This from Ted Leonsis’s blog–
What happens to a fan base that has been promised a bunch of new max free agents, and then it doesn’t get them delivered?
That is the question to a great social experiment I want to see answered later in this NBA off season. Free agents can do what they want. It is out of a team’s control. They are unrestricted free agents. They do what they want, when they want. Good for them. They earned that right.
I never like being not in a semblance of control, not knowing how the strategy will be executed. It actually feels good to NOT be holding our collective breathe right now, doesn’t it?
We will be the tortoise. We will rebuild slow and steady. We still want to win the race. Time will tell which plan works best.
That’s all well and good Ted, except this isn’t really an ordinary offseason. There are four future hall-of-famers available–LeBron, Wade, Pierce, and Nowitzki, along with perennial All-Stars like Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay, and David Lee. There’s a reason this free agent class has been hyped like no other before.
And look, I understand skipping over the all-stars. Often times, those are the guys that get overpaid and drag a team down (we have one on our team right now). But to not even give LeBron, Wade, those guys a passing glance? I’m not unrealistic–out of all the teams that had cap room entering the NBA draft, Washington had the smallest chance of acquiring a big name other than Minnesota and Sacramento. That doesn’t mean the Wizards can’t try though. It’s not like LeBron has given any reads on what he wants for his next team, so why not give him a pitch? Heck, even the Clippers are throwing out an offer.
But this is a new era in D.C. basketball. Ted Leonsis is trying to stop the rampant spending that plagues more than one Washington sports team. If that’s the gameplan, then stick to it. Build around youth, and take on veteran contracts for one year at a time in exchange for draft picks (or as Bulletsforever.com says, the BOYD strategy–Bring Out Your Dead). Washington only halfway did that, because Kirk Hinrich has two years left on his contract. He also put a deep dent in D.C.’s cap room. The Wizards now have 5 or 6 million dollars to spend this free agency. And there are still plenty of holes to fill on this roster.
I’m holding out hope that Washington swings another trade or two to make this more of a youth movement. Finding a way to get rid of Gilbert Arenas would be the ultimate success story. I actually think he’s more of a trade item than Wiz management is letting on. If any of the teams with cap room (mainly New York) strike out in free agency, they may need to appease the fan base by taking in Arenas.
Moving forward, Washington will go with the slow and steady free agency strategy. Even Leonsis realizes (hopefully) that Washington has to add a few pieces before the season. Here’s what Mike Jones at CSN Washington is reporting on the matter…
The Wizards, according to a league source, have been in contact with both of their own free agent swingmen, Mike Miller and Josh Howard. The team also has expressed interest in Travis Outlaw, Ryan Gomes and Rasual Butler. No signings are imminent, however, with both team president Ernie Grunfeld and a league source saying they expect Washington’s free agency courtship to be a slow process.
Wizards have also reached out to Josh Childress, a restricted free agent who’s rights are owned by the Atlanta Hawks, but played overseas last year.
The Wizards should just let Miller go. He’s not part of Washington’s roadmap for the future, and isn’t worth overpaying for on a team that isn’t going anywhere next year. Now that Atlanta has offered Joe Johnson a max contract, Washington just needs to sit back and wait. If Johnson accepts that deal, the Wiz can offer Josh Childress a contract that Atlanta probably won’t match (Childress is a restricted free agent). Childress is the best fit for this team. Rasual Butler is another Nick Young–a shoot-first, athletic player. We have enough shoot-first guys already. Ryan Gomes isn’t a great fit but would sign cheaper than Travis Outlaw. I’d be satisfied with either of those guys, but would still prefer Childress.
I hope the Wizards also look for a veteran center too. They can’t enter the season with just JaVale McGee and Kevin Seraphin.
I’ll keep tabs on all of Washington’s offseason moves and will give instant analysis when anything goes down. For now, enjoy the LeBron sweepstakes.
Tags: Amare Stoudemire Carlos Boozer Chris Bosh Dirk Nowizki Dwyane Wade Ernie Grunfeld Free Agency Free Agents Gilbert Arenas Javale Mcgee Josh Childress Josh Childress Wizards Kevin Seraphin Lebron James Nba Nick Young Paul Pierce Rasual Butler Rudy Gay Ryan Gomes Ted Leonsis Travis Outlaw Washington Wizards