The Washington Wizards have already been active in anticipation of the upcoming trade deadline, and they might not be done dealing.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, meanwhile, continue to struggle with the same faces in the lineup.
Following a roster shakeup designed to help the team’s long-term outlook, the Wizards hope their new additions can help lead them to a sixth consecutive home win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Washington (17-33) didn’t wait for Thursday afternoon’s deadline to make a move. It sent star swingman Caron Butler(notes), top rebounder Brendan Haywood(notes) and reserve DeShawn Stevenson(notes) to Dallas for former All-Star Josh Howard(notes), journeyman Drew Gooden(notes) and backups James Singleton(notes) and Quinton Ross(notes) over the weekend.
The deal came a month after star Gilbert Arenas(notes) and reserve Javaris Crittenton(notes) were suspended for the season by the NBA after admitting to bringing guns into the locker room. Team president Ernie Grunfeld hopes a new look will bring success for his underachieving team.
“We’re all disappointed in how our season has gone,” Grunfeld said of the Wizards, who are ahead of only New Jersey in the Eastern Conference. “We want to remain competitive and maybe this group can provide a spark.”
“There’s still a lot of conversations going on,” Grunfeld said. “We’re still exploring things. We want to see what this group does.”
It’s uncertain if Howard fits in the Wizards’ long-term plans. An All-Star in 2007, Howard has averaged 12.5 points while being limited to 31 games this season as he recovers from offseason ankle surgery.
“I’m coming here with a positive attitude, playing hard and trying to get us into the playoffs,” Howard said.
Though it was reported that Gooden (8.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg) - on his eighth team in eighth seasons - could negotiate a buyout of his contract, all four new Wizards are expected to be available Wednesday as the club tries to avoid a second consecutive defeat.
If Jamison’s on the court, he’ll look to continue his success against the Timberwolves. He’s averaging 24.3 points and 8.5 boards in his last four games against Minnesota.
Though the Timberwolves (13-41) snapped a four-game losing streak to the Wizards with a 101-89 home win Dec. 26, they haven’t won in Washington since Dec. 12, 2003. The Wizards are averaging 106.4 points during their five-game home winning streak versus Minnesota, which is last in the West and 4-23 on the road this season.
The Timberwolves’ road struggles continued Tuesday with a 108-85 loss at Detroit. Kevin Love(notes) had 22 points with 15 rebounds and Al Jefferson(notes) added 14 points as Minnesota suffered its third straight loss since winning a season-high four in a row.
Though Jefferson (17.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg) and Love (15.1 ppg, 11.4 rpg) are the team’s top big men, the club could deal one for someone who plays a different position at some point, but that probably won’t happen by Thursday. President of basketball operations David Kahn said it was unlikely one of the core players would be dealt this week.
“I think any of us could be gone, to tell you the truth,” said Love, who’s averaging 16.7 points and 10.7 boards in three games versus Washington.
Jefferson is averaging just 10.0 points in 13 career contests against the Wizards.