Goodbye #VeselyAlert, Goodbye #MaynorTime, Wizards Make Move of Necessity to Band-Aid Self-Inflicted Wounds
The current trade report, per various tweets, including David Aldridge‘s: The Washington Wizards will receive Andre Miller; the Denver Nuggets will receive Jan Vesely; the Philadelphia 76ers will receive Eric Maynor and two second-round picks, one from Washington (
2014 Update: a 2015 second rounder from the Pelicans that the Wizards held the rights to from a previous trade, per @MrMichaelLee) and one from Denver.
Trading for a 37-year-old backup point guard, about to turn 38 in March, while giving up A) the 6th overall pick from 2011; B) the very first free agent you signed last summer, on the first day, a 26-year-old backup point guard; and C) a future second-round draft pick (first reported as two second-rounders), reeks of the type of desperation that can only be described as #SoWizards.
Does the move now give the Wizards an extra roster spot for the flexibility that Ernie Grunfeld seems to always crave (while staying under the luxury tax)? Sure. Great. The franchise is now free from a minor, self-imposed restriction.
Does the move potentially save Washington money? Sure, a little bit. The fourth year option on Jan Vesely’s rookie contract wasn’t picked up by the October 2013 deadline anyway. The Wizards could have just let him walk. Andre Miller’s contract for next season ($4.652 million) is designated as partially ($2 million) guaranteed (via Sham Sports).
So, considering the likelihood that Eric Maynor would have taken (will take) his player option of just over $2.1 million for 2014-15 (perhaps the Wizards could have ultimately waived him and bought him out for less), and Washington’s ability to walk away from the incoming Andre Miller (for a cost), some Theodore Unit ducats have been saved (around $300,000, estimates SBN’s Mike Prada; although, sort of minus the cost of giving up a second-round pick).
So minor, perhaps irrelevant savings combined with a minor, perhaps irrelevant move to cover up past mistakes will now, presumably, allow Wizards brass to sleep better at night. ‘Cause you don’t make the move unless it at least provides a cocktail napkin-sized security blanket, right?
And so here the Wizards find themselves, unabashedly hopeful and blindly positive while hoping for amnesia to set in—resting in the cauterized cold and slop of the Eastern Conference with cocktail napkins for blankets.
Forget the Jans. Forget the Erics. Forget the AJs. Forget the Shelvins. Forget the Kendall Marshalls.
Ultimately, this will be about the now … simply getting to the “promised land” of the playoffs. And maybe the move helps. But the big picture is that the front office decisions of the Wizards franchise continue to be reactionary toward a compounded succession of mistakes.
As Conor Dirks recently put it in TAI’s “Optimism Index”:
“Ernie Grunfeld has made some good moves over the years, but they have often come as a means of cleaning up a mess he himself has made. Eric Maynor as a replacement for A.J. Price as a replacement for Shelvin Mack (who is now one of the better backups in the NBA) is a train that gets uglier, and more expensive, as it chugs along.”
What young Conor forgot to mention—can’t blame him; amnesia—is that Shelvin Mack was essentially cut in favor of Jannero Pargo. Otherwise, the train of middling content continues as the 26-28 Wizards prepare to fight tooth, nail, and themselves all the way to the playoffs, or worse.
To be continued…