- Associated Press - Thursday, June 24, 2010

WASHINGTON | The hundreds of Washington Wizards season ticket holders gathered on the team’s practice court saw faces from the franchise appear on the big TV screen televising the NBA draft.

They booed Kwame Brown, the team’s No. 1 overall bust from 2001. They cheered Ted Leonsis, the team’s new owner. They reacted to Gilbert Arenas with an awkward silence, as if they no longer know what to think about the three-time All-Star who fell from grace.

The biggest cheer of all, naturally, came when commissioner David Stern announced John Wall as the No. 1 overall pick. Balloons fell from the ceiling. Black T-shirts were distributed with the words: “WALL. GAME CHANGER.” The party was on.

“Surprise,” team president Ernie Grunfeld said.

It was, of course, no surprise that the Wizards chose the 6-foot-4 Kentucky point guard with the first pick. Grunfeld, in fact, said he knew who the selection would be as soon as he watched Washington win the draft lottery last month.

“I said, ‘I can’t believe it. We’re going to get John Wall,’” Grunfeld said.

But Wall was just a cornerstone on a big night for the Wizards. They also agreed to acquire a possible mentor for the rookie, striking a deal to get veteran guard Kirk Hinrich from the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls will also give the Wizards the rights to the No. 17 overall pick, Kevin Seraphin from French Guyana. Washington only has to relinquish a future second-round selection because Chicago was mainly interested in clearing cap space.

A person familiar with the trade confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it can’t become official until July 8 when the new salary cap comes into effect and the Wizards can take Hinrich’s $9 million salary for next season without having to send back something of similar financial value.

The Wizards weren’t done yet. They had a proposed deal in place to swap the 30th and 35th picks with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 23rd and 56th selections, pending NBA approval.

The No. 23 pick — headed to Washington — was 6-foot-7 forward Trevor Booker from Clemson. Headed to Minnesota would be 6-foot-6 forward Lazar Hayward from Marquette at No. 30, and 6-foot-10 forward Nemanja Bjelica from Serbia at No. 35.

The Wizards, therefore, stood to pick up five players Thursday night: Wall, Hinrich, Seraphin, Booker and the No. 56 pick.

Seraphin, however, might not be coming to the NBA anytime soon. The 6-foot-9 forward spent the past four years playing for French club Cholet Basket, which signed him to a three-year contract last August.

The Wizards were in full rebuilding mode, having started the day with only six players under contract and trying to recover from the most dismal season in franchise history. Longtime owner Abe Pollin died in November, marquee player Arenas was suspended for bringing guns into the locker room, and the 26-56 record made Washington a lottery team for the second consecutive year.

While all the additions could be cause for celebration, the star of the night was unquestionably Wall. Grunfeld, usually not the most animated of team officials, even obliged when asked to do what has become known as the John Wall Dance — doing a quick flick of his right hand before leaving the interview room.


AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman in Deerfield, Ill., contributed to this report.

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