Washington Wizards: Will They Make A Move?

ROB YOUNG SRContributor IFebruary 18, 2009

With the NBA trade deadline looming, Ernie Grunfeld has some decisions to make. Rumor has it there have been inquiries into the availability of Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, but so far all we have heard out of Grunfeld is his feeling that, if healthy, this is one of the top NBA teams.

It is true that just a few short years ago, before the injuries hit, the Wizards were one the top teams in the East.

But a lot has happened since then.

Antonio Daniels, the one true point guard and steady veteran we had on the roster, is gone.

Gilbert Arenas is on his third knee surgery, and Roger Mason, who came through big for this team, was lost to the Spurs.

The Wizards' window of opportunity with this group has been cut short by unforeseen injuries, and they are somewhat hamstrung by their current contract situation.

And it is a risky proposition to think that Arenas will return to pre-injury form, and that Jamison will continue to play at the same level as he ages.

Ernie has done some great things for this team, and has a solid reputation around the league; pulling off the Kwame Brown for Butler trade was unbelievable.

But at this point, past deeds may not be enough to carry him. The rest of the Eastern Conference has improved, and we have already spent two seasons waiting for this group to get healthy.

Teams like Boston have went from the cellar to champs, Orlando has grown into a serious contender, and the Wizards have lost two major contributors of their playoff group, and are loaded with unproven youth.

It was reported a few weeks ago that the team as it stands may even have trouble signing its potential lottery pick, unless it can rid itself of one or more of their current contracts.

Signing Arenas to that $111 million deal could come back to haunt them, unless they can unload some combination of contracts or trade their lottery pick.

Because with Pollin having no intention of paying the luxury tax, there is no way to improve the roster. The clock is ticking Ernie.

What you do or don't do in the next day or so could dictate what happens to this franchise for years to come.