Wizards Sign Armstrong, Lose Out On Childress

So, what do you want first? The good news, or the bad news?

Let’s start with the good, courtesy of Michael Lee…

On Tuesday, Armstrong became the latest addition to the Wizards when he agreed to a one-year deal believed to be worth the veteran minimum of $992,680. The contract won’t get signed and the final details won’t get fully ironed out until Wednesday, but the 6-foot-11 Armstrong joked that it was actually “a one-year, $20-million deal, or something like that.”

The Wizards were in search of a veteran big man, but not one who would necessarily take away minutes from the young players and draft picks that they are trying to develop, such as JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin. Armstong, a lottery pick in 2006, fits the description after posting career averages of 3.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in New Orleans, Sacramento and Houston.

Despite his sour college experience at Verizon Center, Armstrong said he always wanted to play for the Wizards. Going back to his pre-draft workouts in 2006, Armstrong said he liked the “vibe” in Washington, where the front office had a favorable opinion of his game. His sister even resides in northern Virginia.

Signing Hilton Armstrong isn’t exactly an exciting move, and it certainly doesn’t solve Washington’s problems at center. Still, he’s a one-year rental, meaning he won’t clog up any salary cap long-term. He comes cheap, he’s a big body, and he’s only 25. I’m not expecting any miracles, but Armstrong could possibly play better than he did in New Orleans without any pressure on him in D.C.

By signing Armstrong, the Wizards are firmly putting their support behind JaVale McGee. Whether McGee likes it or not, he’s going to be thrust into major minutes. This season is his chance to establish himself.

Now for the bad news, courtesy of ESPN…

Phoenix will acquire Childress in a sign-and-trade with the Hawks, who still hold Childress’ rights after the restricted free agent spent the last two seasons in Greece. The Republic reported that Childress has agreed to a five-year, $34 million contract with the Suns, who will use a portion of the trade exception created in Friday’s Stoudemire sign-and-trade with New York to absorb Childress’ contract.

The Hawks, who had no financial flexibility to even consider matching offers to Childress after signing Joe Johnson to a six-year deal worth nearly $120 million, will get a 2012 second-round pick from Phoenix to complete the transaction.

Wow. So Josh Childress could have been a Wizard in exchange for a second-round pick. I really hope Washington uses their trade exceptions on someone really, really good, otherwise they’re sorely missing out here. Childress would have been perfect on and off the court for Washington. He’s a nice fit in Phoenix.

Of course, this means the Wizards still need to go after a small forward. Josh Howard is attracting lots of attention from the Bulls and Celtics, so he might not be a feasible option anymore. There is one player who is still on the market, and fits into D.C.’s youth movement–Ronnie Brewer.

Brewer is an unrestricted free agent, and his former team, the Memphis Grizzlies, recently signed Tony Allen, meaning they don’t want him back. Ronnie is a little small to play the three, but he’s too talented and too young (25) to pass up. If I’m Ernie Grunfeld, I sign Brewer, and try him out at small forward. He’s a supremely talented athlete and defender who might be able to play the position a bit undersized.

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Tags: Basketball Ernie Grunfeld Hilton Armstrong Hilton Armstrong Wizards Javale Mcgee Josh Childress Josh Childress Wizards Josh Howard Memphis Grizzlies Nba Nba Free Agency Phoenix Suns Ronnie Brewer Tony Allen Washington Wizards

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