And Then There Were None

By Carla Peay, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: December 19, 2010

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WASHINGTON (BASN) — It was only a matter of time before the Washington Wizards traded the final member of the so-called Big Three — their trio of Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas.

Last year, Jamison went to Cleveland and Butler to Dallas. And Saturday night, the Wizards made the overhaul complete when they traded the player formerly known as Agent Zero to the Orlando Magic for Rashard Lewis.

“He [Arenas] did a lot for this organization, but I think it was time for a change. This will be a good opportunity for him to go to down Orlando to revitalize his career”, said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld.

We’ve said along that we’re rebuilding and that we’re going to do it with youth and that John [Wall] was going to be a focal point of that. I think this allows that to happen much easier.”

Rebuilding is right.

The Wizards, as much as Arenas, needed to put the failed experiment of the past behind them and see where they can build from here. Getting Wall with the first pick was a stroke of good fortune, but Wall’s recent spate of injuries is cause for concern.

The Wizards have played 25 games – Wall has missed 10 of them.

But with Wall in street clothes and Arenas now hanging out in sunny Florida, exactly what is the draw at Verizon Center now? Streaky, inconsistent shooting guard Nick Young? Streaky, inconsistent big man Andray Blatche? The cheerleading squad?

This week, the home fans have seen plenty of star power – from the visitors. On Tuesday, it was the Lake Show, starring Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, and featuring the return of Andrew Bynum.

The visitors delivered a beat down.

On Saturday, it was the Big Three from South Beach starring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The game was a competitive, one-point win by the visitors, who extended their winning streak to 12 games.

But had they not been on the second night of a back to back, and coming off of an emotional win against the resurgent New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, this thing would have been over by halftime.

“As a team we found a way to win”, James said.

We just never gave up; kept executing down to the very last minute. They always play well in this building.

This team always plays well against some of the better competition. They get up for those types of games.”

Of course, to say that the Wizards “play well” is a relative term — the Wizards are 6-19, and haven’t won a road game all season. One has to wonder if head coach Flip Saunders isn’t feeling like the ultimate victim of the old bait and switch.

Brought in to coach what appeared to be a competitive squad with playoff aspirations two seasons ago, it didn’t take long for this team to implode, start selling off parts, and start rebuilding — again.

But at least I’ll give the Wizards credit for gutting the team and starting over when they realize they have no choice. Their NFL neighbors, the Redskins, still cling to the pathetic belief that they are “one or two high priced free agents away” from a Super Bowl appearance and make the same mistake every off-season.

But I digress. There was a time, back when the team was still known as the Bullets, when the marketing ploy to bring the fans out was to promote the other team. New Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has said he will not do that, but seriously, what else have you got?

In the theatre, when there are no performances on a given night, the term is that the theatre is “dark.” Right now, the Verizon Center feels like it’s being lit by a 15-watt bulb.