So, the dust is settling from the Wizards draft, a draft that saw them deal that No. 5 pick, which ended up being Ricky Rubio, for Mike Miller and Randy Foye.
It’s easy right now if you’re a Wizards fan to feel a twinge of regret seeing Rubio slide to five, but given the Wizards’ situation, which includes already having an All-Star point guard in Gilbert Arenas, and Rubio’s agent not wanting him to go anywhere other than a place where he could run the show, perhaps they were better off. Minnesota made little sense at first glance, picking Rubio and then Flynn. But I’m starting to think there’s going to be some nasty drama for Minnesota and Rubio, who now according to multiple reports, isn’t ruling out a return to Spain.
The Wizards had no intention of hanging onto their 32nd pick, although DeJuan Blair seems like a player that could’ve helped them. But given his history of knee problems, Washington and apparently a lot of teams were scared to take a risk.
Washington, I’m told, received $2.5 million from Houston for that pick (Jermaine Taylor) and will spend the summer pursuing another big man either through free agency or trade. Grunfeld & Co. are aware that the need remains, and with Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee still unproven, they would rather get a veteran — even if it does end up being more expensive than what they would’ve paid Blair. Mike James and his expiring contract are bound to be a part of the possible pieces to move as part of a trade to acquire a big man, and maybe DeShawn Stevenson as well, although with him just coming off back surgery, teams might not want to touch him.
And speaking of big men, I caught up with Antawn Jamison this week, and as I wrote on Thursday, he’s excited about the new additions. Mike Miller said last night that not only Jamison, but co-captain Caron Butler has also reached out to him and Foye already and welcomed them to the Wizards family.
Jamison said he just got his walking boot off and that his ankle (which had bone spurs removed from it) is doing well. He was just finishing rehab when he returned my call and was about to begin a yoga session.
Antawn said having the cast on for three weeks was a bit unexpected, but that he now is ahead of schedule and able to start running and cutting. “Only thing is now, from having not done anything all that time, I need to work on getting my rhythm and strength back. But everything’s going well.”
On the departure of Songaila: “That was the tough part. His locker has been by mine since he’s been here and we had a strong bond. This is the part of the business you hate to see. I admired him a lot and he’s going to be missed. He would go out there and do anything the team needed him to do.
“Same with Etan. He was hurt a lot the last few years, but when he was healthy, you could depend on him to do the dirty work just like Darius did. Pech, he didn’t get to really play a lot, but I tried to call them all, didn’t get a hold of them, but sent them messages, let them know I appreciated them.”
The Wizards’ summer roster will be set a few days following the 4th of July, and they’ll practice for a few days, then head out to Las Vegas, where their first game is July 14. No word yet on who will coach the team, but I believe Nick Young and Javaris Crittenton and JaVale are planning to be a part of the team.
— Mike Jones