Blog Entry

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

Posted on: May 18, 2010 9:01 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2010 9:38 am

Gilbert Arenas tore the Wizards apart. On Tuesday night, the basketball gods took a major step toward putting them back together.

In an upset that could make all the misery of the past season worthwhile, the Wizards landed the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA draft – a development that gives them an unobstructed path to turning around a franchise that was decimated by Arenas’ gun conviction and season-long suspension.

League sources believe the Wizards will use the pick to select Kentucky point guard John Wall, who watched the proceedings from Beverly Hills, Calif., with his new agent, Dan Fegan.

"It’s a great opportunity to get drafted by any team," Wall said. "It means a lot. I’m just going to come in, work hard, try to make the team better, and just try to win games for the organization next year."

In a phone interview with, Wall said he was expecting the Nets to get the pick but added, "I'm not disappointed. I'm real happy, just excited to play for any team in the NBA."

The Wizards "went through a lot last year," Wall said. "I'll have an opportunity to help turn the organization around. They have cap space to add some good players."

Wall said he'd received a text from his college coach, John Calipari, who is at the center of speculation about several NBA coaching jobs. Wall said he hasn't discussed Coach Cal's future with him -- nor has he spoken with his pal, LeBron James, since his season ended prematurely with a loss to Boston in the conference semifinals.

As for the possibility that ping pong balls and free agency could bring them together somewhere, Wall said, "That would be exciting, but I haven't talked to him about that. I'm just excited to get a chance to play in the NBA."

Wall, the consensus top pick among a cross-section of league personnel executives, will instantly make the Wizards better simply by showing up. It will be hard to fathom them being worse than the 26-win disaster they were this past season with the addition of Wall and with Arenas coming back.

Irene Pollin, the widow of late Wizards owner Abe Pollin, represented the team at the lottery proceedings in Secaucus, N.J. She wore her late husband’s 1978 championship ring in a moving tribute to the man whose memory was besmirched by Arenas’ weapons possession in the team’s locker room.

The incident led to Arenas being suspended indefinitely, and then for the rest of the 2009-10 season by NBA commissioner David Stern. Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld and assistant GM Tommy Sheppard responded by quickly tearing apart a roster that had been expected to be among the top contenders in the Eastern Conference. By trading Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson, the Wizards not only got below the punitive luxury-tax threshold for this past season, but they also cleared enough cap flexibility to chase a max free agent when the much anticipated negotiating period opens July 1.

If the Wizards decline an $11.8 million player option for Josh Howard, acquired from Dallas in the trade that send Butler and Haywood to the Mavericks, they will have nearly $20 million in cap space – enough for a max player and then some to go with Wall, Arenas, restricted free agent Randy Foye, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, and role players Nick Young, Al Thornton and Quinton Ross.

And here’s the kicker: If the Wizards want to part ways with Arenas and the $80 million he’s owed over the next four seasons, they can dangle the rights to Wall as his traveling partner. The asking price almost certainly would be one of the marquee free agents threatening to leave their current teams – including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and Amar'e Stoudemire. Faced with the prospect of losing one of those franchise cornerstones and getting nothing in return, all of those teams will be open to discussions with the Wizards.

The Wizards' good fortune was juxtaposed with the first disappointment of the Mikhail Prokhorov era as owner of the Nets. The Russian tycoon stood stern-faced and emotionless as the news was read in the Secaucus studio that his nomadic, star-crossed franchise had failed to cash in on its league-high 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. The Nets got the third pick, which also will put them out of the running for Ohio State's Evan Turner, whom many league executives believe will be a fine consolation prize for not getting Wall. The second pick went to Philadelphia, which jumped four spots from sixth in the lottery odds.

The Wizards were slotted fifth, with a 7.6 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick. The Timberwolves, slotted second with a 19.9 percent chance of getting the top pick, wound up with the fourth selection. The Kings, slotted third, fell one spot to fifth, while the fourth-slotted Warriors fell to sixth.


Since: Jan 26, 2008
Posted on: May 21, 2010 4:09 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)


First he takes over the Caps and gets the first pick and takes Ovechkin and now he takes over the Wizards and gets the rights to Wall or Turner. This guy is money money money. Take heed NBA, in three years the Wizard are coming and coming hard! This guy knows how to build a franchise, and it has to be easier when each time you start you get the best player available!

If only we can get him to buy the Redskins too...


Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2010 2:19 am

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

A lot of whining here consider what a crapshoot the draft is.  The best player in the draft probably won't end up being John Wall 10 years from now.  

Look at where Tony Parker, Michael Redd, Carlos Boozer and Manu Ginobili were drafted.   Rajon Rondo was a #21 pick, and look at all the scrubs who went before him (none of the top 5 that year have ever made all-NBA or an all-star game).  Erick Dampier, Kerry Kittles, and Samaki Walker all went before Steve Nash.  Etc, etc, etc...

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2010 12:02 am

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

Agreed, the Nets needed Wall more than probably any team in the league & if Stern & the other NBA heads weren't so damn paranoid, the lottery would not be continuing to screw up the NBA

Since: Feb 28, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2010 9:32 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

The sad comparison with the Clippers is apt, even though the Bullets/Wizards were owned by a truly classy gentleman in Abe Pollin and the Clips were and are owned by an L.A. slumlord.

I remember '78, when the Bullets came from behind to beat Seattle for the title. It was the first Washington championship in any sport in most of our lifetimes and it was wonderful.

I have no sympathy for the Nets. They constantly get overdiscussed and overrate by the Noo Yawk thing.

Go Bullets!

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2010 6:23 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

You are completly right,  Wall wouldn't have fit in New Jersey anyway they already have Devin Harris who is one of the many underrated players in the NBA. If Wall does go to the Wizards they will become a great team but Wall will not be the NBA superstar that everyone thinks that he will be.  If the Nets want the best player they should take Wes Johnson who fills the position they need and he will down the line become the best player to come out of the draft this year.  He will help bring a level head and a good ego to a team that needs someone to help lead them and I feel he fits that mold.  

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2010 6:11 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

Next year even with Wall and Areanas coming back the nets are going to have a very good young team.  They down the road can become the next OKC.  They have many good players including Harris, Lopez, Douglaus-Roberts, Williams, and Jianlian.  Wall is probably not going to be a star in the NBA and they now can get the best player in the Draft which is Johnson. Even though the Nets had a horrible year they will improve greatly next year.

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2010 6:05 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

Are you kidding the three players you just mentioned are going to be stars in the NBA, especially Johnson who is the most underrated player in this draft.  Also the Nets dont need a franchise player they have several young players who should improve greatly by next year including Lopez, Harris, Douglas-Roberts, Williams, and Jianlian.  So if your trying to come up with an arguement because your's at the moment doesn't make any sense.

Since: Oct 5, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2010 4:29 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

NHL has a lottery

Since: Jun 28, 2007
Posted on: May 19, 2010 4:25 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

Nets were legitimately terrible, and desperately needed a franchise player. Thanks to the Nets front office gutting the team in preperation for 2010 free forgot that important part...

yeah, let's reward for them for the horrible season they went through because they had to get rid of their best player at the time (Vince Carter) to free up some cap space so that they could hopefully get Lebron James, Chris Bosh, or DeWayne Wade...

Since: May 18, 2010
Posted on: May 19, 2010 3:20 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

The Spurs got lucky in 1997 winning the lottery and getting Duncan several years ago.

That changed the corse of two NBA teams- San Antonio and Boston who had the worst record and the best chance to get him that year

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