The rumors, the possibilities … they must be tired because they’ve been running through my mind all night. It’s getting a little crazy leading up to the draft, but bloggers, MSM types, and the Internets wouldn’t have it any other way.
First of all, I’d like to remind the basketball world, despite the fact that 99% of it won’t see this post, that the Wizards are not “desperate“ to shed salary.
I’ll simply point to a Washington Times piece from late March highlighting that owner Abe Pollin would pay the luxury tax in order to win a championship. No, this doesn’t mean Ernie Grunfeld won’t be looking for creative ways to save money, he just won’t be making any wholesale giveaways in the process.
Pollin is 85 and another title is number one, two, three, four and five on his bucket list. Question the validity of Pollin’s edict if you want, but at least give it the respect it deserves. Some people don’t.
Hence, you have Jonathan Givony of Draft Express rekindling the Antawn Jamison to the Cavs rumor that made the rounds before the trade deadline back in February.
We’ve heard some talk of a possible trade between Cleveland and Washington actually. The deal would essentially be a cost-cutting move for the Wizards, sending Antawn Jamison and filler (Mike James) to the Cavs for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic. Wallace seems likely to retire, and Pavlovic is on a non-guaranteed contract for next season. It’s not clear whether the Wizards would need to surrender the #5 pick.
This just seems silly. No disrespect to Givony, the guy is as connected as they come, but I really question the legitimacy of the source from where this came.
As some have pointed out, if the Wizards were intent on getting rid of Pollin’s favorite son and his contract, they would have sent Jamison packing to Cleveland in February for Wally Szczerbiak and his $13.8 million contract that comes off the books this summer, likely ensuring that the Wiz would be well under the luxury tax threshold heading into ’09-10.
And the fact that it’s “not clear whether the Wizards would need to surrender the #5 pick” makes me want to playfully rub someone on the head and say, “Cute, now run back to the kiddie table you little scamp.”
Next up: Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
On Wednesday, Bradley penned a column, “Say goodbye to Marvin Williams, hello to Caron Butler.”
Marvin Williams is the least essential Hawks starter. He scores points and takes rebounds but seems to leave no imprint on games, and one of the reasons Joe Johnson gets the ball with three seconds on the shot clock — or, worse, Josh Smith gets it 25 feet from the hoop — is that Marvin, four years a pro, still won’t assert himself.
I want to see Marvin not assert himself elsewhere next season. I want the Hawks to re-sign him — he’s a restricted free agent — and ship him and Acie Law to Washington for Caron Butler and Javaris Crittenton. The Wizards are looking to cut salary, so that part would work for them, and they’re also looking to get younger. Williams turns 23 on Friday; Butler is 29.
This trade need not be a loss for the Wizards. In a city where he isn’t known mostly for not being Chris Paul, Williams still could develop into something more than a team’s fifth-best starter.
Again, this gives the impression that the Wizards are looking to cut salary first and foremost, while lighting good judgment and common sense on fire and throwing it into the Anacostia River.
Even if the Wizards were Desperate of a capital letter nature, why would they trade their best player, an NBA All-Star on the hook for a reasonable $20.8 million for the next two seasons, for a talented, yet unreliable player who, with a qualifying offer of $7.355 million from the Hawks for ’09-10, would theoretically be re-signed for longer than two seasons. It still wouldn’t make sense financially for the Wizards.
Bret LaGree of the Atlanta Hawks blog Hoopinion makes a good case that although Butler would be an upgrade at the small forward position, he would rather have the younger Williams for a variety of reasons. The Wizards, in their championship mission, would be much better served with a guy in Butler who can create his own shot and win games with veteran swagger.
The kicker is that Mark Bradley, and many of the Hawks fans commenters on his piece, have this idea that Law is leaps and bounds better than Crittenton. Well, the ‘leaps and bounds’ part is more from some commenters. Still, Bradley says this in the comment section:
Law has a greater upside than Crittenton, so the Wizards gain on that end. Butler is a better player than Marvin, so the Hawks win that half. And everybody’s happy!
Look, I loved Acie Law at Texas A&M, but I’ll admit to not knowing much about him as an NBA player. I do know that Crittenton is almost three years younger, two inches taller, and that when comparing the stats of both though their first two years in the league, it’s pretty damn close.
Here are some of the key advanced stats [via Basketball-Reference.com]:
Can you really say one is that much better, or unquestionably has more potential than the other? No, you can’t.
In conclusion, with the internet, twitter, blogs, and the what-not, it’s not completely outrageous that such absurd rumors and possibilities make it online. But at the same time, with information easily and readily available, one would expect people, especially those of the main stream media variety, to do a little homework and relay reasonable information.
Not to say that I haven’t be guilty of being absurd myself, I’m just saying.