What went wrong in Washington?

The Washington Wizards are involved in some trade rumors as tomorrow’s deadline approaches.

The Wizards, sources said, quickly rebuffed Cleveland’s offer of Wally Szczerbiak’s $13.8 million expiring contract for former All-Star forward Antawn Jamison.

One source with knowledge of the Wizards’ thinking said Tuesday that team president Ernie Grunfeld is determined to continue resisting interest in Jamison and Caron Butler because the club has renewed hope that injured starters Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood will play in a small handful of games before the season ends, affording the Wiz an opportunity to evaluate the full team they hoped to field this season.

Looking at Washington’s payroll, the team is in a really bad way. They owe the injury-prone Arenas a mind-boggling $96 million over the next five years and they owe the 32-year-old Jamison around $40 million over the next three seasons.

I watched Ernie Grunfeld run my beloved Bucks for four seasons and he did a poor job. He picked a few first round busts — Joe Pryzbilla, Marcus Haislip — and was responsible for breaking up Milwaukee’s big three — Ray Alllen, Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell. Combined, he traded those three players away for Toni Kukoc, Leon Smith, Desmond Mason, Anthony Peeler, Joe Smith and the about-to-be-a-free-agent Gary Payton. Ridiculous. His only saving grace was that he found a gem in he second round of the 2000 NBA Draft when he selected Michael Redd with the 43rd overall pick.

Now, after almost six years of running the Wizards, the team is in last place in the Eastern Conference and has one of the ugliest payroll situations in the league. And he doesn’t want to make a move because he wants to “evaluate” the core of Arenas, Butler, Jamison and Haywood? Wasn’t it that same core that failed to get out of the East the past few years? What is there to evaluate? The East is better now and that core isn’t going to get it done.

At 32, Jamison isn’t going to get any better, so they should trade him while they can. At least they can get some salary cap flexibility if they move him. They should build around Arenas (his contract is virtually unmovable unless he comes back strong) and Butler (one of the league’s best bargains) and hope they can get competitive before those two guys get too old. Arenas is 27 and Butler turns 29 next month, so they have a three- or four-year window in which to make another run.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>