2008 NBA Preview: #16 Washington Wizards

Offseason Movement: The Wizards big move this offseason was to re-sign Gilbert Arenas to a huge contract (six years, $111 million). By doing so, they were able to keep their core of Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison together. It was a risky signing for the team given all the problems he has had with his balky knee.
Keep Your Eye On: Gilbert’s knee
Simply stated, if the Wizards can keep Arenas, Jamison and Butler healthy, they’re probably a playoff team. If they lose any one of those players for an extended period of time, they’ll struggle to make the postseason.
The Big Question: Was the Arenas signing the best thing for the Wizards?
One school of thought would to let Arenas and Jamison go (via free agency or trade) and build around the much more affordable Butler. But he’s 28, and by the time the Wizards were “rebuilt,” he’d be past his prime. The Wizards pretty much had to sign Arenas and Jamison and hope that another player or two (Andray Blatche, Nick Young, JaVale McGee, etc.) can emerge as a quality starter or role player. The Wizards aren’t going to have any salary cap room for a while, so they may be regretting this summer’s moves in two or three years when they’re still a .500 team and in cap hell.
Outlook: If all goes well, the Wizards will be safely in the playoffs. They’ll eventually lose in the first or second round. If a star gets injured for any length of time, they’ll miss the playoffs. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

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