Nene dunks on JaVale…
… And then kicks it with him.
[photos: K. Weidie, Truth About It.net]
Although not yet officially announced by the team, reports indicate that the Washington Wizards will trade JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to the Denver Nuggets, and Nick Young to the Los Angeles Clippers. From the Nuggets the Wizards will receive Nene, and from the Clippers they will receive Brian Cook and a future second-round draft pick. Breaking down the trade in a good ol’ fashioned 3-on-3, we have TAI’s Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis), Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It). Three questions, three answers starts now…
1) What concerns you about this trade?
McGINNIS: Nene has missed 15 games this season due to various ailments—an old ACL injury flares up from time to time—and NBATV’s Denis Scott remarked today that he has lost explosion. Also, Denver Nuggets TrueHoop blogger Charlie Yao informed me that there are questions about Nene’s toughness to play through these injuries, as it’s also concerning that Denver wanted to dump his five-year, $67 million contract that they just inked him to before the season because of “buyer’s remorse.”
MOBLEY: Three things: 1) As healthy as Nene has been over the last three-plus seasons, he is now in Washington where both the “Curse of Les Boulez” and a medical staff that drives its players toward second and third opinions on injuries awaits. 2) Bullets/Wizards fans are well aware of magical maturation that seems to take place when young players leave (Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber), and the fear with JaVale McGee (I think we’ve seen all that Nick Young has to offer) is that George Karl will push the right buttons and unleash the beast. 3) If Jordan Crawford is having an off shooting night, who will pick up the slack for the Wizards? Roger Mason is playing well of late, but he’s inconsistent, and no other player is as adept at creating their own shot as Nick Young was, despite his flaws.
WEIDIE: Age before beauty (which, in the Wizards case, means substance over style) … Nene will turn 30 years old on September 13. He missed pretty much all of the 2005-06 season due to tearing his ACL, tearing his meniscus, and spraining his MCL in the first game of that season. He came back and played 64 games in 2006-07, but was certainly limited due to continued recovery. Nene only played 16 games in 2007-08, but that was mostly due to him tearing a thumb ligament in November and then having surgery in early 2008 to remove a testicular tumor. But since, he’s been relatively healthy, appearing in 234 or a possible 246 regular season games in the three seasons prior to this one. Still, trading the youthful, albeit quite dumb (for lack of a better word) McGee for such a seasoned vet smells a tad impatient. But hey, the window with John Wall is already in year two and rebuilding wasn’t progressing at the expected pace. Something drastic had to happen.
2) What encourages you about this trade?
McGINNIS: A healthy Nene is a serious upgrade in term’s of post presence, filling a physical void on the defensive end that the Wizards have seriously lacked since Brendan Haywood was traded. Washington basically acquired an All-Star caliber big for players that were not going to be on the team next season, along with acquiring a second-round draft pick.
MOBLEY: Nene is a polished post player who hustles, rarely complains and can possibly assist with Kevin Seraphin’s development. He doesn’t block shots or rebound like JaVale, but he’s physical enough to be a legitimate presence, and his IQ is much higher. This trade (as opposed to the ones of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison) may wake up Andray Blatche from the doldrums he’s been held captive by all season. His friends are gone, and he knows a cumbersome contract kept him from meeting the same fate. Perhaps his game will be raised a few notches.
WEIDIE: SERENITY NOW; stupidity and selfishness gone. Yes, Nene is set to make $52 million, guaranteed, over the next four seasons after this one… kind of a pricey, de facto free-agent signing. Yet still, if the Wizards amnesty Andray Blatche and buy out Rashard Lewis, they’ll have a decent chunk of cash to throw at a free agent this summer. Factoring in the salaries of the eight players assumed to be on the roster (Nene, Wall, Vesely, Seraphin, Singleton, Booker, Crawford, and Mack), along with Rashard Lewis’ buyout hit (likely $13.7 million), in addition to slotting money for a top-five lottery pick (let put about $4 million as a placeholder), then the Wizards are looking at $46 million in salary next season. If the cap stays around $58 million, that could leave them with $12 million to propel the so-called rebuild.
3) Overall assessment: Yea or Nay to the Wizards getting Nene?
McGINNIS: Washington’s front office obviously soured on McGee and was unlikely to give him a deal anywhere near DeAndre Jordan’s four-year, $42.7 million (or McGee’s reported asking price of a contract averaging $14 million per year). If McGee was not in their long-term plans and no other team presented him with an offer sheet this summer, tendering him for one season would have created a lame duck situation similar to what the Wizards encountered with Young this season. Acquiring Nene is basically akin to signing him to a four-year, $52 million contract, and the Wizards evidently decided that deal was more attractive than any potential free agent deal this summer (even though they still have the cash to bring in someone from the relatively uninspiring 2012 FA class). I wanted to keep McGee, but if this encourages John Wall stay around and improves team defense, count me in the mild ‘Yea’ department.
MOBLEY: Yea. When you’re sporting a 9-32 record, your best big man isn’t a real post player and your best scorer isn’t making the team better, a change is needed. Nene is the opposite of both Young and McGee, and to loosely paraphrase Dwight Howard, he’s worth a roll of the dice. Let’s just hope John Wall agrees.
WEIDIE: Nay-ish… I can be convinced to like this trade, but I was more of a proponent of getting rid of Blatche and Young, but trying to keep McGee. JaVale does things that you just can’t teach (although, McGee has, in other ways, certainly demonstrated that he’s un-teachable). Big picture: this trade is contingent on two things: Nene’s health and the Wizards’ ability to wisely play the free-agent market this summer—can’t say the franchise has instilled the confidence to prevail in either of those areas.