Where are we in the process?

If you have ESPN Insider, you can listen to Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld on Chad Ford's Daily Dish podcast.  

The interview itself is kind of boring.  When Ford asked Ernie whether the Wizards are a bona fide title contender in his mind, Ernie's response was the cliche drives "Time will tell, that's why you play the games."  Ernie's personality does not embody the carefree and goofy character of the team, to say the least.  But I'm personally a fan of these podcasts, and it's cool that Chad Ford is recognizing the great stuff Ernie is doing.

The interview also offers an interesting opportunity to asses where we are right now in the building process.  Right now, I think we all know that, while this team is very exciting and certainly pretty good, they're nowhere near being a title contender.  Gilbert is too young to be the man for a title team, and there are too many holes around the Big 3 that can be exposed when bad things happen (like, oh, I don't know, a Jamison injury).  

But now that the Wizards have established themselves as a playoff-caliber team, where do we go from here?  What's the next move?  Making things tricky is that, while two of the Big 3 are young and in their primes, the other's window is closing.  Jamison is already past 30, and while he still has the savy to keep producing, his window of opportunity is closing, especially when you consider that (assuming he exercises his player option this offseason) he'll be a free agent in 2008, and it'll likely be his last chance at getting a big payday.  

The Wizards would be crazy to do anything brash at this point, but at the same time, there's clearly something missing with this bunch.  Through it all, I trust Ernie's judgement more than anyone, but it's somewhat unclear what this team needs.  

So let's consider this a good time to brainstorm.  To be clear, we're talking external upgrades, not "we need to play better team defense" upgrades.  What should Ernie be doing this offseason?

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