Trade rumors swirl around woebegone Wizards

With the Washington Wizards mired in their second six-game losing
streak of the season as owners of a 7-16 record, a $79.18 million
payroll and with roughly an $8 million luxury tax bill on the way, the
rumors have begun to fly.

The Wizards have their three All-Stars – Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler – back together. They have the big-name coach in Flip Saunders. They have plenty of depth thanks to holdover prospects, the offseason trade that brought in guards Randy Foye and Mike Miller, the signing of veteran center Fabricio Oberto and the in-season pickup of backup point guard Earl Boykins.

But something’s not working, and league insiders have begun to surmise that Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld could blow up the roster – or at least move a key piece or two.

Butler, the two-time All-Star forward whom the Wizards in the offseason refused to trade to Phoenix with the No. 5 draft pick for Amare Stoudemire, has struggled to find his place in Saunders’ system and has been mentioned in several rumors in the past few weeks. A league source said several teams have interest in Jamison, a two-time All-Star forward who is averaging 22.1 points and 8.6 rebounds.

Grunfeld didn’t return a call seeking comment, but a source with knowledge of the team’s inner workings said the Wizards have told inquirers that they want to see whether things turn around when Miller returns late this month or in early January, giving Washington a healthy roster for the first time this season.

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