In a must-read piece today, Mike Prada, the proprietor over at Bullets Forever, rips the seven-player Mavs/Wiz deal that will send Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood to Dallas. Prada makes several interesting points, but none are larger than this: In his view, moving Antawn Jamison should have been a higher priority for Washington than moving Butler, since Jamison’s deal runs one year longer and will pay him more than $15 million in that extra season (2011-12).
Within the piece, Prada links to this trade news/rumor round-up by CBSSports.com reporter Ken Berger. I hadn’t seen the piece yet, so I hadn’t read this tidbit:
You may be wondering, as I am, why Washington chose this deal instead of another blockbuster that would’ve sent Jamison and Butler to Boston for a package including Ray Allen. According to sources, a handful of Eastern Conference GMs pressured Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld to shy away from the Boston deal for obvious reasons. “It would screw up the balance of power in the East for three years,” one executive said. One theory circulating in Dallas is that Grunfeld didn’t want to alienate other teams he might need to do business with as he continues dismantling the roster in the wake of the Gilbert Arenas firearms fiasco.
In basketball terms, an Allen for Butler/Jamison deal makes good sense for Boston, even if presents some potential problems at the two guard spot. But the NBA doesn’t run on basketball terms, and I was never convinced the Celtics would take on all that additional salary in 2011 and 2012. Neither was Brian Robb.
And at this point, the Globe, Herald and various other outlets have reported that the C’s never discussed any deal for Jamison—they reportedly only wanted Butler. But Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! has never wavered (at least that I’ve seen) from his original story Friday, in which he reported that the C’s had indeed discussed a deal for both Butler and Jamison.
Let’s say just for fun that Wojnarowski has been right all along and the C’s wanted both Butler and Jamison for Ray Allen.
Is it appropriate that the Wiz may have scuttled that deal because rival Eastern Conference GMs feared a C’s team reinvigorated by Jamison and Butler? Prada sure doesn’t think so. The argument in Wiz GM Ernie Grunfeld’s favor, I suppose, would be that Grunfeld doesn’t want other GMs to resent him over the next few seasons as he tries to rebuild his team.
I’m going to stop now, because we’re in the realm of speculation on top of speculation. But it’s interesting to think about.