May 2, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis watches from the owner's box against the New York Rangers during the third period of game three in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center. The Rangers won 2-1 in triple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
Timing is a four-letter word for anyone who's been on the wrong side of it. D.C.sports fans live there. While you're busy remembering all that that implies, ask yourself how many superstars in the NBA have been traded to a non-contending team.
When a 'big move' happens, your assets have to be as near to maximum leverage as possible. That's how the Nene acquisition worked -- a combination of upside and showing just enough to get another team to bite. Wizards fans have been clamoring for another 'big move' and were disappointed when the Hornets trade went through. Even though the apparent 'coup' they missed out on would have been acquiring Ryan Anderson for four years at the cost of maybe Trevor Booker, but probably Kevin Seraphin. Remember, Gustavo Ayon is a promising backup center (Orlando is collecting them...see: Vucevic, Nikola) and the Magic would likely have demanded like from DC. For the Wizards, the timing for another 'big move' just isn't there yet.
But it will be.
For now, the Wizards are a collection of unblooded young guns and a few veterans on the rolls of a franchise who hasn't sniffed the playoffs since Michael Beasely looked like a stud. No rookie has garnered the accolades of Ty Lawson or Kenneth Faried, to say nothing of Kyrie Irving or Blake Griffin. No resident veteran comes without question marks, and all could be categorized as cap millstones depending on your perspective. And of course the Wizards lack the institutional credibility of the Rockets, much less the Spurs. How much can really change in a single season?
Well, thank god for the 48-hour news cycle. If the new look Wizards (bye bye, Andray Blatche) can make a respectable run, with a few breakout players who look like they're finally starting to put things together, every single asset the franchise commands will appreciate by virtue of simple association.
By now, the tremendous burden of expectations placed on coach Randy Wittman should be apparent. Coaching new hires Don Newman and Jerry Sichting are a good example of the front-office intending to take full advantage of a complete offseason.
The devil is in the details and contenders are in the timing. D.C. has waited a long time for a return to basketball prominence, and the time is almost right. The aging of the contracts and the players themselves are set to dovetail nicely in a moment of maximum leverage that reflects long-term planning in a fashion fans are not accustomed to seeing. If you need something to pass the time until training camp starts, however, you can't do any better than this.
In the words of Harvey Dent, the dawn is coming.