Wizards head coach Flip Saunders was on the radio today, speaking to the Sports Junkies on 106.7 WFAN. Here are some edited highlights of his remarks, along with my commentary on what they mean for the future of the franchise.
The Wizards are not allowed to discuss the trade for Kirk Hinrich, since it won't be able to take effect until July 8. However, Flip dropped a hint or two about that:
A pretty fair description of Hinrich, I'd say. The question is whether or not Hinrich is in the team's long-term plans. The Lakers badly want Hinrich and so do the Sacramento Kings. Assuming the Lakers are in the middle of another run at the NBA Finals next season, I suspect Hinrich can be moved to LA in exchange for Sasha Vujacic's expiring contract and whatever other dross is necessary to make the deal work under the CBA. That would give Hinrich about a half a season to do for Wall what he did for Derrick Rose in Chicago before moving on in exchange for even more cap space and maybe a late draft pick as a throw-in.
Here is what Flip said about Randy Foye:"We don't know," Saunders said. "We'll know about all that stuff as far as July 1. I do know he's rehabbing hard on his knee. We'll have to see when we anticipate him getting ready. We're changing the complexion of the team and the style of play. We're not gonna get pushed around any more. We're getting aggressive players....[Trevor Booker and a theoretical No. 17 pick are] extremely big, aggressive, play extremely hard, and that's gonna be our calling card."
Howard looked really good in a few games for the Wiz last season before he blew out his knee in the first quarter of a game against Chicago. Howard has a huge $11+ million team option for the upcoming season which the Wizards will decline to pick up. Howard will be on the open market and he'll definitely earn considerably less than $11 million. Do the Wizards want him at a lesser price? A lot depends on whether or not Howard's knee injury has healed by the start of the season. The Wizards have had a lot of trouble with recurring knee injuries lately [see Arenas, Gilbert] and may not want to sink any precious cap space in Howard. I can see the Wizards offering Howard a 1 or 2-year contract, but I think Howard will want more than that. A lot will depend on Howard's knee. He's a natural 3 and would fit in nicely with John Wall in early offense so bringing him back, if he's healthy, would help the team win more games immediately. It would also enable them to bring Thornton off the bench, which is the best place for a player as streaky as he is.
Quotes courtesy of the DC Sportsbog. Thanks, Big Stein.