Wizards, Stevenson close
The Washington Wizards continue to remain optimistic they can come to terms on a contract with guard DeShawn Stevenson. But in the event they don’t, the Wizards are working on a contingency plan that included talking with the representative of Devin Brown yesterday, according to a team source.
But if negotiations with Stevenson break down, the Wizards will consider Brown, a five-year pro. Last season Brown averaged 11.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists a game while appearing in 58 games for the Hornets, 49 as a starter.
Last summer Stevenson walked away from a three-year, $10 million offer from the Magic. He signed with the Wizards for just under $1 million knowing he would not exercise the option year in his deal and that he would become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Talks with Stevenson and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, are believed to have begun with the Wizards offering $9 million over three years. The Wizards are believed to have made a second offer of $15 million over four seasons.
However, one league source said Stevenson was looking for a deal in the neighborhood of $18 million over four years.
After starting all 82 games in the 2005-06 season for Orlando, Stevenson did it again this past season for the Wizards. In the process he improved his reputation as a tough perimeter defender. He also matched his career high in points a game (11.2), and he made a career-best 46.1 percent of his field goals.
Stevenson proved to be a strong complement alongside All-Star Gilbert Arenas.
Without the injured Arenas and All-Star small forward Caron Butler to loosen up the Cavaliers’ defense, Stevenson made just nine of 46 field goals (19.6 percent) and connected on just three of 21 attempts from 3-point range (14.3 percent).
Over the last few seasons the Wizards have been a strong offensive team — last season they led the Eastern Conference in scoring — but over the same span they have demonstrated that they either can’t or won’t play defense.