- Associated Press - Saturday, December 18, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) - No President Barack Obama. No Gilbert Arenas. No John Wall.

Good thing the other team had LeBron James.

The Washington Wizards were short-handed in many ways Saturday night against the Miami Heat.

First, Obama canceled plans to attend, with Secret Service agents abruptly leaving the arena hours before tip-off. Then Arenas, the colorful three-time All-Star, was traded to the Orlando Magic for Rashard Lewis.

Finally, coach Flip Saunders confirmed that No. 1 overall pick Wall would sit for the third straight game with right knee tendinitis.

At least the Wizards expected to have Josh Howard for the first time this season. He was active after missing the first 24 games with a torn ligament in his left knee.

The Arenas trade marks the end of an era for the Wizards, who rode their version of the big three _ Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Arenas _ to a string of playoff appearances before injuries and Arenas‘ misbehavior sent the franchise into a tailspin. Jamison and Butler were traded last season as the team began a rebuilding movement centered around Wall.

The Wizards now have only three players _ Nick Young, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee _ who were on the roster a year ago.

“We were just talking about that, me and JaVale,” Young said. “When I came in, we made the playoffs my first year. We had a good team that had been together for a while, and to see it all leave over the years I’ve been here _ it’s crazy.”

While the Wizards were happy to unload Arenas‘ bad contract for Lewis’ slighty-less-bad one, Young said Arenas was also in need of a fresh start after a 50-game suspension and a felony conviction last season for bringing guns to the locker room.

“He’s a good dude, a great player, and everything that happened here, it was kind of tough on him, kind of made it hard it on him,” Young said. “He didn’t know his role and how he was going to fit back in. It came with a lot of difficulties. To see him go back home to get a fresh start and be on a winning team, I know that’s something he would enjoy and hopefully he’ll continue to do good. “

And now there’s no doubt that the Wizards will be led by Wall _ assuming the rookie can get healthy again. He has missed 10 of 25 games this season with various injuries.

“No one’s going to ask us whose team it is,” coach Flip Saunders said. “It’s his team, and so that comes with a lot of responsibility. The critics who thought that Gilbert would hinder his development, that’s not gong to be brought up any more.”

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

blog comments powered by Disqus

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide