February 20, 2014

NBA Trade Deadline 2014

At 3 p.m. today, the annual NBA trade deadline came and went. Of course, instead of being hard at work making some bucks for my employer, I was sitting home watching Twitter for trade news. Yes you read that right, watching Twitter. I stayed at home today because I've learned from past experience that as this day gets closer to 3 p.m., I concentrate in my office less and less on work and more and more on internet trade rumors and gossip. So for the third year in a row, I elected to stay home and log eight hours of Paid Time Off rather than fight the battle to get some work done.

After last year's super slow trade deadline where the biggest deal was J.J. Redick to Milwaukee and the only Wizards action was sending Jordan Crawford to Boston for Jason Collins and Leandro Barbosa who was already done for the year with an injury, I was hoping for something more exciting this year. I mean how could it get any duller? I was not disappointed. There were a lot of Wizards and former Wizards on the move this year.

It all started last night when the Golden State Warriors, who earlier this season traded for former Wizards Jordan Crawford from the Boston Celtics, picked up former Wizard Steve Blake from the Lakers for essentially flotsam. Apparently Golden State is intent on picking up a collection of our former guards and it's working. Although I'm not sure it's helped their franchise yet.

It then continued this morning when the Miami Heat traded former Wizard Roger Mason, Jr. to the Sacramento Kings along with a bag of cash for a highly protected second round draft pick (or essentially absolutely nothing). Poor Roger. If there was one reason to be OK at all with Miami winning another NBA title this year, it was them having Roger Mason on their team. Now, I won't see any silver lining to a third Heat title. Let's go Pacers!!!

Then just before the 3 p.m. trade deadline (and it is possible for trades to be announced after the deadline), news came that the Los Angeles Clippers traded Antawn Jamison to the Atlanta Hawks for I'm still not sure what at the time of this writing. Just like with the Heat (although with less vitriol), there is now no reason for me to root for the Clippers to win it all this year.

But the biggest news Wizards-wise hit between noon and 1 p.m. this afternoon. I'd been reading rumors for a few weeks about the Wizards being interested in exiled Denver Nuggets' point guard Andre Miller but it didn't seem possible that we could grab Miller since he has a non-guaranteed contract next year and presumably the Wizards would want to send colossal disappointment off season signee Eric Maynor back in return. And honestly who the hell wants Maynor after his production this year?

But apparently lightning CAN strike twice. Two years ago, the Wizards sent away JaVale McGee to Denver in a trade deadline day deal for Nenê, a move that was decried as a huge mistake on Washington's part by a lot of people who watch the NBA but which anyone around the D.C. franchise saw as a first step in dramatically changing the culture here. This year, we did it again by taking Miller off the Nuggets' hands. Not only do we get a dependable backup point guard, but we traded him for two guys who rarely play (Maynor and Jan Vesely) while reducing our payroll this year, opening a roster spot and decreasing our guaranteed salary commitment next season (assuming Maynor would have picked up his option next year). How on Earth did we fleece the Nuggets twice in three years?

OK, so we gave up a New Orleans Pelicans' second round draft pick as part of the swap to the Philadelphia 76ers but who cares? Can anyone name a Wizards second round draft pick in the last 12 years that has had a positive impact on our franchise or the NBA in general? I realize that statement may be an indictment of our ability to draft and also may be a little unfair to Steve Blake who has had an astonishingly long career. And don't start with me on Andray Blatche. 

I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Jan Vesely. I so badly wanted him to prove that Blake Griffin was in fact the American Jan Vesely. I'll be sorry to see him go, although I won't miss cringing any time he touches the ball on the offensive end or steps to the free throw line. I won't miss Maynor. I can't remember being more disappointed in an off season free agent signing. This trade should make the Wizards better this year without sacrificing any future flexibility whatsoever. I see it as completely positive. We'll see if Andre Miller can make any sort of difference.

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