Wizards Insider: Wizards could be quiet at trade deadline

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By Michael Lee
Wednesday, February 23, 2011; 5:01 PM

The Wizards may not be silent at the trade deadline, but they aren't aggressively looking to make deals, based on some conversations that I've had with front office executives and agents. An Eastern Conference general manager who recently spoke with the Wizards said the team didn't appear open to making any trades, but that could obviously change between now and Thursday at 3 p.m.

If the Wizards make any deals, they are letting teams know that have no intention of taking back salary beyond this season. The goal for the Wizards is trying to find a deal that would yield draft picks or a promising, low-salaried prospect in return. The Wizards will do something if they find a deal that makes them better and coincides with their long-term plan.

And, if any players get moved, it will unlikely be members of the young core -- John Wall, Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin. While two Western Conference executives said in late December that the Wizards were open to moving Blatche, the Wizards have informed others in recent weeks that they intend to keep him.

Kirk Hinrich has generated the most interest from around the league, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks among the teams that would like to add the veteran point guard who averages 11.1 points and 4.4 assists. The Wizards like Hinrich and have informed his representatives that they would like to "stay the course" with him.

Hinrich, who will earn $8 million next season, has helped No. 1 overall pick Wall this season, and the Wizards feel the need to keep some professional veterans around their young team. But if the Wizards get a deal that they feel is beneficial then Hinrich could get moved.

Rashard Lewis and Josh Howard could also be had, but teams are leery of Lewis's gaudy contract and Howard's balky left knee. Lewis is guaranteed almost $30 million over the next two seasons after this one. Howard was pursued by several playoff contenders last summer, but one executive said teams are unwilling to sacrifice anything of value for a player who has had difficulty returning from his left knee injury, playing just 11 games this season.

The Wizards aren't shopping restricted free agents Yi Jianlian or Al Thornton, but they are available for the right price.

This time last year, the Wizards were actively looking to make moves, with the Gilbert Arenas gun fiasco forcing the team to reduce payroll and begin the planning for the future. They shipped out Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and Dominic McGuire, going from a $79 million payroll to not having to pay the luxury tax.


© 2011 The Washington Post Company

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