The Washington Times - April 18, 2011, 09:46AM

We begin our final week of Wizards Takeaways with Maurice “Mo” Evans, who joined the Wizards in February in the same trade that netted Jordan Crawford. Evans helped provide depth off the bench and filled in capably as a starter when the roster became depleted by injuries.

Evans could be in for a busy off-season; as Vice President of the NBA Players Association, he plans to take an active role in the labor talks as the league and the union try to work out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

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On the potential lockout:

“I’m looking forward to helping us get a deal, so we can have a season next year. I’m very optimistic. I don’t think anything will happen before July 1st so technically, there will be a lockout. But we’re looking forward to having as many meetings as necessary, and we’re looking forward to seeing the outcome of the NFL [labor negotiations] and I’m sure that’s going to factor into what happens with us.”

On the NFLPA strategy of decertifying the union:

“Through mediation, something’s going to happen, whether it be for the players or for the owners, even if they just maintain the order of business under their current CBA. They [the union] took a chance, and that means they’re drastic and they’re serious about trying to have football. In my opinion, we’re serious about trying to have basketball as well. Hopefully, we won’t have to go to those measures. Hopefully, we can just sit down and hammer out a deal. In my opinion, the current deal we have now is actually working.”

On preparing for the lockout:

“We’ve been preparing for this for a while, and so have the owners. I hope no one’s been preparing with malicious intent to try and prove a point and be spiteful. We’re just trying to get a deal. We want basketball; we want football. We want all sports. It’s part of our culture and part of our values.”

On joining the Wizards:

“It was disappointing to miss the playoffs for the first time in my career. I’m a competitor and obviously having been in the playoffs every year, I was proud of that. I worked really hard [in the playoffs] and contributed to Atlanta’s success, and then to go to a team that obviously isn’t competing for a championship [was hard], but just being a professional, you’ve got to go and do your job.”

On his expectations after being traded:

“I came here with different expectations. I came here to work on trying to get better and make an impact on the court. My role was increased and my responsibilities as a leader was increased and I tried to embrace that and tried to fulfill my obligations.”    

On John Wall:

“I think John did a great job, especially not knowing what to expect at this level. I remember we played them early on when I was with the Hawks and just seeing his growth from the first time I saw him play until now, he did develop into a leader on the floor. He knew how to make guys better; he knew what buttons to push to get certain guys to play, and when to get someone the ball if it might give them incentive to play harder.”

On the Wizards fans:

“My message to the fans would be thank you for your support, even through the negativity of the possibility of a lockout. We appreciate everything they do because the fans are why this is all possible.”

Mo Evans talks in more detail about the potential lockout and the CBA negotiations in an upcoming article.

Next Up: Trevor Booker