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Thursday, July 5, 2007
Navarro Dreams of the NBA More than the Wizards


This is my own personal, non-professional translation of Juan Carlos Navarro's words from his Spanish-language website:

Memphis would be good because at the moment they have Pau, but at some point he could be changing teams. Miami would be good because of the team and because they speak plenty of Spanish there. And Washington is the only one who can decide and it wouldn't be bad to play there.

(Here it is in Spanish: "Memphis estaría bien porque de momento está Pau, pero en cualquier momento puede cambiar de equipo. Miami estaría bien por el equipo y porque allí se habla bastante español. Y Washington es el único que puede decidir y tampoco estaría mal jugar allí.")

In my book, if you want to be in the NBA, and one team has your rights, you either muse aloud about playing for that team, or you're kinda sorta angling for a trade.

Imagine if Nick Young, the player the Wizards just took in the first round, greeted reporters after the draft saying that he'd love to play in Memphis, or Miami, or, sure, Washington would be cool, too.

Navarro's website also has a poll in which you can vote where he should play. The Wizards are coming in third.

UPDATE: I just talked to one of Navarro's representatives, Alex Saratsis. He assures me that in his conversations with Juan Carlos Navarro, plan A is to play for Washington. "It's a perfect fit," he explains, pointing out that not too long ago Gilbert Arenas mentioned the need for more scoring off the bench, while Navarro can be the shooter to punish the double teams that crowd Arenas.

Navarro is on record again and again saying that he would love to play in Washington, a team that most likely has to do some cap maneuvering, including deciding what will happen with DeShawn Stevenson and Andray Blatche, before they can make an offer to Navarro. Saratsis adds that Navarro is asking for less than the full mid-level exception. 

So what is with all the talk about Memphis, and Miami, and all those other teams? Saratsis acknowledges that playing with Pau Gasol, or being in an international city where Navarro's family would feel comfortable would both be nice, neither is paramount to the guard. He says that the talk of other cities is mainly driven by an adoring Spanish press that finds those angles to be much more compelling than any talk of going to a team, Washington, that has never been on the radar of the Spanish press.