Antawn Stays Put
Breaking news out of Washington:
Forward Antawn Jamison was kept off the free-agent market with a four-year extension worth $50 million. The deal comes before Jamison was to become an unrestricted free agent.
Well done, Ernie Grunfeld: securing a double-double guy with three-point range for that price is a top-notch effort. The signing also bodes well for an Arenas re-up, with Gilbert no longer needing to cop that pay cut he’s been talking about.
If we see Hibachi sign on the dotted line — and the odds are good it’ll happen within the next few days — both signings will represent an emphatic message that the Wizards think they can win a title with the Jamison-Arenas-Butler triumvirate.
Of course, whether that’s the case is open to debate. For the past two years the Wizards have been a frustrating mess, wrecked by injuries, occasionally flashing irresistible glimpses of a potential Eastern conference force. With Jamison locked in, and Arenas likely to follow suit, Grunfeld and Eddie Jordan are faced with some important questions this off-season:
a) Is Nick Young going to development into the scorer many are convinced he can be? Or will his shoot-first mentality and moments of immaturity hamper his progress? I’d bank on increased minutes next year, but increased production isn’t a sure thing; Young only really helps on the offensive end, so when his inconsistent shot is off — and that’s not a rare moment — he’s useless.
b) Can the team stay healthy? Unfortunately, short of headhunting the world’s most acclaimed sports doctor, the Wizards have to hope for good luck and strong tendons.
c) Let’s say Nick does develop into a sharp-shooting volume scorer, and Doctor Fitsport has nursed Gilbert and Caron back to perfect health: Are the Wizards sure that will be enough?
Can they convince experienced veterans to come over for pocket change, a la Grant Hill at the Suns or PJ Brown at the Celtics? And, most importantly, are the Washington Three — when totally healthy, if that’s possible — great enough to take a title home? By signing Jamison, Washington are saying ‘yes.’
Posted By: Anton