- The Washington Times - Friday, June 25, 2004

The Wizards unloaded a malcontent, an apostle and a question mark to acquire Antawn Jamison.

The exchange carries a hint of promise in Tony Cheng’s neighborhood, if only because of the shedding of the negatives.

Jerry Stackhouse was unhappy to a fault and unresponsive to the directives of Ernie Grunfeld and Eddie Jordan.

Stackhouse elected to shut it down last season, which came as news to Grunfeld and Jordan, the persons with the most right to be informed. That was merely another sign of a communication flaw.

Stackhouse also was the only player in the NBA to make “contact” with a female realtor last summer after she noted the departure date on the lease to a beach house.

Stackhouse believed he deserved an extension on the house at the last moment, which conflicted with the plans of the family waiting to take up residence.

It turned out to be a communication failure with a history-making twist, as the realtor became the first woman ever to incur a player control foul in the NBA.

In the self-indulgent world according to Stackhouse, the consideration of others does not rise to the level of a low priority.

As an added bonus, his departure eases the team’s overrepresentation of shot-happy players on the perimeter, the mind-set of Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes and Juan Dixon that conflicts with the development of the post players.

Given Stackhouse’s precipitous decline, the two-time All-Star is in the process of becoming a journeyman, no longer able to complete a deal without the sweetener of the No.5 pick in the NBA Draft.

Yet the No.5 pick was hardly a significant loss in a draft that lacked the certainty of Yao Ming or LeBron James, only the uncertainty of Emeka Okafor’s bad back and the next Kwame Brown who claims to be the next Kevin Garnett.

The roster of the Wizards already is stuffed with the young looking to be consistent. One more was unnecessary.

So Stackhouse is out the door, with no regrets in his wake, only a chorus of good riddance.

He landed in Washington as the bookend to Michael Jordan, as the additional piece destined to push the Wizards to the playoffs. There was barely a ripple of concern, this space included, regarding the loss of Richard Hamilton.

It goes down as another good deal gone bad, too hard to ignore following the championship of the Washington expatriates in Detroit.

Jamison is the next good deal waiting to go bad, the natural response around a franchise stuck in the quicksand of mediocrity.

Jamison has the credentials to escape the curses endemic to Fun Street, plus the equanimity to compartmentalize disappointment. In Dallas, Jamison turned a benching into the Sixth Man Award, an accomplishment more mental than physical for a player who averaged 24.9 points in 2001.

Jamison is being urged not to break a leg after donning the apparel of the Wizards.

Arenas, one of Jamison’s pals from Golden State and the team’s last acquisition with appeal, lasted about two minutes of the season before succumbing to an injury. That is how it often goes with the Wizards. The seemingly strong and healthy turn brittle. It could be the lead in the water.

Christian Laettner, who showed up last season looking like an extra from the Last Supper, corrected the salary numbers in a transaction intended to answer the SOS of Shaquille O’Neal.

Mark Cuban is readying to open his wallet to O’Neal and his roster to the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki excluded.

If Cuban is able to pry O’Neal from the Lakers, the Zen master’s latest sabbatical could turn out to be briefer than originally thought.

Laettner hit the age-induced area of diminishing returns last season soon after being identified as a member of the Cheech & Chong health plan. He came to move at two speeds, slow and slower, and limited himself to one dunk a season.

Score this trade in Grunfeld’s favor, although with fingers crossed.

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