Friday, March 16, 2012

Reactions to the McGee/Nene/Young three-team trade

When all hope was lost that Ernie Grunfeld wouldn't be able to pull off any sort of deal at the NBA trade deadline, David Aldridge of TNT casually said the following at 3:31:
That was quickly followed by this tweet from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski two minutes later:
Soon after, we learned the details of the three-team trade involving the Wizards, Nuggets, and Clippers: The Wizards got Nene, Brian Cook, and a 2015 second-round pick; the Nuggets acquired JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf; and the Clippers ended up with Nick Young.

Similarly to how Redskins fans cheered when distractions Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth were traded away, Wizards fans seem to be in agreement that some combination of McGee, Young, and Blatche (or all three) had to be shipped out of town. McGee and Young are now gone, and Blatche likely only has the rest of this season in Washington until the team amnesties him. (There's no way another team takes on his contract; Grunfeld presumably tried his best to sucker another team into doing just that.)

McGee and Young both had their share of positive moments on the court, occasionally showing that they belonged and that they were getting it. Really, though, they weren't, and it was increasingly evident that even if they ever did, it wasn't going to be with the Wizards. Above all else, they'll be remembered for doing goofy and embarrassing things on and off the court. Neither ever got in any trouble off the court like Blatche, but while certainly entertaining they were sporadically effective. And that's not exactly a recipe for winning basketball.

Besides the culture shock of losing two of the oddest characters in the league, the other important factor of this trade is Nene's contract. In December, the Nuggets re-signed Nene for five years and about $67 million. After this season, he will make $13 million in each of the next four seasons. That's a total of $52 million. Nene has also missed 15 games this season and has dealt with various injuries in his career, including suffering a serious knee injury (torn ACL) in 2005. And at 29, he also may be on the downside of his career. Still, as long as he's somewhat healthy and is able to play most of the time, Nene presents a significant upgrade.

I'm mostly on board with the trade, though Nene's injury concerns don't exactly inspire confidence -- especially considering how eager the Nuggets were to part ways with him and his newly signed contract.

So what do some other NBA writers/analysts think of the Wizards' haul?

"It's a safe move, losing two players of unquestionably bad influence to take on one of the game's more well-rounded players; and though we don't envy Nene having to leave the only team he's known in a decade of NBA basketball to take to a lottery-ready Wizards team, he should be able to make the switch with ease. Washington has plenty of options, both in the open market or trade market, moving forward." -- Kelly Dwyer

"As for Nene’s present, the Wizards have acquired the same solid two-way big man in place of two the players most responsible for poisoning the atmosphere around John Wall — the only must-keep player on the team. And Washington’s cap sheet was so clean going forward that adding Nene’s major deal doesn’t do much damage. If the Wizards use the amnesty provision on Andray Blatche, that would leave Wall and Nene as the only two players with guaranteed money on the books for the 2013-14 season, giving Washington huge potential cap room next summer. And if they amnesty Blatche and buy out Rashard Lewis before next season, the Wizards can get all the way down to about $46 million in salary charges this coming summer, leaving them with about $12 million in cap space to sign a solid veteran or two." -- Zach Lowe

"The Wizards were unsure McGee would stop goaltending when the ball was on an obvious downward arc. They were tired of waiting for him to routinely grab a meaningful defensive rebound instead of gloating over a meaningless triple-double. They were tired of his mother, Pamela McGee, berating their coaches from her seat behind the basket near the Wizards bench at Verizon Center. For all McGee’s shot-blocking prowess and catch-and-slam forays above the rim, the Wizards were really worried he might never eliminate the brain freezes that manifested themselves in some of the most no, he didn’t bloopers that played on national cable shows." -- Mike Wise

"I like bringing in Nene for this reason — it’s about changing the culture. Denver fans will tell you that Nene didn’t play through pain and was not tough, but he’s not a headcase like JaVale McGee. They had to make locker room changes and guys like Nick Young are out. They are not a lot better on the court, but they are making changes that can start to take them down that path. [Trade Deadline] Grade: B-." -- Kurt Helin

"The Wizards couldn’t find any takers for Andray Blatche, but will look to move him near the draft, according to a league source. And if the team is unable to deal Blatche this summer, the Wizards also have the amnesty provision at their disposal, which would allow them to waive him and have his salary removed from the cap." -- Michael Lee

"The answer: not all that much. Essentially, the Wizards decided they'd rather pick up the four years and $52 million left on Nene's deal than give a comparable contract to McGee. At the end of the day, if the Wizards use the amnesty clause on Andray Blatche and buy out Rashard Lewis for $13 million, the Wizards' total team salary will be just over $41 million. Add in about $4-5 million for the salaries of their first-round pick, and the Wizards will probably have about $12-13 million in cap space. That's not enough to chase a maximum player, but it is enough to get some pieces. And they should get some pieces. You don't trade for someone like Nene, then pass on free agency." -- Mike Prada

"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." -- Kyle Weidie

"McGee gets to go from being the poster boy of futility in Washington, to a role player on a playoff contender. Winning can bring the best out of players. It's tough to go out and do things when you're playing on a team like the Wizards. But get in a place where your bonehead play might end up costing you home court advantage or a playoff game and you'd be amazed at how knuckleheaded players play. McGee gets to play in a situation where he means something, and that could bring out the best in him. Finally." -- Royce Young