Do the Wizards need to make a deal by 3 pm on Thursday? No, not at all. Why rush the rebuild when lottery chances are once again at stake? Could Team President Ernie Grunfeld still roll up his sleeves to expose some tricks? Indeed (Omar Little voice).
So who’s out there?
Well, we all know Josh Smith is available. But reports on top of reports on top of roast beef sandwiches indicate that the Wizards are now “coolin’” on a move for Smith, which means that the package they’re willing to offer for him is probably not as competitive as offers from Milwaukee or Brooklyn, for instance. I’m not so hot on Smith myself — with him “thinking” that he’s a max contract player and with Smith essentially being his agency’s only marquee player (also the agency of Javaris Crittenton, FWIW). Smith is not a max type player, at least not with his poor attitude. Although, colleague John Townsend informs me that Smith’s cumulative WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player, an advanced stat) over the past several seasons is very good. So, yea…
What I would offer for Smith: Emeka Okafor, Trevor Booker or Chris Singleton, and a top 10 protected 2013 pick (top 8 protected in 2014, top 4 protected in 2015). Of course, this seems like a high-risk, mid-reward move. No way in hell Smith gets traded to a franchise universally opined around the league as shitty and agrees to a non-max contract extension. So, the Wizards would risk losing a pick and a prospect for nothing, but they would clear Okafor off the books a season early.
In other words: pass.
Danny Granger, anyone?
The Indiana Pacers could move the former All-Star, at least according to Hoops World. [To note: Hoops World is known in the industry for being highly susceptible to putting out "reports" that are manipulated by "agents" -- I mean, "sources."] Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard disputes the availability of Granger, on Twitter of course.
In any case, Granger coming off a knee injury makes him a prerequisite target for the Wizards. He could also be the ‘relatively still in his prime’ scorer the Wizards need. Thus, a g-chat conversation with Jared Wade, the proprietor of the ESPN TrueHoop Pacers blog, 8 Points, 9 Seconds, took place:
WEIDIE: What’s reasonable for Danny Granger? My initial offer is Trevor Ariza, Jordan Crawford & another rookie contract (Booker/Singleton/Vesely)…
WADE: I don’t think a ton of Crawford, but that seems reasonable if they actually want to move him — they need some cheap backups, so Booker would be a nice get — George is about to get the max, I presume, plus Hibbert and Hill don’t leave a lot of room for any more real contracts – especially presuming they re-sign West for something approaching $10 million per over the next three years…
WEIDIE: Seems like a money-saver for you guys… plus, Crawford could be a low-cost bench scorer for the playoffs … And you don’t have to keep him.
WEIDIE: Yea, I mean, you’d be on the hook for Ariza’s $7+ mill next season (likely, player option), but… it’s not Granger money.
WADE: Yeah … that’s a lot more manageable — re-signing Granger after next year likely is not happening anyway — I really don’t think they move him now, but this is the type of deal that makes sense — Ariza is probably as useful as he can be on a good defensive team where all he needs to do is 3 and D – would give them both Crawford and Lance Stephenson as young, upside wings who would be up for a new deal in Summer 2014. Could pick whichever one they can sign cheaper or who they like better to pair with all the high-salaried starters.
WEIDIE: What’s the quick read on Granger… his knee/abilities? He’s pretty disposable with the rapid emergence of George, right?
WADE: Somewhat, yeah — I mean, this offense still sucks and Granger remains a more potent weapon than George even now (presuming he recovers to last year’s form) — George is much more dynamic, but Granger is an elite shooter who will be all the more better if he’s getting spot-up looks for the first time in his career rather than being blanketed — Basically: if they really think they have a shot to beat Miami, they keep Granger 100% — and they maybe just keep him anyway to help revive the fanbase and “keep the band together” before eventually moving him next year at the deadline or walk away for nothing in summer ’14 — BUT … if they really want to maximize assets and preemptively deal with the cap issues that will start to be dicey in 2014, they could move him now (or this summer).
Conclusion: This is all very unlikely. After all, we are bloggers.
The Wizards are trying making a move, mind you. There are a ton of indications that Jordan Crawford has worn out his welcome. The franchise ending its relationship with him, although seemingly so sudden, could be at the point of no return. If the Wizards can’t trade Crawford, I could see Washington giving him the Andray Blatche (or Mike James) treatment — players the Wizards have simply put on the shelf (or bought out) during the season because of personality “issues” over the past couple of years. It would be quite the bad PR hit, considering this grand nugget from team owner Ted Leonsis in April 2011:
See the players’ confidence building. See players developing right before your eyes. That is what a rebuild is all about. A new big three has announced its arrival – Wall, Crawford and Blatche.
But, the Wizards should be used to self-imposed PR hits at this point and would be seemingly content on ghosting yet another failure in player development.
Crawford’s value is rapidly diminishing around the league, and both he and the team are contributing to this fact. (Although, some GM’s treasure the trash of another … so the worse it gets, the better?) At this point, don’t be surprised if the only move the Wizards make is trading (getting rid of) Jordan Crawford. And don’t be surprised if it’s just an exchange of assets (to the Boston Celtics for Fab Melo straight-up, for instance), or for simply a second round pick.
To note, all of this is purely conjecture and not based on much other than my informed opinion and gut feelings. In all likelihood, the Wizards will do nothing, and life will go on.
Otherwise… Rebuilding, y’all. Here’s to potentially more new traditions.