Rebuilding The Wizards: Three Options

At this point in the season, if the Wizards are to really rebuild, they have options. Before I get into the three I see, let me state what I mean by "rebuilding:" Gilbert Arenas is no longer the "engine" of this team and we need a new player to build the team around. That means some players definitely have to go, some players can stay and others, well, it's really up to them.

Of course, as long as Ernie Grunfeld in the GM, there will be a measured (and most likely slow) approach. So keep that in mind.



After the jump, I'll get into the different scenarios.

SCORCHED EARTH FIRE SALE. This is probably the scenario most desired by the community here: trade/release everyone for pics, cash and expiring contracts and use the next set of drafts to build another contender. Going this route all but guarantees that our Veterans (Jamison, Butler, Stevenson, Miller and Oberto and most likely Haywood too). As for the Young Guns (McGee, Blatche, McGuire, Young, and Foye), it all depends on whether any other team wants these guys; they all have their pluses and minuses. James and Boykins were never considered part of any long-term plans, so their fate is an overall wash.

   Pros: We start clean; nothing from the Eddie Jordan/Gilbert Arenas Era remains (unless you count Grunfeld). At this point most of the Wizards' fans and writers are willing to give Flip a pass on the season, so he can start fresh as well. The national media will leave the franchise alone and allow ownership and management to get its act together.

  Cons: It will take between 3-4 seasons before we can even talk about contending for a championship (playoffs are a different matter). The fans may not be patient for that duration. Some players will still be owed money. Ernie may turn out to be better as a "rebuilding with what you've got"-type GM than a "making a contender from scratch"-type GM. Dirty laundry from released/traded player will definitely come out, making free agency more difficult. The draft picks may not work out as planned, extending the rebuilding schedule.


PATCH THE SHIP, JAMISON EDITION. Allow me to frighten some of you: Grunfeld, impressed with Jamison's dedication to the team, decides to rebuild the squad around his strengths and weaknesses. Most likely this will result in a drastically older roster (as Jamison is playing more for a championship than a trade at this point) which means the Young Guns are gone (maybe they keep Foye and McGuire). Oberto is probably gone for someone who can play more minutes (without getting into foul trouble), Stevenson stays as "Miller Insurance" and Haywood will most likely become one of the "Young Vets." The biggest wild card is Butler: if he wants out of DC, the team might as well go with scenario one.

  Pros: For those who have been waiting a long time to see a serious contender, this is their fantasy come to life. Assuming we get veterans that complement Jamison, the team becomes smarter and wiser. Offensive execution will most likely improve. For the players who remain, the move will reaffirm who the team leader is. Flip has a chance to return to the playoffs.

  Cons: Dirty Laundry will still air. Some sports writers (and followers) will label the Wizards desperate and unrealistic. If Jamison breaks down, Grunfeld will look like the (second) biggest fool in the NBA. A predominantly veteran squad, while ideal for the playoffs, may not survive the grind of the regular season.


PATCH THE SHIP, BUTLER EDITION. From a marketing perspective, this is probably the best of the three: make Caron Butler the centerpiece of the Washington Wizards. If you want to make a late night talk show analogy, you can argue that Butler was Conan O'Brien to Arenas' Jay Leno for the past two seasons, and that this was overdue/inevitable anyway. Regardless, making this moves probably means that Grunfeld intends to do a hybrid of the two earlier scenarios: remaking the team, but not into a playoff contender as much as a respectable competitor that may or may not slip in. If this is the case, Jamison's gone. You might as well dump Oberto while we're at it. Haywood and Miller could stay if only because Haywood's a better defensive player and Miller's a better offensive one. As for the Young Guns, it really depends on whether Grunfeld wants to ad pieces via the draft or free agency. If by the draft: keep the kids and play with Butler to see who has the best chemistry with the guy, win/loss record be damned. If via free agency, trade the kids away to other team who are further along or desperate.

  Pros: Grunfeld can talk out of both sides of his mouth with this one: one day he can claim that they're developing the Young Guns, the other he can claim they have the adequate pieces to make noise in the playoffs. Butler gets to prove he's a star player worthy of building around. Jamison gets the chance to move to a true contender. The Young Guns will have no more excuses after getting yet another season of extended playing time. Flip will have the opportunity to tailor plays to his star player.

  Cons: Butler may turn out to be this generation's Juwan Howard, a very decent third banana who by circumstances beyond his control ended up in the role of being treated and looked at as a top banana. Some players may revolt at the idea. Flip's offense, which is more guard-orientated, may hurt Butler's production even more now that the spotlight's on him. The players Grunfeld gets may be no better a fit than the ones he let go. A conflict between the fan's timetable and Grunfeld's may lead to some empty seats at the Phone Booth.


I'm positive there are more scenarios out there, so please share (or tell me what you think of these).

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.

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