Apr 26, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) shoots a layup against the Miami Heat during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
The Denver Nuggets may not be the first team that comes to mind when you think of playoff hell. Maybe they are. They haven't missed the playoffs since the 2002-03 season. They've been out of the first round only once in that span. The Wizards are making the climb to the postseason and playoff hell is but one of the many potholes that await.
As discussed last week, the controversial Rashard Lewis for Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor trade results in nearly every asset the team commands peaking by the 2013/14 All-Star break. But what happens if the unthinkable occurs and the front-office is unable to leverage those assets into a major acquisition? The cap holds of the aforementioned veterans combine with the 2010 draft class re-upping, and suddenly the Wizards' cap space is spoken for, for the foreseeable future. Is that the point at which fan resign themselves to playoff hell?
Denver has demonstrated the importance of retaining legitimately producing players on manageable contracts. Even in the event that such players are overpaid, provided it is not too egregious, the contracts prove moveable and even attractive to a rival front office looking for the right piece(s). Even in Al Harrington's deal the final two years were partially guaranteed.
It all goes to the point that if the Wizards front-office fails to make a transformational move by the 2013/14 All-Star break, simply retaining the services of their best and brightest on reasonable deals gives the Wiz a puncher's chance of improving the team without the 'big move'.
There is urgency in DC, but even if the current plan fails, it ain't doomsday yet.