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: Feb 10, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2010 3:17 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

You also forgot that in 2000 they were actually stripped of 5 first round picks by signing Joe Smith before the deadline.

Since: Feb 10, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2010 3:14 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

You've got to think that the Wolves would probably have a title if not for that Joe Smith contract thing.  That, in and of itself, has to be at least tied with the stupidest thing ever done by and NBA GM.  That cost the Wolves, what, five first-round draft picks?  You've got to think that they would have been able to land one or two pretty good players in five years.  THat might have finally pushed them over the top.

Since: Jan 24, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2010 2:46 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

Fortunately, I'm not a huge Gophers fan (although they're probably my favorite college program) and have adopted the TrailBlazers over the T'wolves since moving west (although T'wolves are still a close second). I gotta disagree with you on the Vikes and Twins. I love being a fan of those teams, even though they haven't won a championship in a long time, because they're always interesting. Part of the fun of sports is the heartbreak... it makes the victories that much sweeter. Quit your crying and enjoy the ride.

Since: Jan 22, 2010
Posted on: May 19, 2010 1:50 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

"<span>No one can deny that this franchise has had the worse luck, worse management, worse front office, players, trades, etc."<br /> <br /> Luck is one thing, but everything else you listed just has to do with pure stupidity and lack of basketball knowledge by the wizards/bullets organization.</span> <br />

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2010 1:31 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

the nhl has a lottery cannot move up 6 spots though...the most you can move up is like 2 or 3 the top slotted teams are a bit safer...caause unless the 2-3 guys get the draft win, you hold your number one spot..they can only fall one spot also...

Since: May 6, 2007
Posted on: May 19, 2010 1:21 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

This sh*t is fixed!

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2010 12:34 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

If the Wizards pick Wall, the Nets didn't get robbed. Wall isn't the best guy out there. Too young to make any kind of impact out of the gate. A bit too wild too. He'll get set on his *ss in the NBA when he tries to bring some of those drives to that level. Turner, or a couple of others there would be better fits in Jersey. Let Wall go to the Wizards. They'll continue to flounder for the next 8 to 10 years.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2010 12:32 pm

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

Though I agree on the TWolves, the Twins do have 2 WS rings to their credit, albiet from 87/91. Most of their problems come from the structure of how they operate.

The Gophers seem to have to be enduring the perfect storm. It is just downright unreal what they are having to go through.

As for the Vikes, even with the lame officiating, they blew last years game against NO. NO did not win it, the Vikes lost it.

There may actually be a legitimate reason to have the lottery in the NBA, but so long as the NBA does have it, it will always be considered rigged and it deserves the label. The NBA seriously does not seem to appreciate the MN market and has more then enough circumstantial evidence to suggest the whole league is rigged, between lottery issues to foul calls/non-calls in games, to the Joe Smith punishment even though from what I understand, the under the table contracts were pretty commonplace. MN was the perfect team to punish since the bigger markets might have had a worse effect on the gate.

MN will never win the lottery and will always be considered an afterthought in regards to league benefits. It may very well be that Taylor should get whatever tax write off he can get.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2010 11:43 am

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

"The game is rigged"?  Seriously, you must be legally retarded.

Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2010 11:33 am

Wizards get Wall; Nets get robbed (UPDATE)

because you're an idiot and don't know that the NHL has one too.

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