The Curse O' Les Ex-Boulez?

Memo to Jarvis Hayes and/or DeShawn Stevenson: If either of you has the breakout season you truly expect and provide the fourth/fifth scoring option the Wizards have been needing the past two postseasons, re-sign with the team. Don't hesitate. Don't worry about the money. Don't leave for more. Just put your name on the dotted line. Stay in Washington.

Because anything can happen once you leave town. I don't know if it's the Wizards' cone-headed, wacky bearded mascot putting a hex on players or what, but when I read late yesterday that former Wizard and New York Knicks prized free agent haul Jared Jeffries was going to be out three to eight weeks with a fractured left wrist, I had to wonder what's going on. My immediate thought was, now that the Wizards are a perennial playoff team, does the The Curse O' Les Boulez work the other way? Is there now -- with apologies to curse creator Tony Kornheiser -- The Curse O' Les Ex-Boulez?

This is the second season that the Wizards' top priority in free agency bolted to another team only to wind up getting injured. Last season, Larry Hughes sign a $70-million deal with the Cavaliers then broke the middle finger in his shooting hand during the preseason. Now Jeffries signs with the Knicks for $30 million and suffers a broken wrist during the preseason.

Hughes tried to play through his injury for two months before he eventually had surgery to repair the hand - and another surgery to repair the repair - and missed 45 games. He never fully recovered or played at the level warranted the humongous contract last season but appears to be on the road to resembling the Hughes of two seasons ago. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that while Hughes still can't make a fist with his right hand without appearing to make an obscene gesture and the hand may never be 100 percent again, he is playing at high level in the early going. After just three preseason games, Hughes is averaging 11.7 points and shooting 56 percent from the floor in just under 20 minutes.

But back to Jeffries. Jeffries suffered the injury during the first half against the New Jersey Nets on Friday, when he landed on his non-shooting hand after he was fouled. Jeffries continued to play, finishing with six points, five rebounds and three assists, but an MRI revealed a non-displaced fracture. He was set to start at small forward in New York this season, but his Madison Square Garden debut will have to wait. Jeffries, however, said it won't be long. "I always heal fast," Jeffries told reporters in New York, possibly hoping that he will back in time to welcome the Wizards on Nov. 14.

By Michael Lee |  October 17, 2006; 11:44 AM ET
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I didn't realize the Hughes injury was that serious, that his hand won't ever be 100% again. When your body isn't right, it's bound to have an effect. Maybe he will be able to shoot properly despite the injury, but perhaps his dribbling or passing will be affected?
It will be interesting to see how the Cavs, whose GM had a very Dan Snyder-like offseason last summer (overpaying a number of people), will do long-term as some of these high ticket players don't pan out. Makes you more appreciative of Grunfeld, who is less prone to pursuing the showy free agent and tends to avoid such mistakes.

Posted by: Henry | October 17, 2006 12:45 PM

Lets worry about whether the Boulez curse has struck one of their two new acquisitions, Darius Songaila.

Posted by: George Templeton | October 17, 2006 1:03 PM

The curse can work in reverse as well, i.e. Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace. They leave Les Boulez and get a championship ring!

Posted by: CJ - Baltimore | October 17, 2006 1:36 PM

Great post. I seem to remember Stack missing 25 games or so after he was traded. (Of course, that could be considered a good year for him.) Kwame just kept being Kwame and had to play with Kobe last season, which is enough of a curse, I suppose. And, unfortunately, Laron Profit ruptured his achilles and lost almost all of last season after getting sent to LA.

Posted by: D - Baltimore | October 17, 2006 2:12 PM

Speaking of Kwame, several newspaper articles out of LA are really lauding his preseason. Saying that he has picked up the triangle and is playing with relaxed confindence. I believe with Phil Jackson there he has a chance to shine.

Posted by: h20law | October 17, 2006 2:47 PM

I've read the Kwame praise this year... and I seem to remember him being "poised" for a breakout in years past as well. If anyone can do it though, Phil Jackson can.

Posted by: JS - College Park | October 17, 2006 5:07 PM

phil keeps good players good he doesnt do anything with trash like kwame

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2006 7:54 PM

Missing the first 2 months of what will in all likelyhood be the epitome of chaos with the Knicks struggling to find some cohesion and an identity along with Isaiah struggling to keep his job is a blessing in disguise. Jared has the opportunity to come back from injury as a possible solution as opposed to being cast as another overpriced part of the problem.

As for Les Curse, I wouldn't dismiss it just yet. Darius Songalia's status has me a little uneasy.

Posted by: Ruland | October 18, 2006 8:20 AM

If there really is a curse, Gilbert will suffer a collapsed lung while doing push-ups in his altitude tent.

Posted by: Henry | October 18, 2006 10:41 AM

Hey Michael and Ivan - great writing today & yesterday with the pieces on Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison and their attitudes going into the season. Nice hearing from them 'off camera'. Keep it up!

Posted by: Josh | October 18, 2006 11:02 AM

Another season another Kwame breakout article.

Posted by: Dashiell | October 18, 2006 8:01 PM

"Jeffries suffered the injury during the first half against the New Jersey Nets on Friday, when he landed on his non-shooting hand after he was fouled."

You're going to need to be a bit more specific- Jared Jeffries has two non-shooting hands.

Posted by: bryc3 | October 19, 2006 9:50 AM

Guys, don't celebrate too early. Songaila's situation doesn't look too good.

Posted by: sagaliba | October 20, 2006 11:35 AM

Well the curse strikes again. Kwame is out for 3-4 weeks!

Posted by: CJ - Baltimore | October 20, 2006 11:44 AM

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