Wednesday, May 2, 2 p.m. ET
The Washington Wizards
Wednesday, May 2, 2007; 2:00 PM
Washington Post staff writer Ivan Carter was online Wednesday, May 2, at 2 p.m. ET to field your questions and comments about the Wizards, the playoffs and all the latest NBA news.
From The Post:
The transcript follows.
washingtonpost.com: Michael won't be able to join us today; Ivan will be on at 2:30. Sorry for the delay.
Arlington, Va.: Hi guys,
Was it a blessing in disguise for the Wizards that DeShawn played so poorly in the playoffs? He was definitely exposed as a good COMPLIMENTARY role player but not a go to player. Does that significantly depress his market value and make it easier for the Wiz to sign him to a more modest and affordable contract this Summer?
Ivan Carter: That's a interesting take on DeShawn's playoff performance and I tend to agree with you. Had he balled out it would have driven his price up and coerced some team to pony up bigger cash than they normally would have. As it stands now, DeShawn may not get the kind of offer that would entice him to leave a team he enjoys playing with.
Oakton, Va.:"League sources" say that Haywood wants to be traded if Jordan comes back. I don't know how much more obvious it could be, it's Haywood's agent that is the "league source".
I'm am just about as sick of Haywood's agent as I am of Haywood. And Ivan, I like you and your work very much - you really have the pulse of this team and communicate it well to us readers - but I'm tired of you printing what Haywood's agent says anonymously. Someone needs to go on the record or you need to stop printing it. Please, don't let Haywood, his agent, or yourself insult us like that.
Ivan Carter: Didn't come from his agent, I promise you that.
Portland, Maine: What is the situation with Juan Carlos Navarro, I have heard rumblings that he wants to play in the NBA. Is there any interest in him from the Wizards standpoint? I have heard he is one of the best 2 guards not playing in the NBA and if Stephenson leaves, can he fit in that hole?
Ivan Carter: It's funny that you asked this question because I just got off the phone with someone from Spain who is familiar with Navarro's situation. Here's the deal: He's dying to come over but has a big contract with Barcelona and the owner of the team doesn't want him to go because he's a star and brings in a lot of cash. I hear the buyout could be as large as $10 million to $12 million and by NBA rules, the Wiz can only pay up to $500,000 of it. I'll be staying on this issue all summer and keep you posted.
20165 Baller: Fill in the blank, please:
In two years, Andray Blatche __________
Ivan Carter:...will form a very interesting front court for the Wizards along with 7-foot-0 Oleksiy Pecherov, Caron Butler and a center we don't know about. This will be a huge summer for Andray. He said he's going to live in the gym and take a 1,000 jumpers a day. We saw flashes of what he brings: athleticism, length, ball handling, passing and scoring skill and energy. I hear that he has to buckle down and bring it every day in practice and, like all young guys in his position, he has to love the game as much as the lifestyle. We'll see.
Washington: Now that the Wiz season is over...what did you think of the Cavs performance? I was really impressed with the effort our guys (Wiz) put forward (especially game 4, they just didn't have enough special plays, lucky bounces, etc.), but shouldn't the Cavs have just minced us up? Do you think they were doing just enough, or are they really that unimpressive (after a sweep, ha!)? What a comparably lucky draw they have, but whoever wins between the Bulls and Detroit is going to the finals (Go Bulls!).
Ivan Carter: I'm not all that impressed by the Cavs. LeBron is a great obviously, Z is above average and really knocked that outside J down (quote from fellow Lithuanian Songaila on his countryman: "Come on, that's not his range. He doesn't normally make 17 and 18 footers but he was making them in this series.") and everyone else basically fill roles, Larry Hughes included. I see them going down in the conference finals to either Detroit or Chicago in no more than five games.
Reston, Va.: I just heard Eddie Jordan being interviewed on the John Thompson show and he said, while being diplomatic towards Haywood, the team lacks a "defensive-minded stud big man" that will put them over the top. Assuming they cut ties with Haywood this summer who are the big men available in years free agent class? Anyone fit that bill? Thanks
Ivan Carter: I don't know about any big men but I do know that F Ruben Patterson is out there and hey, he hurt Gilbert and Caron this year so why not add his toughness and energy? I know he plays the three like Caron and Andray but assuming that Jarvis signs elsewhere, maybe there would be some minutes there for him. If nothing else, he would add some junk yard dog mentality to this team. Eddie has always loved Kenyon Martin but he's making huge jack and is coming off a knee injury.
Falls Church, Va.: Hey thanks for the chats -
Simple question for both of you: Of the 15 guys on the final Wizards roster this year, how many do you predict will be back? And which ones?
Ivan Carter: Gilbert, Caron, Antawn, Antonio, Blatche and Darius Songaila are locks. Pecherov is signing really soon and coming over. He'll be here.
I see DeShawn signing and sticking around because he likes his role, likes the team and likes Gilbert. It's my belief that Ernie will try hard to move either Etan or Brendan. Here's the interesting thing: would he package Antonio with one of the big men if it would bring something good back? He'd have to think about it. Antonio's value will never be higher.
He averaged 11 assists per in the playoffs, played good defense and showed that he can carry heavy minutes. Some PG hungry team may be tempted to bite even though he has three years and 18.6 million left on his deal.
Antwan Jamison: Ivan, I notice you left me out of the Wizards front court in two years. Do you think I'll get traded in the offseason or before the deadline? Or do you think I'll leave via free agency next offseason?
Ivan Carter: That's going to be interesting and in my mind, it will depend on the development of Blatche and Pecherov. If either of those two show that they can be a consistent starter on a playoff-quality team by the end of next season, they may allow Antawn to sign elsewhere and hand his minutes, shots etc. over to the kids.
Richmond, Va.: Draft needs for the Wiz?
Ivan Carter: I have to be honest: between the injuries, Brendan-gate and everything else going on with this team, I haven't had five minutes to think about the draft. I do know that they have the 16th and 47th picks. I'll start doing some hard research soon.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Ivan! What are your current projects now that the Wizards season (may it rest in peace) has come to an end? Are you going to cover other teams in the playoffs? Report on the Wizards offseason activities? Something else?
Basically I'm just wondering what we can look forward to under your byline. Nice job reporting this year, by the way.
Ivan Carter: Staying on top of the Wiz offseason of course and doing some playoff stuff as well. In fact, I'm flying to Oakland in the morning to report on the Warriors/Mavs game tomorrow night. After that, it's draft time, summer league, free agency etc. The season never ends. Oh, and I'll be watching my Twins roll to another World Series title.
Washington, DC: Ivan:
You just suggested Patterson. This is a general question, but let's consider it in the context of Patterson. Pollin, perhaps more than any other owner, values character in his players. Would Pollin allow Grunfeld to sign a guy with a past like the Nanny-Stopper?
Ivan Carter: That could be a problem. As you point out, Patterson has a checkered past to say the least. All I know is that he's the kind of player (on the court) that Eddie is dying for.
D.C.: Jamison's role...
Would the need for an aggressive, nasty "big" be so great if this team didn't play Jamison out of position at the 4? Wouldn't a better starting lineup be: Gil, Caron, Jamison, strong PF, Thomas, instead of reaching for a center and keeping Jamison as a PF? How about Songaila as the starting 4?
And while I am a big Jamison fan and don't want to see him traded, when does he become the 6th man on this team?
Ivan Carter: That could be an option down the line although Antawn is a very proud man and I can't see him sliding into the role of sixth man very easily. It will be interesting to see how Songaila looks next fall after having a full summer to build strength in his legs and back. He told me yesterday that the herniated disk caused nerve damage down his left leg and he never had any lift or burst this season. That was obvious to all of us because the guy couldn't get two feet off the ground. Assuming he gets back to 100 percent, I think you could start him at the 4 no doubt. Again however, I don't see Antawn buying into the notion of coming off the bench.
20010: Thanks to both of y'all for the good coverage this year. If Barry can write a book about the Nationals first year, either of you could certainly write an entertaining book about this year's Wiz squad. And IC, I really enjoy watching you take it to Mike Wise on Wash Post Live. He seems like a funny guy in some ways, but he is so full of himself - good to see you bringing him down a few notches on local TV.
Question - Which true bench guys (not counting AD and Songaila) are back next year? Of the guys not in "The Plan," who do you bring back?
The two I'd like to see come back -- Booth and Mason.
And what uniform is DeShawn wearing next year? My guess is it isn't the Wizards.
Ivan Carter: I do enjoy mixing it up with Wise. I give him a hard time but he's a really good dude and he's helped me with some stuff on the beat here and there (he covered the Knicks for the Times for years). We hoop together and hang out from time to time. As for DeShawn, I really do see him coming back. What I can't say is whether or not Ernie would cough up the 3-year, $10 million deal DeShawn turned down from Orlando last summer.
Washington: What do you know about Vladimir Veremeenko?
Ivan Carter: I have a phone call into his agent right now and should hear back soon. I do know that he could be playing for the Wiz on their summer league team with Pecherov and this year's draft picks so we'll know a lot then. He's 6-10, 240 pounds and will be 23 years old this summer. I've heard him described as a banger with good shooting, dribbling and passing skills. Don't know who to compare him with but I'll start asking around. Again, I'll keep you updated.
D.C.: Gilbert made a vague and not so vague reference about some of the other richer teams out there like the Heat and Mavs who can afford to treat their players first class. How much of an impact do you think that has on potential free agents that the Wizards would be considering, especially since we're known as a cheap organization.
Ivan Carter: It's always difficult to try and sift through what is going on in Gil's head but those comments (made in a Wise column) caught me by surprise because A) I've never heard Gil say that before and B) from what I see, the Wiz locker room, practice facility and other amenities rank right up there what what I see in other arenas/practice facilities etc. I've been in every arena in the league, seen all of the locker rooms, most of the weight rooms, courts etc. and haven't ever thought "Wow, the Wiz are lacking here."
Dr. Rao: Seems like from your
Ivan Carter: A divide clearly exists between Ernie and Eddie's perceptions of Brendan Haywood. Ernie sees a 27-year old 7-footer with a very, very, very reasonable contract who works hard, takes care of his body, has good shot-blocking skills and has helped his team reach the playoffs three straight years.
Eddie sees a 7-footer who too often coasts through games neither effectively scoring or rebounding, a guy who gets shoved under the basket too easily by big centers, a guy who fights with a teammate, pouts when he comes out and basically quit on his team late last season, saying he had a back injury as he missed several key games on a west coast trip as the team was fighting for its playoff life.
That's what you have.
DC: What are the chances all of the assistant coaches come back next season?
Ivan Carter: Eddie was pretty emphatic in saying that he wants his coaches back next season when I asked him that question yesterday. That was an issue last summer when Abe Pollin and Ernie were "suggesting" that Eddie go out and get a "defensive assistant." Eddie wasn't having it, hired Bill Berry and that was that as he got his extension anyway.
Brooklyn, N.Y.: I never write in, but I always read, and just wanted to say thanks to you and Michael for the great coverage; enjoy the blogs, articles, and insights. BTW, I think Eddie's doing a good job, I don't think we should trade Antawn for anybody, and I'm excited to see more Songaila and Blatche. Any final thoughts on Navarro? Where would you put the likelihood of his buying his own contract out?
Ivan Carter: Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate your appreciation and hope I'm doing a decent job. As for Navarro, I don't have enough info yet. I did talk to his fellow Spaniard Juan Calderon when he was in town with Raptors for his opinion on the Navarro situation and Calderon told me that Navarro is dying to come over and test his skills in the NBA and would have come over last summer if not for that buyout. I don't see him coughing 10 to 12 mill of his own money just to sign a 3 or 4 million deal with the Wiz or any other NBA team. Barcelona is going to have to cut back on that buyout for anything to happen. I did hear that Pat Riley likes him so maybe the Wiz work a deal where they trade his rights.
Seattle: Maybe now people will wake up and cut all of the "trade Jamison" junk they've been yapping about for the past year. He put it ALL on the floor for his team. The man's a leader...
I've been super impressed with Baron Davis and Matt Barnes (wow, what energy!) but I'm looking at Diop and maybe seeing him in the Wizards middle? He can run, block, doesn't need offensive touches to stay active and motivated, rebound, and clog up the middle (a little foul prone though). Would he fit or am I wildly off base?
Ivan Carter: I agree with you on Antawn. He played his tail off in that series and is one of THE classiest guys in all of sports. I respect the heck out of that dude. As for Diop, I too like his game and think he'd be a very functional center on any team. He's making $1.9 million this season so it's not like a team would have to break the bank to land him.
Washington, D.C.: What is your take on how Gerald Wallace would fit on this team? What are the prospects the Wizards could afford him?
Ivan Carter: Put it this way: If Gerald Wallace played FOR the Wizards the way he has played AGAINST the Wizards, he'd be worth a maximum contract. That dude kills this team. I'm curious to see what his price tag is going to be. He made $5.5 million this season and will obviously want more. The Wiz will have their mid-level exception available (first year salary starting at around $5.5 million though that hasn't been set yet) but I see DeShawn getting a chunk of that if they elect to keep him.
Ivan Carter: Thanks for stopping in folks. I'll keep you update on Wiz stuff all summer.
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