Editor's Note: From the FanShots. For the record, I am vehemently opposed to trading Gilbert Arenas for Jermaine O'Neal. O'Neal hasn't played more than 69 games in four years. His PER has declined for four straight seasons. He's a below-average rebounder, terribly inefficient shooter, and not much of a shot blocker anymore now that he's been hurt. However, the great thing about this site is that reasonable people can disagree, and this argument is reasonable, like all of cuppettcj's posts and comments.
If such a trade were to somehow happen, I think both players benefit. O'Neal benefits from a more structured offensive system, while Arenas would have the green light at all times in Jim O'Brien's open-court system. Whatever. I need to get off my soapbox and let cuppettcj take the floor.
Step 1: Fire the entire training staff and replace them with competent trainers who can keep the team healthy. I forget where I heard the rumor that the head athletic trainer is friends with the Pollin family, but that would explain a lot. Both success and incompetence should be rewarded appropriately. I think everybody here knows where the Wizards training staff falls.
Step 2: Fire Eddie Jordan. Replace him with either Avery Johnson (first option) or Flip Saunders (second option). I know several of you don't agree with this, but I think I made my point that each of these coaches has proven that they can improve a team beyond the point that Eddie can take us. Furthermore, each of these coaches has shown that they can get their players to commit to defense, something that Eddie Jordan has never been able to do. Defense wins championships. The last team to win a championship without finishing in the top 10 in defense was the 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers. Strangely enough, the Lakers won both the season before and the season after, and ranked in the top 7 defensely both of those years. I guess they felt that they were so good offensively that they could take a year off defensively. Whoever coaches the Wizards won't have that luxury, at least not initially. I want a coach that stops giving away easy buckets like they're AOL discs (OK, outdated reference, but I couldn't think of a better one). We tried a different defensive coach, but that didn't do the trick, so it's time to hold the head coach accountable for the team's defensive failings. It's time to bring in some fresh blood.
Step 3: Resign Antawn Jamison to a four year deal, starting at $11.9 million and going up to $12 million for each of the next three years. Why $11.9 million in the first year? To keep us under the luxury tax threshold. Keep reading for more details.
Step 4: Sign and trade Gilbert Arenas, Etan Thomas, and the 18th draft pick to Indiana for Jermaine O'Neal and the 11th draft pick. This was a tough decision that I thought long and hard about. I'm a big Agent Zero fan. But in the end it came down to me not willing to take the big gamble on Gil's knee. Six years and $100 million is a lot to invest in a guy who hasn't shown he can be the same healthy player he was over a year ago. Plus, Caron has shown us all that he can step up his game to fill a lot of the void missing when Gil is gone. To reiterate, I don't buy into the theory that the Wizards are better without Gilbert, but I do think the drop-off from Gilbert won't be as great because of Caron. It certainly won't be a $16.4 million per season drop-off.
Of course, acquiring Jermaine O'Neal has its own injury risks, but I believe he brings more upside because he would be filling some of the Wizards' biggest needs, particularly interior defense. Not to mention that none of O'Neal's injuries were ever as serious as Gil's. Besides, even a Jermaine O'Neal at a little less than 100% would be a big improvement for us in the paint, where currently we simply get abused in the playoffs. Furthermore, I think the change in scenery and the higher quality team he would be coming to would improve his attitude and motivate him to get healthy. Of course, a lot of that relies on Step 1 (see above). Oh, and he's only going to turn 30 this October, so it's not exactly like he's over-the-hill.
I can't do the RealGM Trade Checker on this because Gilbert is still unsigned, but his salary at $16.4 million plus Etan's salary of $6,864,200 would add up to $23,264,200, which is less than %125 of Jermaine O'Neal's salary, so it should work under the Traded Player exception.
Why would Indiana want to do this trade? Well, I was surprised when a Pacers fan over at Indy Cornrows suggested it (at my prompting). I suppose that you can attribute it to the desire to dump O'Neal's salary in addition to the upside of acquiring an explosive scorer like Agent Zero. After all, the team's best scorer currently is Danny Granger. There have been rumors swirling aroung the Web lately of the Pacers dumping O'Neal for a lot less, so I would suppose this offer would be a lot more credible than those. In the words of that Pacers fan:
this trade would be nuts but if the Wizards offered either of them Bird would pull the trigger in a second, guaranteed!
So there you go, Pacers fan Brent Jonathan Beck guarantees this deal will go down, what more do you want? :)
Step 5: Use the 11th pick to get either Russell Westbrook or DJ Augustin, whoever falls to that point. I would prefer (and it is more likely) that it would be Russell Westbrook, who is a tremendous defender at the position. According to Draft Express:
Defensively, Westbrook is nothing short of outstanding, as evidenced by the phenomenal work he did locking down the three top scoring guards in the Pac-10 this season, O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, and James Harden. He is long, strong and very fundamentally sound, getting into a terrific defensive stance on every possession, moving his feet incredibly well, and being absolutely tenacious getting after his matchup. His wingspan, combined with his huge hands and outstanding anticipation skills make him a terror in the passing lanes, and this is a big factor why he spends so much time in transition offensively.
Currently, Russell Westbrook is projected to go 11th in Draft Express's mock draft. What a coincidence! :)
Step 6: Use the 47th pick on Kyle Weaver. Good call by Rook6980 on this idea. Because the Wizards would already have 12 players (including Russell Westbrook), I may have to assign him to the NBDL or place him on the inactive list.
Step 7: Let Roger Mason walk. No surprise here.
Final Salary Breakdown:
Jermaine O'Neal $21,372,000
Antawn Jamison $11,900,000
Caron Butler $ 9,249,980
Antonio Daniels $ 6,200,000
Brendan Haywood $ 5,500,000
Darius Songaila $ 4,234,000
DeShawn Stevenson $ 3,616,071
Andray Blatche $ 2,739,669
Russell Westbrook $ 1,993,560
Nick Young $ 1,602,960
Oleksiy Pecherov $ 1,446,720
Dominic McGuire $ 711,517
Kyle Weaver $ 427,000
Washington Wizards 2008-09 Lineup/Depth Chart:
Center: Jermaine O'Neal, Brendan Haywood
Power Forward: Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche, Oleksiy Pecherov
Small Forward: Caron Butler, Darius Songaila, Dominic McGuire
Shooting Guard: DeShawn Stevenson, Nick Young
Point Guard: Antonio Daniels, Russell Westbrook, Kyle Weaver
Yes, I realize that Jermaine O'Neal is primarily a power forward, but it wouldn't hurt to have him start at center and then slide over to PF when Brendan enters the game. Alternatively, the Wizards can start big with a line-up like this:
Center: Brendan Haywood
Power Forward: Jermaine O'Neal
Small Forward: Antawn Jamison
Shooting Guard: Caron Butler
Point Guard: Antonio Daniels
Either way, I'm sure the new head coach can find a way to make it work.
So that's it. Queue the criticisms. :