.

    Arenas contract is not that bad. Larry Hughes would have been bad.

    Say what you will about Gilbert, but he’s not a quitter like Vince Carter or his cousin McGrady. I think Gilbert is going to come all the way back. no one questioned his commitment to improving, and after all that time off, he seems to be able to get in the lane at will again. his knee is not shattered just his confidence.

    Michael Redd’s contract is bad and he was never a max player, never had the league wide appeal of gilbert.

    I don’t think Cleveland would want Jamison, seems like Dallas or San Antonio or Portland would make most sense where he could play off of an Offensive big man and along side a really good point guard.

  • Anthony

    I am so mad they didn’t play McGee last year. KG got regular minutes his rookie year because Minnesota was so bad. Washington was out of it early last year, him having to earn it was garbage, Haywood was out for the year and Blatche didn’t take advantage last year.

    Speaking of Haywood. I would imagine he has the most interest around the league. I wonder how he would do in Portland and what assets we could get back. Maybe involve a third team.

  • I believe Gilbert is throwing his jersey into the crowd. I know he is definitely doing it for away games, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him do it at a home game.

    RE: Cleveland & Jamison … I think they would want him as a big who can spread the floor with Shaq (and LeBron) while being a helluva rebounder.

    Varejao has no offense and Big Z is too plodding to play alongside Shaq.

    RE: McGee, I still think he got many more minutes and development time last year than was to be expected … hard to compare him to KG’s situation.

    The kid is still getting VERY lost on defense, but I wish they would find a way to get him on the court more. His knee has been bothering him lately.

    RE: Trading Haywood

    The problem is that the Wizards are not going to get a big man back.

    Trading Haywood would leave them turning to the free-agent market for a big, which is risky.

    There’s a chance Haywood, who is an un-restricted FA, could leave DC and the Wizards would get nothing.

    However, there’s also a chance that the Wizards could re-sign him for a fair value with the economy being the way that it is.

    Then again, Haywood might be highly sought after if he keeps up these contract year numbers.