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July 9, 2005

Hughes help for LeBron

by Pratik Bhandari, Page Editor
According to his agent, Jeff Wechsler, Larry Hughes has agreed in principle to a five-year deal worth $65-$70 million. Hughes cannot officially sign until the NBA moratorium ends on June 22.

Hughes, along with Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison formed Washington's "Big Three" core that led the league in scoring for any trio. Hughes had a career year in his seventh NBA season, averaging 22 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.89 steals a game.

Cleveland was primarily interested in guards Ray Allen of the Seattle SuperSonics and Michael Redd of the Milwaukee Bucks, but after they both re-signed with their current teams, focused on Hughes. The signing came as a surprise to many as the Wizards had stated throughout the year that re-signing Hughes was their top offseason priority.

Washington had proposed an initial offer to Hughes worth approximately $9 million per year for six years, but later reached a ceiling of $72 million for six years after learning of Cleveland's competing offer.

Presumably, one of the main reasons that Hughes signed on with the Cavaliers was the chance to play alongside LeBron James, who many have appointed as the heir-apparent to Michael Jordan. Also, Cleveland would allow Hughes to be closer to his family, especially his younger brother who is suffering from a heart condition.

The Cavaliers were also pressured to make a big splash in the offseason amid swirling rumors that James would leave the team once he became a free agent for a more marquee location like New York or Los Angeles. Cleveland's front-office was often criticized last year for failing to surround James with quality talent, forcing him to carry the team by himself.

Possible candidates for the void that Hughes has left include swingman Jarvis Hayes, a versatile player who was limited last year because of injuries, restricted free agent Steve Blake, a player more suited to the traditional point guard role or possibly even free agent Juan Dixon who has a knack for knocking down clutch shots.

Another option for the Wizards is a sign and trade involving former 1st round pick Kwame Brown and draft picks for a premier guard.

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  • Jeff Lautenberger (View Email) on July 9, 2005 at 3:42 PM
    honestly, the "hughes" as a replacement for "huge" is getting REALLY annoying.
  • Abby (View Email) on July 14, 2005 at 2:13 AM
    The loss of Larry Hughes was a blow but fans should not be worried. Although he was the only Wizard willing to play defense, Hughes just a better rebounding clone of Gilbert Arenas. Both did the same thing, drive to the basket. The Wizards did the right thing by not resigning Hughes. By resigning Hughes, Hughes would be making roughly $70 million. Leaving little,if any, money to sign a power forward, an area the Wizards were desperately in need of. Arenas isnt even making that kind of money and he proved last season he is the star of the team. Hughes can be replaced by third year player Jarvis Hayes or by free agency. There are reports from "The Washington Post" that indicate a deal that would send Kwame Brown to teh Lakers for Caron Butler, another player(either Vlade Divac,Chucky Atkins,or Devean George), and possible a 1st round draft pick is close to finished. The Wizards have also met with free agent Power Forward Donyell Marshall and Marshall's agent says Washington is his clients first choice. If both these happen, the Wizards are definatley a much better team than they were last season with Larry Hughes. Wizards fans dont lose hope yet...
  • Eli S on July 17, 2005 at 11:49 AM
    yeah i agree with abby. we got butler & atkins and we're good to go.
  • JC on July 21, 2005 at 10:14 PM
    I think Gilbert Arenas should move up to Shooting Guard and Juan Dixon play the point. Juan Dixons a beast Point Guard and should get more playing time this year
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