- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 24, 2003

With the 10th pick in an NBA Draft that is expected to be rife with selections of foreign players, the Washington Wizards brain trust worked late last night trying to make final a plan for tomorrow’s draft.

At the top of the agenda was an effort to get three players to come in for workouts today. The Wizards are believed to be trying to schedule workouts for Georgetown’s Mike Sweetney (his first), rugged Louisville combo guard Reece Gaines and Georgia small forward Jarvis Hayes, both for their second workouts.

Gaines has some draft-related obligations that his agent, Andy Miller, said he would have no problem getting out of to work out for the team. There is also a good chance that Hayes, a sweet shooter whose offense could help the Wizards’ sometimes stagnant offense, could be available.

However, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation, Sweetney might not be able to attend a workout, which could prevent the Wizards from taking him if he is still on the board when they pick.

The burly Oxon Hill High School graduate impressed some teams with his sometimes staggering performances during the season, such as his 35-point, 19-rebound effort in the Hoyas’ second meeting with Syracuse.

If the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Sweetney is available at No.10 and the Wizards ultimately select him, it would most likely be a case of selecting the best player available. This is especially true if they take Sweetney and there are still some quality point guards (Kansas’ Kirk Hinrich, UNLV’s Marcus Banks) and a player of Hayes’ ability available.

In other news, the Wizards are awaiting a decision from leading scorer Jerry Stackhouse whether he intends to opt out of the final two years of his contract. Stackhouse, who led the Wizards in scoring last season (21.5), has until 12:01 a.m. on July 1 to decide.

If Stackhouse does opt out, the Wizards could be almost $12million below the $40.2million salary cap.

By considering picking point guards in he draft, the Wizards — still searching for a president of basketball operations — are giving indications they are prepared for the possibility that Tyronn Lue might depart via free agency. Lue emerged as the team’s top point guard after the Wizards concluded — albeit way too late — that Larry Hughes, last summer’s big free agent signee, was not the point guard they had hoped he would be.

Although the Wizards were disappointed with the play of reserve forward Bryon Russell, whom they acquired last year, the team was not expecting him to opt out of the final year of his contract, which would have paid approximately $1.5million.

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