Thursday February 10, 2011 1:15 p.m.
By Frank Hanrahan
WIZARDS PAGE WIZARDS VIDEO
A year ago, the Wizards were the most active team at the trade deadline, shipping basically their entire core roster away to playoff contenders. Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and Deshawn Stevenson were sent to Dallas while Antawn Jamison was dealt to Cleveland, kick-starting the rebuild for the 2010-11 Wizards. This time around, will there be any activity for the Wizards at the deadline or will any team actually want what the Wizards are offering?
Let's take a look at realistic options and what Wizard players could be or should be on the block. We know John Wall isn't going anywhere, but could any of these players be?
Andray Blatche: The Wizards should, without any hesitation, try to deal the 6th-year forward to any takers if there will be any, and therein lies the dilemma. There may be not any one willing to take him. Before the season, Blatche was signed to a long term deal through 2015, and so far this season he has been a major disappointment. It took Blatche about 30 games to round into shape and even though his stats aren't awful, (15.8 ppg, 8.4 rebounds) his defense and his bad habit of just shooting jumpers continues to frustrate.
Perhaps President Ernie Grunfeld can pull of another Gilbert Arenas-like move here and convince a team that Blatche can help them. I just don't see it happening. There are too many red flags with Blatche. Expect him to be a Wizard for many seasons to come.
Kirk Hinrich: The veteran guard is probably the most realistic player to get dealt before the deadline. The Wizards could get a late first rounder for the gritty guard who can provide a contender depth at the guard spot. At this point of the rebuild, the Wizards should be going for as many picks as possible.
Hinrich, who has expressed frustration at times with this youthful group, is stepping up his game at the right time, showcasing his skills to potential suitors, averaging 11.1 points and 4.4 assists per game. The Lakers have been mentioned as a team that could have interest in Hinrich.
Rashard Lewis: Knee and salary make it tough for the Wizards to move the forward again. Lewis came over from Orlando for Gilbert Arenas in December and so far has provided some veteran leadership and some scoring but his recent knee problems and incredible salary make him virtually untradeable. The Wizards would love to move his 20- million dollar- a-year check but that won't happen.
Nick Young: The Wizards won't deal the hot-shooting guard but they should consider it as far as I am concerned. Young has blossomed at home this season and is a contender for Most Improved Player, averaging 17.6 ppg and his stock is high, which makes it the perfect time to deal him for a first-round pick from contending team in need of a spot-up three-point shooter. Teams like the Lakers, Atlanta, Chicago and New Orleans come to mind as possible fits. Don't get me wrong, Young can score the ball specifically at home, but he still has a lot to prove.
Bottom line, the Wizards need draft picks to really implement the "rebuild" they have sold to their fans. They can do that by trading a proven veteran like Hinrich and hope a team is willing to take a risk on Blatche. The Wizards need as many draft picks as they possibly can acquire and there is a never better time than now to get moving on that.
Coach Flip Saunders claimed a few weeks ago that he didn't see the Wizards making any moves before the trade deadline. Owner Ted Leonsis also said Gilbert Arenas wasn't going anywhere...so you see what I'm saying. Anything is possible.