- The Washington Times - Monday, October 20, 2003

The Washington Wizards exercised the fourth-year options on forward Kwame Brown and center Brendan Haywood, which indicates the team believes the two are key figures in its rebuilding program.

“Kwame and Brendan are two young, talented big men who are part of our foundation here in Washington,” president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said. “Both of them have continued to develop and we look forward to their continued improvement.”

Brown, 6-foot-11, was the league’s top pick in 2001. He was the first high school player in league history to be selected with the first overall pick. In two years with the Wizards Brown has averaged 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds.

This is expected to be a crucial season in Brown’s development. Heading into last night’s 99-86 preseason victory against the Atlanta Hawks, Brown led the team in scoring (14.0), rebounding (7.0) and blocks (1.6).

Brown is scheduled to make $4.25million this season and $5.36million in the fourth year.

The 7-foot Haywood has averaged 5.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in his two years in the league. He’ll make $1.125million this season and $1.73million in 2004-05.

Washington acquired Haywood on Aug.1, 2001 from Orlando in exchange for Laron Profit and a future first round pick. The Cleveland Cavaliers originally drafted Haywood in the first round (20th) of the 2001 draft, then traded his draft rights to Orlando in exchange for Michael Doleac.

Note — Rookie Jarvis Hayes scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Wizards in last night’s win over the Hawks in Charlotte, N.C. Gilbert Arenas had 13 points and Juan Dixon added 12.

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