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Alot of us on the board are wizards fans. I know alot of people are fans of Andre Miller(including me). I want to know what you guys think of this article.

Wednesday, July 24

Jordan's best move might be to trade himself


By Chad Ford


Editor's note: ESPN Insider's Chad Ford breaks down what last season's NBA lottery teams need to do to get to the playoffs. ESPN.com's "Fixer-Upper" series continues with the Washington Wizards.

We all love Michael Jordan. He is, without question, the best player ever. Let's just get that out of the way before things start getting nasty.

But as a league executive, Michael Jordan is no Jerry West. He's not even a Jerry Krause. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Michael Jordan's comeback hasn't helped the Wizards much in the way of rebuilding.

His moves in the last few years for the Wizards weren't terrible. They were mediocre. He found a taker for the once untradeable Juwan Howard, dumped Mitch Richmond and Rod Strickland and rediscovered Popeye Jones.


Some of his other moves have been more questionable. If last year was any indication, Jordan completely whiffed with the Wizards' No. 1 pick. Kwame Brown seems nice enough, but it looks like Jordan missed the boat with Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol. And while we're on the subject, what was he thinking when he threw a four-year contract in Christian Laettner's direction? Or when he drafted Juan Dixon about 10 slots too early?

Rookie mistakes? Maybe. Harmless? Hardly. But it was Jordan's decision to return to basketball that could ultimately prove to be the undoing of the Wizards.

Jordan's goal last year was noble -- teach the young kids how to win. When Jordan was in the lineup, the Wizards were an impressive 32-28. Had he been able to stay healthy, they would have easily qualified for the playoffs. Without Jordan, the future of the Wizards limped along at a 5-17 clip. So much for inspiration.

Jordan's injury might have cost the Wizards the playoffs, but his comeback cost the team the No. 1 pick in the draft and a shot at Jay Williams. Had the Wizards kept the pace they were on without Jordan, they would have won 18 games and been the worst team in the league. With Jordan, they slipped to 11th in the draft. They got a solid player in Jared Jeffries, but Jeffries just so happens to play the same position as Kwame Brown.

Jordan's comeback was remarkable. He filled arenas, staved off the dreaded luxury tax and proved once again that he can do the impossible. Had the Wizards made it to the playoffs, would there have been any doubt about who was the league's MVP?

But what Jordan doesn't have is a future with the Wizards. Experience and attitude, the two things Jordan brought to the team on the court, mean a lot. But when your team doesn't have enough talent, it can only do so much. What Jordan learned in the 60 games he played is this: Richard Hamilton looks like he can be pretty good. Brendan Haywood has a future. Brown doesn't have a clue. Etan Thomas looks great in suits sitting on the end of the bench. And Courtney Alexander, whom Jordan once crowed about, is already playing somewhere else.

It was an expensive lesson. The truth is, when Jordan retires for the third (and hopefully last) time, whether it is this year or next, the Wizards will still be in shambles. While Jordan found a way to dump most of the awful contracts he inherited, he couldn't find a way to replace those contracts with a franchise player or two.

Can the Wizards make the playoffs this season? Sure. If Jordan is healthy, they're probably in. The challenge is building a team that can make the playoffs sans MJ. It won't be easy.

ESPN.com poured of depth charts, trade rumors, salary cap information and even sought the advice of a few NBA general managers to give you the five things the Wizards must do to get into the playoffs in two years.

Step 1: Get serious about rebuilding.

The Wizards really weren't sure what they were doing last year. There were long stretches when top prospects Alexander, Brown, Thomas and Haywood rotted on the bench. Jordan's heroics seemed to inspire Hamilton, but what did it do for the rest of the crew? The playoffs are an admirable goal, but time is wasting. Jordan won't be around past next season. The Wizards will slip back into the lottery, and most of the young players on the team won't have seen the court time it takes to really improve the team. It's not pleasant dumping the young kids into the deep end of the pool, but look what it did for Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry last year. They're now light years ahead of Brown.



Step 2: Hang on to Kwame and Popeye.

Speaking of Brown, rumors were running rampant at the Shaw's Pro Summer League in Boston that the Wizards were shopping him. It would be an enormous mistake. Brown's play so far has been listless, and the Wizards have been wondering aloud whether he has the attitude it takes to succeed. The problem, of course, is that everyone else in the league has been listening as well. Kwame's value couldn't be lower and the Wizards would have to settle for a player with much less upside. Be patient. He's a high school kid. His talent is unmistakable and he's the only player on this team that has the potential to be a superstar. You just don't give those kids away. And while the Wizards are at it, they should re-sign Jones to teach Kwame all the little things that make a true pro.


Step 3: Do whatever it takes to get Andre Miller.

The Wizards are desperate for a point guard -- how else do you explain them throwing their entire mid-level exception at Larry Hughes? Hughes is intriguing because of his size and ball-handling skills, but he doesn't have the demeanor of a point guard. He's a gunner and, with time and some improved shot selection, still has a shot at being a very good NBA player. But his future is at the two guard, not at point guard. With Hughes now in the fold, why not see if Cleveland would give up Andre Miller for a combination of Hamilton and rookies Jeffries and Dixon? Cavs GM Jim Paxson has been looking for two young prospects in return for Miller, and Washington can give him three. Jeffries gives them a talented versatile forward who won't complain when Dajuan Wagner chucks up 25 shots a game. Hamilton is a good ball-handler and can take the pressure off Wagner to run the point. He also makes Ricky Davis expendable. Given Davis' outrageous contract demands, that's a good thing. Dixon would be great backing up both Wagner and Hamilton.



Step 4: Trade Jahidi White and Etan Thomas.

Neither of them have a big future in Washington. If packaged together, they would likely land the Wizards Magic forward Mike Miller and Andrew DeClerq in return. The Wizards could really use Miller's outside shooting, and the Magic are absolutely desperate for a couple of strong brutes to fill the gaping hole in the middle of their defense. It would be nice if the Wizards could pawn off Laettner as well, but given the length and size of his contract, forget it.

Those moves would give the Wizards this opening-day roster:

Point guard: Andre Miller, Chris Whitney, Tyronn Lue.

Shooting guard: Larry Hughes, Hubert Davis.

Small forward: Mike Miller, Bobby Simmons, Rod Grizzard.

Power forward: Kwame Brown, Popeye Jones, Christian Laettner.

Center: Brendan Haywood, Andrew DeClerq.

The great news for the Wizards is that their cap situation is still well below the luxury-tax threshold. Once Whitney, Lue, Davis and DeClerq come off the books next season, the Wizards will have some serious cap room to pursue a top-flight free agent.


Step 5: Michael Jordan should trade himself.

Jordan proved that he clearly still has something to offer, but his talents are wasted on the Wizards. If he joined a contender, such as the Kings, Mavs or Nets, things would get a lot more interesting this season. What would a team give up for a shot at dethroning the Lakers? Plenty. Would the Kings part with Hedo Turkoglu? Could the Wizards pry away Richard Jefferson from the Nets? Would the Bulls give up Jamal Crawford for a one-season stand with MJ? The possibilities are limitless. If Jordan really wants to help the Wizards, he'll stay off the court and figure out a way to use his name to get the Wizards some value.

Chad Ford writes the daily NBA Insider column for ESPN Insider. To get a free 30-day trial, click here.


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His trade scenarios at the end kinda suck, but he's pretty much saying what I've been saying. We need to get a franchise playa. Preferably two. If we can get Andre by trade, give up whatever you have to except for Hamilton. And then go as HARD as you possibly can after Duncan next summer. We should have the cap room if we do things correctly.

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He made a few decent points, but I don't think he gave Jordan any credit as a GM. Also, you don't just "blow up and start over" with a young team with talented players. You blow up and start over with old, declining players, and we've done that.

Rip, Jeffries, Haywood, Etan, Dixon, Hughes, and Kwame form the young foundation for a good team. Likely no superstars among them, but Rip looks to be an on-and-off All Star SG. Chad Ford sells Etan short completely- reading his article you would think he was a second round stiff rather than a former mid-first rounder with only one full season under his belt.

He also sells the genious of the Juwan trade short. Getting rid of a HUGE contract (20 mil) in exchange for Courtney, Etan, Laettner, and Hubert Davis was the miracle that allows us to be optimistic today. As far as drafting Kwame is concerned, Chad seems to think it is a given that Curry and Chandler are going to be beasts in this league, while there is no reason to believe so (just look at the latter's pathetic performance in this year's summer league). We'll see how they turn out 4 years from now, but before the draft Kwame was universally regarded as the premier HS player of the 3- so anyone saying otherwise now is being foolish or hypocritical. If MJ was fooled, so were the other personnel men around the league.

Overall, a shallow article that probably didnt take more than about 30 minutes to write.

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I like A Miller but not for three players.

For one he would have to be under contract not able to become a free agent as he will next year and why give up three players capable of starting and growing with the team?

We give up our mid range shooter, a local collegiatehero and a small forward/power forward with good size for a guard who may bolt to the knicks?

He11 no.

We havent had a point guard forever but that doesnt mean helping out another team like this.

I'm all for trading Laetner but I wonder about finesse over power

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I thought the article was a load of crap.

How could he suggest Jordan trade himself, that is ridiculous. So why is suppose to run the Wizards while he's playing for another team? Unseld? Come on.

Also, only Unseld would make a trade like Rip, Jeffries, and Dixon for just Andre Miller. Miller is a good PG, but he isn't worth a definite starter and consistent scorer, a promising rookie forward and a hard working, rookie guard. I think Dixon has a good chance of making a transition into a PG, they trade would be unnecessary. I also feel Jeffries can play SF while Kwame starts at PF with no problem.

I have no complaints on his proposition to trade Jahidi White, but Etan Thomas is a different story. He's still young, and even showed more than White did last season.

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Who ever wrote that article is an iddiot... The Wizzards are gonna be fine. The Orlando Majic signed Hill and Mcgrady and how may trips to the finals do they have??? Jordan cost the Wizzards Jay Williams ???? Last time I checked Juan Dixon won an NCAA tournment. The bottom Line is that Jeffries has the potential to be Scottie Pippen Like.... There will never be another Jordan............. Why trade all those young big men???? Makes no sense give them time to develop... Rome wasn't built in a day

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Obviously the Jordan trade comment is absurd, it's WAY too early to make any comments about Chandler, etc, etc, etc. The general point is, we've stockpiled a bunch of young talent, and at some point we're going to move some of it to fill out the team/get a franchise-type player.

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Do we really need a franchise player or five complete guys that excel in the system?

If we trade young and big for old and small again because of the potential of small and old being the missing piece there should be a riot among fans.

We just need patience we arent going to beat the Lakers so for the next 2 years lets get the foundation among these guys then get ready to take off.

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Im not sold on Rip. I think Hughes can be a good player in this league but only at the 2. If trading Rip means getting Andre Miller Im all for it. I also think that the Cavs dont want Rip, because they want Lebron James. There is no chance I would trade Kwame. I saw too many flashes from Kwame to trade him. I saw Kwame make Rasheed Wallace look stupid on a couple of plays. I also feel the wizards should try to get Rashard Lewis. From what I am reading he could sign a one year deal. I also rather have Baron Davis then Andre Miller.

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Jeffires is a lot like Reggie Miller, for which I have had the pleasure of watching both extensively. He looks lanky and an opponent or two will think he's a pushover, but he comes out BIG and plays with heart! His motor is non-stop, but unlike Miller will not cling to just his favorite shot, though Miller has been going to whole as of late.

Jeffries likes to get his teammates involved and sees the plays before they happen, like a point guard and rotates well enough to get his game going, if he's slowed for some reason. That is the mark of a player that will create a shot in the clutch and hates to lose. That will bode well for the Wizards. His rebounding won't hurt either, along with a smooth transition on the outlet. Right now, he's probably just now getting the hang of the spacing in the NBA, which is a bit more wide open than the three on one in college. Most NBA players can play a little one on one, at the very least, even though the zone has been instituted to assist defenses to slow really dominate teams.

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