Christmas comes early for Wizards

Christmas comes early for Wizards
November 26, 2011, 3:34 pm
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By Frank Hanrahan

The imminent return of the NBA means the Wizards can get back to the business of becoming relevant again.

A new labor deal that would end the lockout is tentatively in place. The season would kick off Dec. 25 and teams would play a 66-game season. Training camps and free-agency would open Dec. 9.

"We've got fans, we've got players who would like to play and we've got others who are dependent on us," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "It's always been our goal to get a deal that was fair and get both sides playing."

NBA union head Billy Hunter felt that getting a new collective bargaining agreement was needed to "save the game."

For the rebuilding Wizards, not only were their new uniforms, but also individual games were collecting dust with the lockout in place.

With training camp set to open in less than two weeks, Wizards guard John Wall and company now know they have the real opportunity of improving on 2010-2011s 23-win season.

All eyes will be on the second-year pro Wall, who was runner-up to the Los Angeles Clippers' stud Blake Griffin for rookie of the year last season.

As Wall goes, so go the Wizards. Management has made it clear it is building around the speedy Wall by adding players who can keep up with him.

The Wizards drafted high-flying Euro Jan Vesely and defensive-minded Chris Singleton to run with Wall. Already in the mix from last season are young, exuberant shooter Jordan Crawford, athletic forward Trevor Booker, veteran forward Andray Blatche and center JaVale McGee.

The big question is: Will GM Ernie Grunfeld sign restricted free-agent Nick Young to a long-term deal?

The Wizards think they have a good nucleus to build with. With the lockout over, we can now see if they are right.