- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Contrary to Internet rumors, there have been no discussions between the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers about a possible trade involving Gilbert Arenas and Kobe Bryant, according to two league sources with knowledge of the situation.

In the days since Arenas announced he was going to opt out of the final year of his contract next summer, his name has been thrown out as one of the superstars who might be involved in a deal to acquire Bryant, who can veto any trade. Boston’s Paul Pierce also has had his name connected with a possible Bryant trade, among others.

“It’s ridiculous,” a source said. “There have been no talks between the Wizards and the Lakers concerning Gilbert and Kobe. It’s amazing. A guy gets on the elevator, hears the elevator operator talking about a trade and the next thing it’s all over the Internet.”

Both sources said the Wizards are committed to re-signing Arenas to a long-term deal after he opts out next summer. One source said “the Wizards are committed” to keeping Arenas. The sources based these observations on recent conversations with team owner Abe Pollin and president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld.

“The Wizards aren’t trading Gilbert,” a source said.

Pecherov works out

Oleksiy Pecherov worked out with Wizards free agent Andray Blatche yesterday in a surprise appearance at Verizon Center.

The 6-foot-11 Pecherov, the Wizards‘ top pick in last year’s draft, is expected to join the team this season after spending last year with BC Kyiv of the European Superleague.

Grunfeld hopes to have Pecherov playing in the summer leagues and at training camp in the fall. Pecherov has an $800,000 buyout in his contract — of which the Wizards are responsible for $500,000 — but that will not be a roadblock, according to the team.

“I am looking forward to being on this team,” Pecherov said. “I will do my best to help the team. I have all the confidence in my game, and I will try hard to help the Wizards win some games.”

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