I'll have a long roundup of all relevant Wizards links tomorrow, but I feel like this is important enough for it's own post.
As a couple of you alluded to in the comments section of the last post, Brendan Haywood's nameplate no longer appears in the Wizards locker room. Haywood did not play a single minute in Game 4, left the game early, and by the time reporters filed in, had thrown his nameplate inside the locker.
Ivan Carter did some follow-up reporting today, and dug to the bottom of the issue.
"You know, that's for [President of Basketball Operations] Ernie Grunfeld, management and my agent to sit down and decide," Haywood said when asked yesterday about his future. "I'm a player. I can't force a trade. I'm not going to say in the paper whether I want out of here or not. All I know is I'm going to be a professional, I'm going to work hard and I'm going to let the chips fall where they may."
Basically, if those two sources are correct (and I imagine they are), Haywood's going to demand a trade, because Eddie Jordan is coming back to coach this team. Nothing that Brendan actually said can convince me otherwise. He basically said he had the same thoughts, but didn't want them to go on the record.
We could argue back and forth about who's out of line in the EJ-Brendan feud. Personally, I'm siding more with Brendan, because it does seem like Eddie didn't communicate with him properly. But after the absolute crapfest he threw in Game 3, he can't honestly be upset for not playing in Game 4, and he can't honestly be upset that Eddie wasn't happy with his play down the stretch. The onus is on the coach for the communication issue, but that doesn't change the fact that Haywood was ineffective at the end of the year.
At this point though, it's beyond repair. Brendan needs to move on, and Ernie needs to capitalize on whatever market value Brendan has left. The good news is that Brendan's contract is incredibly reasonable for a big man, and he's still relatively young. The bad news is that he's not Kwame Brown-young, and this feud with Eddie has to scare other teams away.
The other thing I'm not so comfortable with is the prospect of starting next year without a single 7' footer on the roster. Etan Thomas plays hard, but is undersized and overpaid, and makes the defense a lot worse when he's out there. More than anything, the Wizards' defense needs a shot-alterer down low. Notice I didn't say shot-blocker, because Etan can do that. Maybe O-Pec will be better than we thought, because the Wizards aren't drafting a big that can do anything at the 16th spot.
Despite all that though, Haywood does need to go. So think of some trade possibilities in the comments. Remember to follow the trade proposal primer, which, in case you don't want to read, means just make sure the salaries match up and the offer is reasonable.