For someone who has become a leader both on and off the court, it was an odd site to see guard Kirk Hinrich riding the bench in street clothes last night. There was no indication he was hurt or was going to take a game off. But by halftime, everyone knew the reason. Hinrich was literally gone.
The Wizards are sticking to their plan of rebuilding the team around rookie John Wall, and decided to unload the veteran along with center Hilton Armstrong in favor of bulking up on young talent and more draft picks.
The trade with the Atlanta Hawks will bring another veteran guard, Mike Bibby, to the nation’s capital along with rookie Jordan Crawford, forward Maurice Evans and a first round draft pick.
“I think this helps us in several ways,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld told The Washington Post. “We get a couple of veteran players … and for the future we get two real good prospects. So we feel we got some good value for the present and, of course, the future and this keeps with our strategy, of getting first-round picks, building through the draft, as well as developing our own players.”
According to The Post, Hinrich had attracted the most interest on Washington’s roster. But until last night the Wizards had leaned towards keeping the veteran.
“It’s disappointing,” Coach Flip Saunders told The Post. “I’m happy that he’s at least getting into a situation where he has an opportunity to get into the playoffs.”
But for the Wizards, the decision came down to building a competitive team around John Wall and giving themselves an opportunity to bring in new, young talent.
“Knowing that we have a young team, we didn't have any expectations, as far as wins and losses,” Grunfled told The Post. “Obviously, we'd like to win every game that we go into. Again, what we're looking for is for our players to improve and give a good, solid effort and be competitive.”