I mentioned the Bullets Forever idea of trading Mike James and Javaris Crittenton to Indiana for Travis Diener and Jeff Foster in the previous post, ‘Finding A Big Man For The Washington Wizards’ … which could quite possibly the first ‘two white men for two black men trade’ in the NBA in decades, if not ever.
Naturally, I wanted to get the opinion of a Pacers fan-blogger on the potential deal. Tom Lewis of Indy Cornrows was kind enough to weigh-in via email:
[The] proposed trade definitely makes sense from an emotionless nuts and bolts perspective. I do think the Pacers are willing to move Foster and with Mike James involved the team could have additional cap room next summer. Plus, as an added bonus, assuming Jarrett Jack does not re-sign and the team keeps A.J. Price in play, James may be a good mentor for the rook since both hail from Amityville, NY.
The Diener/Crittenton parts appear to be a wash. Diener is in the last year of his deal and Crittenton has a team option next summer. Crittenton has some known flaws, namely his ability to shoot the three and too many turnovers which are two areas Jim O’Brien values highly which he proved last season by moving T.J. Ford out of the starting lineup. The physical upside to Crittenton’s game would be worth the gamble though since the team could let him go after the season, not a bad worst-case scenario.
Diener has been pretty efficient running the Pacers offense when healthy which he wasn’t for much of last year. Plus, he can knock down perimeter shots which would probably be the determining factor between the two if Jim O’Brien has a say.
The key sticking point with Foster is that the Pacers value him as a part of the organization and not just for what he does on the court. Foster waded through the muck and mire of the brawl and off-court insanity that disrupted the team a few years ago and never complained but instead covered his teammates’ backs whenever needed and just kept working. That’s the main reason the Pacers extended his contract last year and why they will be reluctant to move him unless a championship contending team is involved or if he is part of a bigger deal for an impact player (say Amare Stoudemire).
Basically, it’s a ‘no thanks’, but ‘it’s not out of the question’.
I ‘d never blame Indy for want to be loyal to Foster, but then again, financial concerns and the “it’s a business” aspect of the NBA could easily cause loyalty to be thrown out the window.
I’d forgotten that the Pacers picked up A.J. Price with the 22nd pick in the second round. Recalling my interview with Mike James, he’s kept a close eye on his boy Price … so it would be cool for those two to be on the same team.
Overall, perhaps the Wizards would be better served keeping the veteran James on the roster to assist with PG duties heading into next season. He could also turn out to be a more valuable trade asset at the ’10 deadline than this summer.
In addition, Antonio McDyess might be a better option than Foster. The Detroit News is reporting that the Wizards, along with Cleveland, Boston, Detroit, Houston, and San Antonio, are vying for the services of the veteran big man.
The fact that McDyess, a reasonably relevant free agent, is tied to the Wizards makes Mike Prada of Bullets Forever feel a little better about recent reports that Ernie Grunfeld would not be an initial free-agency participant.
Then again, the “interest” reported by the Detroit News could simply mean that Grunfeld has placed a courtesy call to McDyess’ agent.
Only time will tell.