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Wizards/NBA

Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 2:00 PM

Post staff writer Ivan Carter was online Wednesday, April at 2 p.m. ET to discuss the Washington Wizards and the NBA.

From The Post:

Wizards Coverage

The transcript follows.

Discussion Archive

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Ivan Carter: Gilbert's up in the air and the Wiz can clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight combined with a Boston win over Indiana. Let's get to it.

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20002: Ivan,

Love your work. Why doesn't Gil just play tonight???

Ivan Carter: I'll get right to the "why isn't Gilbert playing tonight" question because there are a bunch of them. Answer: I don't know. He desperately wanted to play a week ago Sunday against Detroit then was upset when the doctors wouldn't clear him. I learned yesterday that he was cleared on Saturday night but he hasn't played and yesterday, he said he wasn't playing tonight, according to a reliable source. He also wasn't at shootaround this morning which is a good indication that he won't play. Then again, it's all up to him now so, he could change his mind at any moment and suit up. It's Gilbert, what can I say? The bigger question, and one I know he has himself, is: how effective can I be after two surgeries and a 66-game layoff?

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1900 L St: Ivan you wrote on the blog that the decision to come back is now in Gilbert's hands, I was wondering what would happen if he decides to sit out the rest of the year? Would that affect team chemistry, with guys wondering why he didn't want to come back and help them in the playoffs? Would it effect Grunfeld's thinking in resigning him?

Ivan Carter: There is a chance that he could sit out for the season but I don't see it negatively impacting his teammates -- they are pretty much accustomed to his ways. As for Grunfeld/Abe Pollin, that is hard to answer with any real accuracy. Grunfeld has stated that he plans on retaining Arenas and Jamison and he didn't offer any conditions on the part about Arenas. I guess we'll have to see how it all plays out.

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Richmond, Va.: How many games does Gilbert Arenas need to play before being ready to help the Wizards in the playoffs?

Ivan Carter: He said the other day that he needed around 20 games to get into game shape and find a "rhythm." Obviously, that bus has come and gone. I think he has serious doubts about whether he can be effective and that his playing a role in his hesitance to come back now.

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Fairfax, Va.: Hi Guys,

What's the deal with Gilbert? I'm hearing mixed reports. Wizards.com report he is a game-time decision... Ivan reported that Gil won't suit up tonight? Is their a possibility he will go tonight? Right now the wiz need him. Caron is injured and AD is banged up.

Ivan Carter: Daniels and Butler both indicated that they plan on playing tonight. They went through shootaround this morning. Gilbert said yesterday that he's not playing tonight and was not at shootaround. As I said before however: it's Gilbert. Expect anything.

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Arlington, Va.: NBAdraft.net has Robin Lopez taken several spots before Hibbert. Does this sound right based on what you guys have been hearing? If that's the case, Hibbert really should be disappointed in his development, right?

Ivan Carter: The word I'm hearing in NBA circles is that Roy should have come out after that great game against Oden in the Final Four last year but he was talked out of it by Coach Thompson and company. His stock was never going to be higher.

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Fairfax, Va.: Ivan,

What about Etan Thomas? I've seen him on the bench for some of the home games on TV, but I don't recall seeing him there on any of the West Coast trips. Is he basically just waiting for next year, or is there any chance we can get him back before the playoffs? It seems like the same situation as Arenas, if he doesn't come back NOW (only 8 games left), then it really just makes sense to wait until next year.

Ivan Carter: Etan Thomas did not make the five-game road trip that concluded Monday night in Utah but was at shootaround today. As far as I know, his status hasn't changed. He hasn't practiced, which is to say that he's out until the team announces otherwise. I can't imagine him coming back now with only eight games but until it's official, that's all we can go on.

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Bangladesh: Ivan,

I believe there's been a lot of unfair negativity from Wiz Fans towards Arenas. The biggest complaint is he's a diva. It's not like he's out at strip clubs, smoking weed, getting arrested and etc. Add to that he works his butt off. When healthy he's always in the gym. The reason for his 2nd surgery because he rushed back.

How do his teammates really feel about Arenas? Do they think he's a distraction, do they want him gone, do they respect his work ethic, etc? Please don't give a PC answer.

Ivan Carter: Like I've said before: I sense that his teammates respect his talent, respect his work ethic, either laugh at or embrace or put up with his quirks and feel that he should do whatever he feels is best for him in term of his situation right now.

That's a general player attitude anyway. Those guys don't typically go around telling teammates what they should do with their money and their bodies.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: If I was to call Caron Butler injury prone, would that be a little too harsh?

Ivan Carter: Given how hard he plays and what he means to this team, it sounds so, but he has missed a lot of games these last few seasons. Twenty-one this season with three injuries (hip, hamstring and ankles), he played 63 games last season and missed the playoffs and he missed seven games the previous season.

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Reston, Va.: What's the general feeling on Nick Young that you get from other teams as you travel around with the team? He seems to be steadily growing as the year has progressed. Is he a potential starter as soon as next year? What does he need to work on most?

Ivan Carter: Explosive scorer. Raw defensively. Terrific one-on-one player but no so great at moving without the ball. I think he just needs a strong summer of just working on his all-around game, working on his body and just maturing in every way. This will be a huge offseason for Young, Dominic McGuire, Oleksiy Pecherov and Andray Blatche. All of them will be in summer league.

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Common Sense: Ivan,

Thanks for mentioning how Abe Pollin's stance on the luxury tax is hurting our PG situation. It seemed clear when Arenas went down (and especially when AD started getting injured) that we needed a true backup PG.

Are playoff rosters set, or can we still add someone? It seems more than reasonable to assume Daniels may miss at least one playoff game.

Ivan Carter: Playoff rosters are set on April 17 but any player added now would not be eligible to be on the playoff roster. Daniels is going to try to play tonight but that left wrist is a problem and this team does not have a backup point guard.

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20007: Ivan-

If you could choose our first round match up, what team would you want us to play and what team do you think we could have the most success against?

Ivan Carter: I'd say Orlando but that could just be because I have that game in Orlando on March 19 fresh in my mind. If Caron Butler is right and Daniels is able to play with that wrist, I think they match up decently with Cleveland but LeBron James is a huge problem. I say Orlando but that's no gimme. Other than the Howard matchup, they stack up well physically and, they have more experience. Obviously, this team needs to avoid Detroit and Boston.

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Alexandria, Va.: Ivan,

Really enjoy your writing as well as your appearances on Wash. Post Live. My question is this -- Why is it that the Wizards garner no respect from the officials around the league? And I don't think I'm just being a homer. I really think that the Wizards never get the borderline calls and anytime the game is close, it always seems like the Wiz are gonna be on the short end of the stick! The course of "Lez Boulez" maybe? But it's been that way as long as I can remember.

Ivan Carter: No offense but take it from a guy who travels to every NBA city: fans in every city feel that way. I don't see it.

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Washington, D.C.: I have never seen this is in all of my years of watching the NBA, where being the 1, 2 or 3 seed gives you no advantage (besides home court). If you're number 1 you get a dangerous Nuggets team, number 2 gets you an always tough Mavericks team and number 3 may get you a team that had the second longest winning streak in NBA history. Is it an advantage for whoever comes out of the East as their West opponent may be beat down from possibly several 7-game series or does this make the West opponent even tougher?

Ivan Carter: To me, the injury factor will be the major issue in that theory. You have to think that any team to come out of the West will have played several long series and, will have some key guys battling injuries. That could open the door no question.

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NY: Is it a foregone conclusion that Roger Mason will leave after this season. If Jamison signs for $10 mil/yr and Arenas for around $12 mil/yr, would we have cap space to give Mason a decent contract?

Or do you think it's best to give Mason's minutes to Nick Young next year?

Ivan Carter: It all depends on what Mason is able to get in the free agent market and I have a feeling that he's in good shape. Assuming that Gilbert comes back and that Ernie doesn't move Daniels or Stevenson, Nick Young would figure to fill that first shooting guard off the bench role.

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DC: Ivan

you just write

"This will be a huge offseason for Young, Dominic McGuire, Oleksiy Pecherov and Andray Blatche."

I completely agree, but what does it say about Blatche. Yes, he's young, but when a third year guy who is a rotation player goes to summer league, well, that ain't a good sign.

Ivan Carter: Summer league in Las Vegas when he's now 21 years of age.

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Chinatown: What's the feeling around the league about the Wiz? Anyone really think we can make some noise and sneak out of the first round?

Ivan Carter: I haven't had a single scout predict a Wizard victory though several have remarked that they think a healthy Arenas could make them very dangerous.

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Confused: I'm confused. First, Arenas basically says he's scared to come back. Then, when the team doctor doesn't clear him to play, he's angry (and he's lauded for being such a competitor). Now, he's cleared to play but he's not playing. Are you confused?

Ivan Carter: Yes, I'm confused. Very, very confused. That's Gilbert.

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Bowie, Md.: Which of Cleveland, Orlando and Detroit do you think would be the most winnable matchup for the Wizards? This season, they are 2-2 against Cleveland, 1-2 against Orlando (with 1 left), and 1-1 against Detroit (with 1 left). I worry that losing the last 2 years to Cleveland in the playoffs has gotten into the Wizards heads.

Ivan Carter: I agree with the Cleveland thought. There's just something wrong with that matchup.

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Fairfax, Va.: Isiah Thomas says given the state of the Knicks when he got there, to now, the team is headed in the right direction.

Is there any possible way that could be even partially true? How did the New York media let him get away with such a comment?

Ivan Carter: That's funny. Reminds me of a line I read just yesterday in David Halberstam's book "The Best and the Brightest." It's from a Art Buchwald column lampooning the Johnson administration's sunny reaction to the Tet offensive:

"Gen. George Armstrong Custer said today in an exclusive interview with this correspondent that the battle of the Little Big Horn had just turned the corner and he could now see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Amazing how history repeats itself.

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Reston, Va.: Would Gilbert be playing tonight if one of his new shoes was "premiering" like the Detroit game?

Ivan Carter: Always possible.

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New Carrollton, Md.: Am I the only one who thinks Gilbert is setting us all up for his 2nd return of the season tonight?

Ivan Carter: He's got everyone guessing doesn't he?

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Germantown, Md.: Ivan,

Blatche can't be a bust because he was a second round pick, but if he doesn't progress next season, are his days in DC numbered?

Any thoughts on the direction of the Wizards in the draft? PG or center maybe?

Ivan Carter: Blatche signed a five-year, $15 million contract last summer so, if he comes around and turns into a consistent stud, the Wizards will look brilliant for locking him so cheap. If he doesn't, he's easily tradeable. It's way too early for me to think about what they may do in the draft.

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Rockville, Md.: Isn't it a shame that one team out of the group of Dallas, Denver, and GS will not make the playoffs? Given the tightness of the Western Conference, wouldn't all 3 have a chance to knock off the No. 1 seed, no matter who that is? Which team do you think will end up on the outside, looking in?

Ivan Carter: I think Dallas is in trouble. They play the Lakers Friday, Suns Sunday and still have games against Utah and New Orleans. Cooked.

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Ivan Carter: Thanks for coming in folks. I have to roll and get ready for tonight's game.

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