Wall, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin, the Wizards’ draft picks in 2010, are the longest-tenured players on the team, which has undergone a major overhaul since Ted Leonsis purchased the team from the Pollin family. Wall; Beal, last year’s third overall selection; and Nene are unlikely to be moved, but the same source added that the team might not make a deal until closer to the deadline.
“I’ve been here now for three years,” Seraphin said. “I see my teammate leave, see some teammate come. That’s something you can’t control. If you can’t control it, I’m not worried about it. There’s nothing I can do. There’s nothing we can do.”
Crawford is the most likely candidate to get moved, since the third-year reserve shooting guard doesn’t appear to be in the Wizards’ current or future plans with Wall back after a three-month, injury-related layoff and Beal beginning to play at a higher level. Wittman recently benched Crawford and he hasn’t handled his latest demotion well. After not playing for the fourth consecutive game — a 96-88 loss to the Toronto Raptors — on Tuesday, Crawford tossed his jersey and warm-up shirt into the stands with disgust.
The Wizards have fielded calls from teams around the league interested in acquiring a player who provides scoring punch at a relatively low price. Crawford was the Wizards’ leading scorer until last month and averaged 19.1 points, 6.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds in December, but the team went 3-11 during that stretch as injuries sidelined Price and Trevor Ariza. He has appeared in just four games this month, averaging 4.3 points. One rival Eastern Conference executive said the Wizards would get “very little” in return for Crawford.
“He’s like any of our other 14 guys. He’s got to stay with it. His opportunity is going to come again,” Wittman said of Crawford. “This season is too long, up and down, that it’s going to go smooth. It’s a test of your will and character and I look at those things. As you’re building a team. Who’s handling it the right way? And who stays in it, stays ready and those are important things.”
Players realize that anyone has the potential to be moved, but veteran Emeka Okafor, who has been traded twice in his career, said the deadline hasn’t been a distraction for him or any of his teammates. “Nothing happens until it does. You don’t really think about it. It’s part of the game. If you didn’t say it right now it wouldn’t have entered my mind. I’m pretty sure it’s the same case with a lot of guys on this team. . . . We’re here. Things happen at the last minute but you can only worry about what you can control. We’ve got a game on Friday” against Denver.
The Wizards will have one more practice before the deadline, which might not amount to any major deals. “As a coach, you always can’t wait until that day is over,” Wittman said. “You can ask every team. There is somebody or some anticipation or anxiety or call it whatever term you want. It’s a yearly reality.”
As Wittman spoke to reporters, the ominous whistling sound of an old science fiction movie emanated from a cellphone ringer. Wittman looked around and laughed before saying, “I don’t know if that’s a good sign.”