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On Internationals

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Two international players will likely figure prominently in the Wizards offseason plans.  One looks like he'll be here, while the other's situation is more up in the air.

The guy who looks like he will definitely be wearing a Wiz uniform next year is Oleksiy Pecherov, last year's first round pick.  From what it sounds like, he's a perfect fit in the Wizards' offensive scheme.  

In five games with Washington's summer league team, the 7-foot Pecherov averaged 12.6 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 46.2 percent. He impressed Coach Eddie Jordan with his ballhandling, shooting and rebounding skills. Pecherov, who said he patterns his game after Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, recently helped BC Kiev win a semifinal game in the Ukrainian Superleague playoffs by scoring 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 3 of 3 from three-point range.

Obviously, we can't get too carried away, but if he's there, it alleviates my worry of having no 7 footers on the roster if Haywood gets traded.  My main concern is his rebounding, but it looks like he's pretty solid in that regard.  Best-case scenario is that he turns into Nenad Kristic, which I certainly have no problem with.

The other international player is Juan Carlos Navarro, who was selected in the second round of the 2002 draft.  We've heard that he has a nasty buyout clause from his Barcelona team, but I didn't know it was this bad.

Here's the deal: He's dying to come over but has a big contract with Barcelona and the owner of the team doesn't want him to go because he's a star and brings in a lot of cash. I hear the buyout could be as large as $10 million to $12 million and by NBA rules, the Wiz can only pay up to $500,000 of it.

Yikes.  Basically, that means that Navarro himself will likely have to come up with the money for pretty much the entire buyout just to have a chance at signing a contract that would be around 3-4 million in a best-case scenario.  I'm not sure he's willing to take that risk, even though he's expressed that he desperately wants to play in the NBA.  The Wizards, and Navarro, have to find a way to lower that buyout clause to something more reasonable if Navarro is going to be an NBAer next year.

It's too bad, because Navarro sounds very much like Manu Ginobili at this stage of his career, and he no doubt would be a significant upgrade for the Wizards bench.   It would be the easiest way for the Wizards to get a strong wing player to upgrade their backcourt, because any free agent will likely cost more, and any rookie would have a development period.  If there's some way that buyout goes down, the Wizards should jump at getting Navarro in uniform next year.