- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 12, 2004

Ready to move on, Washington Wizards forward Kwame Brown was reunited with the team yesterday at practice after serving a two-day suspension.

“I live in the future — I don’t live in the past,” Brown said following the practice at MCI Center. “It’s one of those deals that is done. He reacted the way he reacted, I got suspended and that’s it. It’s done.”

Presumably, Brown will start today’s game against the New Orleans Hornets at MCI Center.

In the early euphoria of the team’s best start in 30 years, both Brown and coach Eddie Jordan minimized their second-quarter dispute in Wednesday’s 111-105 loss to Denver. The two met privately yesterday, redressed the situation and emerged confident that the incident — which did not appear excessive when it happened — would not cause a rift.

“We had a small talk and everything is great,” Jordan said. “He’s ready to move on. We talked about growing together and doing the right thing. Everything seems to be fine.”

Both individuals otherwise refused to discuss what happened during a timeout with 2:55 remaining in the second quarter and the Wizards trailing 45-41 after a pair of defensive breakdowns led to back-to-back Denver baskets. An angry Jordan said something to Brown, who appeared to ignore him, as the players came off the court. When the team huddled to discuss strategy before the timeout ended, Brown didn’t join the team and never re-entered the game.

Without Brown, who missed the first 14 games of the season while recovering from a broken foot, the Wizards (11-6) defeated New York 106-104 on Friday to win their eighth game in their last 10.

Yesterday both player and coach acknowledged that the blowup and ensuing suspension could have been the result of miscommunication.

“Everybody misinterprets once in awhile,” Jordan said. “As long as you have the communication lines open and you care for one another, that’s important. I’m sure he knows we care. It’s just a blip on the radar screen, a bump in the road, and we’re going to be fine.”

Brown is in the final year of his contract and can become a free agent next summer. After averaging career highs in points (10.9) and rebounds (7.4) last season, some around the league suspected Brown — the top pick in the 2001 draft and the first high school player ever selected No.1 — was set for a breakout season.

But after missing four months of conditioning after suffering the broken foot, Brown, 22, no doubt feels pressure to come back and fit in while at the same time raising his value in the eyes of potential suitors, the Wizards included.

“It’s hard for him — he hasn’t gotten a break yet,” teammate Gilbert Arenas said. “But it’s still his year. There is a lot of pressure on him, but you’ve got to realize that if we’re winning, you’re going to get paid. So just come in and help us win.

“You can tell he’s frustrated because he wants to play,” Arenas continued. “If you’re getting frustrated, that’s a good thing because that means you’re not just sitting over there. If you aren’t frustrated, that means you gave up and something is wrong with you.”

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