By now you’re aware of a report out of HoopsWorld that the Wizards are investigating trades involving Andray Blatche and/or JaVale McGee. Alex Kennedy writes:
“After suspending Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee one game for an altercation outside of a club, league sources say that the Washington Wizards will consider trading either Blatche or McGee in the coming weeks. The team will gauge interest around the league and after shopping the players, decision whether or not a trade would be the right move for the franchise.”
Of course, several outlets took this to mean such maneuvers by the Wizards were spawned as a result of the fight between Blatche and McGee (thanks to Kennedy’s wording). “In wake of fight, Wizards to gauge trade value of Blatche, McGee,” went one headline from Pro Basketball Talk; “Washington Wizards Shopping Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee After Altercation,” went another from the infamous Bleacher Report.
In the interest of getting the facts closer to what seems to be right, it’s worth mentioning that on December 24, ESPN’s Marc Stein Tweeted:
“Even before McGee tiff via @MrMichaelLee, Wiz said to be disappointed w/Blatche since extension and have discussed trying to trade Blatche”
So, it’s highly doubtful that the fight actually led to trade rumors involving both of them, but it sure could have had an influence. The main factor likely revolves around Blatche and McGee not being a good fit playing next to each other (neither possesses the true post presence the Wizards desperately need), and the fact that McGee has been slow to take his development seriously along with Blatche’s penchant for lazy jumpers and even lazier defense.
When asked who should the Wizards trade/get rid of, ESPN.com’s David Thorpe wrote in a recent chat session:
“Blatche is so talented, but he’s not the best guy to have setting the culture next to Wall.”
Of course, with Ernie Grunfeld signing Blatche in an extension this past summer, essentially where after this season he will still be owed just under $30 million over the next four seasons (which is still reasonable considering his talent potential), is there exactly a trade market for Blatche? Thorpe writes in response to that very question from someone in his chat:
“With a playoff team in need of a starting 4, yes I think so. Has to be a strong culture around him.”
So you’re saying there’s a chance …? Well yes, there’s always a chance.
The Wizards would be wise to trade Blatche and not McGee — at least JaVale seems to hustle more and the likelihood of him putting it together seems a lot higher right now. Problem is, with a salary of $2.46 million next season and a qualifying offer of $3.49 million for the following season (2012-13), McGee is the more movable piece.
As expected, the Washington Post’s Michael Lee has reported today that the Wizards are shopping Blatche, but not McGee.
So, the interest of making the preferred move, trading Blatche, some of the TAI gang and I fired up with ESPN Trade Machine for options. And please, don’t get your panties, boxers, briefs or thongs in a ruffle over any of these options, they are just for play/silly as none of us are NBA GMs (and neither are you). Here I go …
- Wallace makes $10.5 million next season and has a player option for $10.5 million the following season. PRO: He’s sort of a malcontent, but I think his defense and ability to run the floor would mesh well with team ideals. CON: That’s probably too much money to pay Wallace for comfort, especially when Howard could be worth a draft pick for a playoff team.
- Sure, the Kings say they aren’t trading Cousins. And sure, he’s seemingly more of a knuckle-head than Blatche. But he’s big-body talent … and maybe John Wall can keep his boy on the straight and narrow. With Blatche and Seraphin, the 17th pick in last year’s draft, the Kings certainly wouldn’t be able to complain about the returning talent that much (okay, they would).
Blatche, Kevin Seraphin & Yi Jianlian for Chris Kaman, Craig Smith & a first round pick (perhaps protected to a degree)
- Sure, the Clippers fan says ‘hell no’ … but they’ve got so many young players, what are they going to do with another draft pick anyway (especially considering who they’d be receiving)? Kaman’s $12.7 million salary comes off the books next season, he and Smith lumber around Washington as big bodies and Leonsis gets a precious high draft pick while the Clippers get more talent and take on less salary. Who knows, maybe Blatche & Blake Griffin can form a nice 4/5 combo (contain your laughter).
Blatche to the Rockets for Jared Jeffries, straight up
- Sounds painful, but why not (but not really) … this move would simply be a salary dump, and I doubt the Wizards could get a pick out of it (but Houston does have some extra picks from the Knicks).
From TAI’s Rashad Mobley:
This trade frees the Sixers from the malaise that is Andre Iguodala, and it allows Evan Turner (and maybe even Lou Williams) to bloom in his absence. Al Thornton is a player who is a bit more comfortable in his skin at the “3″ and the pressure to be “The Man” won’t weigh him down the way it weighed down Iggy. Blatche gives the Sixers an inside/out presence who is younger than Brand, and more prolific on offense than Mareese Speights.
For the Wizards, Iguodala can either play the “2″ with Wall or the “3″ with Wall and Hinrich, and he is a tremendous upgrade on defense. He also does not have to worry about trying to win every game as he did in Philly. He can play off Wall and do the little things.
The cons? For Philly, Blatche would go from one young team to another with a coach (Doug Collins) who will stay on him way more than Flip Saunders. And Thornton is a solid small forward who still seems to disappear and go into a funk for games at a time. For the Wizards, Iguodala’s presence might take minutes away from Nick Young and Josh Howard–two players who are starting to play better as of late. That could disrupt team chemistry big time. Then again, what chemistry?
Pros: The Wizards get a hardworking forward in Carl Landry who is the opposite of Blatche. He doesn’t score quite as much, but he plays hard on both ends of the floor. The Magic get a legit backup center in Jason Thompson who is a threat to score and rebound, and he’s a bit more polished than Dwight Howard’s former backup, Marcin Gortat. The Kings get a 3-point shooter in Quentin Richardson, and yet another low-post threat in Blatche to help them tread water while Cousins figures it all out.
Cons: Carl Landry has put up 20/10 numbers here and there, but he’s realistically more of a 12 and 8 guy, and that’s a dropoff from Blatche’s production at that same spot. For Orlando, Jason Thompson is not particularly good on the defensive end of the floor, which would be fine, if the Magic had someone else with size to pick up the slack, and they don’t. For the Kings, Richardson is still owned too much money. Plus, the prospect of Blatche and Cousins playing (and partying) together is just plain scary. But what is there to do in Sacramento anyway? Unless … is Chris Webber’s bar/restaurant still there?
From TAI’s Adam McGinnis:
For record, I would not trade Blatche. My recommendation would be for the franchise to change management and let a new crew (ahem, Kevin Pritchard) decide which blocks to build with, because this staff, along with its poor track record, could be making emotional decisions at this point with Blatche. The Wizards fan base was tortured when the team gave Chris Webber away and should be leery of a similar deal. Who unnecessarily extends a player while he’s injured and then trades him before a third of the season is complete? I do not understand the philosophy or thought process at all. But since we are playing trade game, here is my deal:
Blatche to Golden State would give them another scoring option on the block who has a very affordable contract. Wright could get a fresh start in D.C. and move past his lottery pick disappointment in Oakland. Bell could provide the Wizards with a decent perimeter defender and take some pressure off Kirk Hinrich. Thornton gives Golden State an athletic wing that could potentially come off the books after this season. Getting rid of Blatche in this move would provide the Wizard salary cap relief and give Wright a low-risk tryout in Washington. Bell’s contract could be valuable next season as salary dump.
The downside would be the Wizards giving up an affordable contract for cap relief while not really making up for Blatche’s talent. Golden State also might not want Blatche when they already have David Lee.