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The blueprint's in place

The first day of free agency passed, and the Wizards didn't officially re-sign any of their free agents yet. That's not to say that there wasn't any news. In fact, that was hardly the case.

There's news surrounding the free agency of DeShawn Stevenson, Andray Blatche, and Jarvis Hayes. Per the Washington Times.

The Washington Wizards will offer guard DeShawn Stevenson a three-year, $9 million deal today, a league source with knowledge of the situation said last night. Additionally, it is expected New Jersey will offer Wizards restricted free agent forward Andray Blatche a four- or five-year deal starting at $3.9 million a season, according to a second source.
There's also this little blurb about Jarvis Hayes.
The offer to Stevenson means the Wizards are unlikely to try to re-sign restricted free agent Jarvis Hayes, the No. 10 pick in the 2003 draft. Hayes, who missed huge chunks of his second and third seasons to knee injuries, has never averaged more than 10.2 points and never shot better than 42.1 percent. The Wizards are unlikely to make additional moves in free agency because of the salary cap and the luxury tax, which forces teams to pay a dollar for every dollar over the cap.
Nothing too surprising there. I'm glad to see that it doesn't seem like there's much interest in re-signing Jarvis, but I'm also a little concerned at how casually Ernie seems to be treating the Blatche situation. If all New Jersey were to give was a 4 million dollar per year contract, you absolutely have to match it. Ernie's critics will point to how he lowballed Larry Hughes, but I cannot possibly see how he'll do the same to Blatche. That's why the wording seemed a bit wierd.

On the other hand, maybe the article itself needs to be disregarded. Ivan Carter doesn't usually make an appearance in the comments section of Wizards Insider, but he did pop in after his latest blog entry to provide this update.

Just got off the phone after making some calls. 1. Don't pay to much attention to the report that the Wiz were set to offer DeShawn 3 years, $9 million today. That figure is just a starting point for negotiations I'm told. No way DeShawn takes that anyway. After the season he told me that he'd take less elsewhere again before taking something like the 3-year, $10 million offer he turned down from Orlando last summer. He's looking for a five-year deal with a nice chunk of that mid-level. My guess is that the sides will find middle ground and he'll get something for around $4 million in the first year. 2. As long as nobody offers Blatche a ridiculous deal, the Wiz will match and he'll be here. 3. All is quiet regarding B Haywood trade talk. I hear that things will heat up later this summer after teams have explored all of their trade/free agent options. There's a chance he could be back.
There's also the part about how the Times article claimed the Wizards needed to use part of the MLE to secure Blatche, when they really have Bird Rights on him.

Newspaper battle sure are fun, aren't they? In all seriousness, neither report is wrong, per se. If DeShawn is really searching for a 5 year contract, the Wizards should definitely balk, especially after drafting a cheaper version in Nick Young. At the same time, there were times before all the injuries when he carried the team and was considered the fourth-best player on the team. Even if they were all open shots, shooting 50 percent is no easy picnic for a guard, and while he wasn't a lockdown defender, he was better than anyone there before. Hopefully, the two sides can just settle on something like 4 years and 16 million. The fact that Jason freaking Kapono is going to make 6 million a year next year (for Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors, no less) isn't exactly the best omen.

Assuming the Wizards have only the MLE left to spend (they plan on using the veterans exception on Calvin Booth), who would you guys try to sign? Do you even use the MLE when we're close to the luxury tax threshold? Lots of questions, let's think of some potential answers.