Prior to the Washington Wizards-New Orleans Hornets game here at New Orleans Arena tonight, it was like a class reunion. Guys in Wizards blue flocking to Antonio Daniels to catch up and guys in the Hornets’ uniforms exchanging hugs with Mike James.
Both players are extremely happy in their new situations. Daniels being a 12-year veteran is pleased to be a backup rather than try to force his body to go for 30-plus minutes a game, and he’s happy to have a chance to win in the latter stages of his career.
Mike James is thrilled just to be playing. He had been banished to the Hornets bench, and now is starting for the Wizards. When asked how it felt to be playing again he said “It feels great, how would you like to go back to being an intern reporter and standing there watching everyone else ask questions? You’d want to ask some questions for yourself. I’m happy to be playing.”
Daniels feels like Wizards management showed him respect in finding a great situation for him to start over. The way he sees it, Ernie Grunfeld could have kept him in Washington throughout the sudden rebuilding situation the team is in, or he could’ve sent him to another losing team. And while humbled by that, he believes he earned that respect by being a constant professional.
“I always say everything happens for a reason,” Daniels said before the game. “And I truly am blessed to be here. … I have the utmost respect for that organization. Ernie Grunfeld, Tommy Sheppard treated me first-class from the moment I got there. But, when it’s time to play, it’s time to play and it’s winning time.”
Caron Butler again is a game-time decision for the Wizards. He’s testing out his sprained ankle and will see how it responds.