Thursday was exit interview day for the Washington Wizards. Players cleaned out their lockers for the offseason, engaged in parting conversations with the coaching staff, and met with the media as they trickled out of the Verizon Center with their belongings. JaVale McGee and Yi Jianlian lugged big garbage sacks full of their stuff while Nick Young was carefully leaving with a fat head poster of himself.
Throughout the individual interviews, there was an overlapping sense of reflection and relief that a long season had concluded. Jordan Crawford was thankful for the opportunity he received with the Wizards. Trevor Booker gave himself a B-minus grade for his rookie campaign. John Wall emphasized learning how to lead grown men in the NBA. And Nick Young mused nostalgic about his four-year career with the organization.
The past month of solid play provided optimism for next season, but since the Wizards missed the playoffs, the unknown future of a labor dispute is no longer looming. It has now officially moved to the forefront, with the clock ticking down to the end of June when the CBA expires.
This was apparent in Mo Evans, Vice President of the NBA Players Association Executive Committee, articulating the Union’s positions of not budging on a hard cap, contract lengths or giving up the Larry Bird Rights that past generations of players had won. Also, Young proclaiming that he is basically unemployed was a chilling reminder that he might not have a job for awhile, with or without the Wizards.