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Amnesty Blatche? Don't count on it


Amnesty Blatche? Don't count on it

Within minutes after learning of plans to sit Andray Blatche due to hisout-of-shapeness, the word "amnesty" ferociously rose to prominence among the WashingtonWizards fan base. The Cinnamon Twins, traded. Rashard Lewis had a buyout clause either theWizards or another team would exercise. Give Blatche and is ill-advisedcontract extension their walking papers - plus a check for 23 million - and asadly comical era of Wizards basketball could be put to rest, so the message boards say.As a sidelined Blatche rides the recumbent bike to nowhere and the teamtraded for two veteran frontcourt types in return for parting with Lewis, onthe surface, some might think indeed the final part of the get out of Dodge trilogyis almost upon us. Starting on Wednesday, when the NBA is truly back open forbusiness, the Wizards have one week to makethis decision.
Yet, ever since they veered away from stroking Lewis a check and toward a wewant something for our money approach, there has been increased skepticismabout a Blatche-ian amnesty departure (in my house anyway). I've hintedat alternative options to help brace the diehards who simply cannot fathomthe "Captain" donning his No. 7 Wizards jersey again. But hey, I barely balance my checkbook and don't study salary cap scenariosfor breakfast. My financial sensibilities can be ignored. Those belonging to Larry Coon, not so much. He's the man responsible for the incrediblydetailed NBA Salary Cap FAQ,an online document NBA writers dealing with such financial matters keepopen on their browser at all times to help make them appear smart.With the zero hour almost upon the Wizards and the other NBA teams with theamnesty arrow still part of their decision-making quiver, one of basketball'sleading salary cap voices offeredhis amnesty-using take. The Wizards section is brief and to the point(and since its an ESPN Insidercolumn, it's cut and pasted below). The bolding is my doing.Washington Wizards
Most likely amnesty cut: None
How likely to use amnesty this season: Outside shot
Other amnesty candidates: Andray Blatche
Notes: Washington will keep its options open, but its most likely action is tostand pat.For comparison, Coon lists players in the "most likely amnestycut" category for eight teams. Of those eight, some like Philadelphia'sElton Brand and Minnesota's Darko Milicic are deemed slam dunks for a payoffs. Others like Metta World Peace, closer to a 50-50 call. But, in Coon's mind, there is at least a debatehappening over certain contractually untenable hoopsters.In Washington, he doesn't seem to think that's the case.None of this means Blatche will return for an eighth season with the Wizardsfranchise. There could be a trade, but that's a long shot at best. That path wouldalmost assuredly require taking on an equally onerous contract in return. Theteam could decide to Keyshawn him, telling Blatche to stay away as the TampaBuccaneers once said to their attitude-fueled wide receiver.Blatche could be with the team at training camp. Maybe he's simplyburied on the depth chart, one currently filled with seven viable oron-the-come frontcourt options. Maybe the franchise's financial folk suggest holding hisnow bloated contract because the more time passes, its trade chip valueincreases as other NBA team grapple with future luxury tax hell. Maybe the team simply keeps him in the fold, hoping a wave of maturity washesover the 25-year-old. Its not as if Blatche isnt talented. He went for 17 and8 per night not so long ago. Perhaps in time he sees the light, the teamregains faith and the organization gets a return back on its investment.Pick an outcome, whatever works for your sensibilities. Just dont assume the amnestyoption is one of them.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 


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G-Leaguer Jordan McRae who dropped 54 points could be a roster addition for Wizards

G-Leaguer Jordan McRae who dropped 54 points could be a roster addition for Wizards

Time is nearly up for the Washington Wizards to replace Ron Baker on the active roster.

Jordan McRae made his strongest push yet for the gig.

McRae, one of the Wizards’ two-way contract players, scored 54 points for Capital City Friday night in the Go-Go’s 118-107 win over the Main Red Claws. That’s the most points scored by any G-League player this season.

Makes sense this wing guard holds the distinction. McRae leads the league in scoring with 29.5 points per game.

Finding such opportunities with Washington this season has not come as easy. McRae, a 27-year-old with prior NBA experience, scored only four points in 35 minutes over eight games for the 19-26 Wizards this season.

While shuttling back and forth between the two levels since Baker’s release on Jan. 7, the 6-foot-5 guard’s lone appearance came in the final minutes of a 17-point win over Philadelphia on Jan. 9.

For now, McRae and Devin Robinson, Washington’s other two-way contract player, offer in-case-of-emergency depth. Robinson traveled with the Wizards to London for Thursday’s win over the New York Knicks but did not play.

Someone else will join the roster soon.

League rules mandate a minimum of 14 players. Teams have two weeks to reach that number should they drop below. Washington, which kept its 15th slot open all season, did upon releasing Baker.

The Wizards could and likely will fill the void by signing a free agent to a 10-day contract. Another body would not hurt.

John Wall (heel surgery) is out for the season. Uncertain recovery timelines exist for forward Markieff Morris (neck) and center Dwight Howard (back surgery).

McRae is not an option for the 10-day scenario, but he has shown a readiness with the scorching Go-Go. Capital City has won seven of its last eight games.

“He’s done a great job staying with his development on and off the court,” Go-Go coach Jarell Christian said of McRae. “He’s our leader. For him to continue to play the right way, everyone else just falls in line.”

McRae’s scoring surge comes after he sat out last season with a shoulder injury.

“It was the first time in my life being injured. Being out for a whole year, it was tough for me,” McRae said. “Being with these guys every day, going back and forth with the Wizards, it’s tiring, but its fun. It’s my job.”

Christian offered advice on the key for McRae should the Wizards eventually turn McRae’s contract from a two-way to an NBA deal and set him loose on the court.

“I think it’s just about his mentality. When he's thrown into a game on the next level, still being able to function without getting the ball every possession. Being a floor spacer and continue to play defense,” Christian said. “He’s taken initiatives in some games and become the best defender on the team. I think every team wants somebody who wants to take that initiative and become a lockdown defender.”