Mike Bibby returns to Washington


“I played against them, coming in from Atlanta, and they can play. All it is is that they young,” Bibby said, when asked about the Wizards shortly after he arrived from Atlanta in the five-player deal involving Kirk Hinrich. “There was times when I was in Atlanta when that’s all they’d tell us, ‘We’re young.’ They’ll eventually get over the hump and with that star right there, you can’t go wrong with him.”

Bibby was looking at the locker room stall of No. 1 overall pick John Wall as he spoke. After guarding him and then playing with him, Bibby was impressed by the rookie’s speed and aggression. “He can get to the basket any time he wants to,” Bibby said of Wall.

But the 32-year-old Bibby had no interest in serving as a mentor to Wall, or in squandering any part of the rest of his career by playing for a non-playoff team. So, Bibby made the stunning decision on Feb. 28 to give back his entire $6.2 salary for the 2011-12 season in order to become a free agent.

The decision was serendipitous for the Wizards, creating salary cap space for this summer that could help the team add more talent in free agency. Bibby signed with the Miami Heat two days later and will return to Verizon Center as the starting point guard for the league’s most popular road attraction. In 13 games with the Heat, Bibby has is averaging 6.5 points and 2.5 assists, but he is slowly finding his comfort zone while playing alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

He recently moved into the starting lineup after Mario Chalmers sprained his right knee on March 19 against Denver. Overall, Bibby has made 22 of 46 (47.8 percent) of his three-pointers in Miami. He had a season-high 23 points -- going 7 of 11 from beyond the arc -- in a 102-90 loss on Tuesday to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bibby was 1 for 9 from the floor, 0-4 from three-point range, as a member of the Wizards. Moving on appears to have worked for him. But it still remains a startling, and truly expensive move.

FROM THE POST

The Wizards ended their long road trip on a positive note.

It is unlikely that John Wall will end the season with an average of nine assists per game.

Nick Young and Trevor Booker would like to return but aren’t sure when they can.

LeBron James needs no introduction in Cleveland (The Early Lead).

AROUND THE WEB

Chris Tomasson says Derrick Rose is a fine role model for John Wall (hoopshype.com).

Alex Kennedy says Mo Evans is a wise Wizard (hoopsworld.com).

Rashad Mobley confesses that he did not want the Wizards to defeat the Jazz on Monday (Truth About It).

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.

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