05-04-2005, 08:08 PM
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| | Kwame Brown Likely Done With Wizards
Wizards are through with Brown
May 4, 2005
BY LACY J. BANKS Staff Reporter
WASHINGTON -- Kwame Brown, the 6-11 center whom Michael Jordan selected with the No. 1 draft pick in 2001, has played his last game for the Washington Wizards, sources say, and the team is looking to trade him this summer when he becomes a restricted free agent.
Brown will not be with the Wizards tonight when they play the Bulls at the United Center in Game 5 of their best-of-seven first-round series.
Brown claimed a stomach virus kept him from being with the team the previous two days, including Monday night, when sources saw him dining at Mr. K's, a local Chinese restaurant, while the Wizards were beating the Bulls at the MCI Center. Brown was suspended for the rest of the playoffs Tuesday by operations chief Ernie Grunfeld, with the blessing of owner Abe Pollin.
''I met with Kwame along with coach [Eddie] Jordan this morning,'' Grunfeld said after Tuesday's half-hour practice, ''and we all agreed that this is the best course of action that Kwame no longer participate in the remainder of the playoffs. He will not travel with us. He will not practice with us.
''So we will continue moving forward in these playoffs. We're focused. It's been an outstanding series, the players are together, they've done a terrific job and we are excited about going to Chicago. Kwame had told our trainer that he was sick. But things happen. We had our meeting, there were some philosophical differences and now we are putting those behind us and focusing on the job at hand.''
Asked about Brown's future with the team and if Grunfeld will match any offer Brown receives from another team this summer, Grunfeld said: ''He's still part of our organization and we'll deal with that in the offseason. He's going to be a restricted free agent, and we'll deal with that at the appropriate time.''
In winning the last two games while Brown played a total of four minutes, the Wizards showed they don't need him in this series. His loss might be addition by subtraction. Insiders say most of his teammates are relieved that Brown was suspended because he was too self-involved, and some even felt he quit on the team.
''The press release speaks for itself,'' Wizards forward Antawn Jamison said. ''We've got the Chicago Bulls to deal with, and that's our mind frame.
"We've been through a lot this year with injuries, and [Brown's suspension] doesn't affect the way we approach the game at all. We're just going to continue to deal with the Chicago Bulls. This is a tough series, and we can't afford to have any distractions.''
Although Jamison refused to discuss Brown's suspension, he said he remained Brown's friend.
''I love Kwame to death; he's like a little brother,'' Jamison said. ''Hopefully, he'll get situated. But there's nothing negative I can say about the guy. This is basketball.''
Jordan said Brown, who averaged 7.0 points and 4.9 rebounds in 42 games this season, was no distraction.
''We are a close-knit team,'' he said. ''We are moving forward, and we are committed to winning.''
"You miss 100% of all the shots you don't take"-Wayne Gretzky
"No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around"-coach from the movie Rudy