- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Wizards forward Kwame Brown believes this is the season when the light has started to flicker. And when it becomes a megawatt lamp, Brown wants to be in Washington.

“I definitely want it to happen here,” Brown said. “Nobody wants to be traded. I just want us to get it together, bring this city some energy. If I can make up for lost time when we weren’t winning and start winning some games in Washington that would be great.”

The Wizards exercised the option on Brown’s contract last fall, which will keep him in Washington through the end of next season. The Wizards also could sign him to an extension this summer.

Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld does not comment on contract negotiations. However, he did say he and Brown’s agent, Arn Tellem, probably would have discussions this summer.

Calls to Tellem’s Los Angeles office were not returned.

Following the team’s practice at MCI Center yesterday, Brown admitted that he has considered an extension.

“Of course I’d like to have one,” Brown said. “I think Arn is going to go to them this summer. But I don’t think with the season the way it has been they are going to rush right into it. But it doesn’t hurt to ask.”

“Really, if we can get that over with it would be great. But again, that’s not my job.”

If the Wizards decide to give Brown an extension their window of opportunity is from July 14 — the date when teams can begin signing players — to Oct. 31. During this time the Wizards are the only team that can approach Brown.

If the Wizards don’t get a deal done with Brown this summer he would become a restricted free agent at the end of next season capable of agreeing to a deal with the team of his choice.

That said, the Wizards still would have the best chance of signing Brown because of the Larry Bird exception, which would allow them to exceed the salary cap to retain the forward. The salary cap for 2005 is presently unknown. However, Washington could be millions below it.

This year’s salary cap is $43.84 million.

Brown originally signed a three-year deal worth $12.2 million. The Wizards exercised their option for next season that will pay him $5.37 million.

In this era of the luxury tax, which costs teams a dollar for every dollar they exceed the salary cap, teams have demonstrated a reluctance to offer players extensions.

That is why the Wizards probably will take a wait-and-see approach with Brown. They are happy that he has established career highs in both scoring (10.9) and rebounding (7.5), but they also believe there is still room for substantial growth.

“He’s learned a lot this year,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “Now we need that consistency. We need him to always think in his mind that he wants to be as good as any basketball player in the NBA on a daily basis.”

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