There’s not going to be a big deal this trade deadline. Not again, anyway — we’ve already had it. No, instead, there are just teams taking free part-season looks at backups. Looks, they believe, are worth taking. Are they right? Perhaps.

To set the tone, Miami traded Dexter Pittman and a second round pick to Memphis, whose 12-man roster and available trade exception made them prime salary-dumping candidates. In Big Pitt, however, they see more than just a salary. Are they right? Perhaps not.

Pittman is one of those enticing prospects who entices without doing much to truly justify it. His combination of being a nice guy with great size, terrific footwork and decent touch is a rare one — when interspersed with an easy feel-good narrative about his weight loss, the attraction is obvious. But the less alluring part of the story is that Pittman just isn’t that impactful, and nor was he ever. He wasn’t at Texas, he hasn’t been in the D-League, and he definitely hasn’t been in the NBA. Pittman can’t defend without fouling, turns it over an excessively large amount, and doesn’t defensive rebound. The potential of Pittman, or the perceived potential of Pittman, far outweighs the production.

Nevertheless, he’s free. And he comes with a pick, which could bag another fringe prospect, who is also free. That, truly, is a look worth taking.

Miami, for their troubles, open up a roster spot without having to waste dollars in eating Pittman’s contract to do so. Since he had no role on the team, he was nothing more than a tax burden. As a matter of bookkeeping, Memphis — obliged by NBA rules to send out something in a trade, however trivial — sent Miami the draft rights to Ricky Sanchez, rights they had previously acquired in the deal that sent Sam Young to Philadelphia. Essentially, then, they traded Sam Young for Dexter Pittman and a pick, saving on some luxury tax dollars in the process. They also got to call Ricky Sanchez their own for a year. The real winner here is Ricky Sanchez, whose name gets splashed over the American basketball media all over again. (Without wishing to be callous, however, Ricky Sanchez is not a look worth taking.)

In a similar deal, Toronto traded the recently acquired contract of Hamed Haddadi (who never reported to Toronto, due to visa issues and general redundancy) along with a protected second round pick for Sebastian Telfair. After trading Jose Calderon in the Rudy Gay deal, the Raptors were down to two point guards and a cursory search of the waiver wire and the D-League turned up little. With no incentive to turn to retreads like Allen Iverson, Mike Bibby or Carlos Arroyo, and with little in the D-League point guard pool other than Ben Uzoh (whom they’ve already danced a merry dance with), Toronto turned their attention to the trade market, where Telfair could be found stealing Kendall Marshall’s minutes. Telfair’s legend blew out long before his candle ever will, but he’s proven himself to be a sufficiently mediocre backup NBA point guard to merit a look from a team that needs exactly that going forward. For the cost of a man who couldn’t even get into the country, it’s a look worth taking.

Meanwhile, Phoenix essentially completes a trade of Telfair and Luke Zeller (waived to open up a roster spot) for Haddadi, the guaranteed portion of his contract for next year ($200,000) and the talented if struggling Marcus Morris. They receive the best player of the four, who also happens to be the youngest and most skilled, and the twin brother of an incumbent. They lose absolutely nothing for the potential gain of something, and, notwithstanding the alarmingly bad fit all the pieces of their front court are for each other, Phoenix’s dire years should necessitate young talent acquisition. As always, it’s a look worth taking. And that’s is what the Celtics are hoping Jordan Crawford will be.

In what was by default one of the bigger moves of the day, Boston traded Leandro Barbosa (who won’t play due to injury) and Jason Collins (who shouldn’t play for an altogether different reason) for Crawford, a price tag that simply couldn’t be lower. With that as their return, the Wizards got literally nothing for Crawford. Zilch, kaput, zero. They didn’t get a pick, they didn’t get a player who’ll play, and they didn’t even get cap space, as they won’t have any anyway. However, they’re doing so for a reason. They’re banking on the idea that addition can come by subtraction after Crawford spent the entire season proving as much.

Given the reins to the team in light of John Wall’s injury, Crawford demonstrated he couldn’t improve players around him, nor the team he was entrusted with. He wasn’t a playmaker, wasn’t a defender, wasn’t a leader, wasn’t disciplined, and wasn’t focused on anything other than his own scoring. He proved he most definitely could score, averaging 16ppg at one point, and tweeting out his stat lines so you don’t forget this. But he also proved it was all for naught.

As if obsessed with the difficulty of his own shots, Crawford emphatically proved points can be redundant all season — when he sat for three games in January, the NBA-worst Wizards ran off a three game winning streak, and when he sat for two more earlier this month, the suddenly-.500-caliber Wizards won both of those two. The less Crawford plays, the better the Wizards do, and it can’t all be attributed to Wall. Crawford and his hero ball style is a waste of talent at this time — someone with those ball skills, physical tools and shot-making talents should not actively make NBA teams worse. Yet he did. Repeatedly.

Boston, of course, is hoping that some veteran stability with a dollop of ubuntu will turn this talented but misguided upstart into something resembling his namesake, Jamal. It’s a longshot, of course, but then no one embraces those more than Jordan. As of today, because of the price tag, it was a look worth taking. But then, if you’re Crawford, aren’t they all?

Comments (9)

  1. Great post man! lets hope the veteran influence of pierce and garnett can control crawford’s impulses or else he will be too much of a liability. Despite the future result i’m impressed with ainge’s vision, it as the potential to be a great steal with no risk taking whatsoever

    • Barbosa’s been awesome for the Celtics this season though!

    • Boston has the luxury of using him correctly.

      Make no mistakes, despite being a hideous defender, if you take the “30 foot above the break three” out of his hands by using him off ball, he’s a player.

      Even with those impulses, he’s more efficient after 2 weeks slumping terribly than Barbosa has been in 3 years.

      DC is one of the dumbest franchises ever, and now they’re re asserting just how cheap they are too, keeping Ernie Grunfeld and his well below .500 12 year run with the team going, and retaining the worst coach in NBA history who not only loses a ton, but airs his players out in public 2 weeks before the deadline two years running.
      Crawford is significantly better than he was a year and a half ago when our owner crowned Wall, Blatche and Crawford our “new big three”- mismanagement at its finest. A guy can’t carry an NBA offense? Join the club with at least 350 other players.

      Keeping or not keeping those guys is whatever. proactively making sure they’re worthless is something crazy though.

      I love how they used to wait too long, but now they jump too fast, earl Barron got 10 boards in 30 minutes and Okafor got 5 in 15? Clearly we need to start Earl Barron.

      Oh what could have been.

  2. why do you hate the collins brothers so?

  3. I’m usually not one for this sort of thing but:


    Atlanta probably do the worst out of this deal for expiring deals would lack scoring, but would also become a scary good “back alley team” that no one in the east would want to face in the finals. But Smith is gone anyway.
    LA finally fix their chemistry adding basically AK47 and Smith for Meta and Gasol.
    Minny give Gasol and Rubio a year to recover. And possibly go get Calderon? Go spain?
    Phoenix pick up some Arizona college kids and are…well they’d remain tuuurrrble.

  4. Nothing about Redick to the bucks ??

  5. I’m a big Crawford defender. The biggest problem with him has repeatedly been the teams inability to grasp that just because so some wants to be given free reign, you don’t necessarily have to give it to him. They had the same problems with Young, Blatche and MCGee, always letting guys handle too much responsibility.

    So now our jumped up interim coach (worst winning percentage in NBA history BEFORE this gig, wow) has publicly clashed with 4 young guys who could have been – and probably all will be- valuable role players simply because DC insisted on operating under the presumption that they were future stars.

    Oh, and did they panic trade all 4 of them right after letting Wittman take a pick axe to whatever was left of their reputation? Goddamn right they did.

    Crawford has been part of the offense in lower usage roles pretty rarely, but it seems like he always came up big when he did. Then he”d get rewarded with the opportunity to run the offense again. It was mind boggling how little DC seemed to grasp “limiting mistakes” and “avoiding putting players in positions where they shoot themselves in the foot”

    So then they make a calculated move. Crawford isn’t the star they kept hoping for, so they put him behind 2 D Leaguers at the end of the bench to provoke a reaction. That reaction was mild- he knew he was on his way out and tossed a jersey to a fan who had been chanting for Crawford to enter the game. DC media ran with some dumb leaked version about how he threw it in disgust because he’s such a malcontent.

    Ugh. I watch the Wizards. Every game. I see maybe 20 games a year. Crawford was the single most beloved player on this team and seemed to have literally no problem backing up Beal. They seemed fast friends. Wall maybe didn’t like him, but Wall doesn’t seem to like any reminders of how much he needs to improve at to be considered a great player. Super thin skin.

    So now we dump the guy who was the only positive force on the team the first few months of the year. A guy who was specifically tasked with being a high usage ISO guard, who upped his efficiency and his beautiful pass to dumb 3 ratio, who is the only guy on the team shooting over 40% from 3-9,10-15,16-23 and Corner treys, 3rd in TS% on the team, and we dump him for less than nothing.

    This kid is going to thrive as a 15 mpg bench guy in Boston. They knew they needed a guy like that in limited minutes. For whatever reason, the 30th ranked offense in the league is now going into games where Kevin Seraphin is likely going to have a 40% usage rate. People are going to clamor for Crawford and question why this team bailed so fast, after Bench Craw won them two games before slumping.

    Compare him to a lot of other similar players, he is playing better this year than a lot of the, did this early. DC is going to rue the day they dumped him. I can’t wait for them to make a run at Minta Ellis so they can have a worse player for 5 times as much. But he has a big name!

  6. I agree with Nich. I know that Jordan Crawford has his issues but that was I think the worst trade of the deadline (Hou-Sac might be the other). Even if Barbosa does make a good comeback from this injury (at his age?), his best years are way behind him. He’s one of the single worst defenders in the NBA per my understanding (haven’t actually seen him in action much lately).

    Sure, Crawford can be somewhat of a head case, but the Wizards have him being the main man one month, sitting on the end of the bench the next, and the whole league knows that the fire sale is on. But is it a stretch to imagine that Memphis, Orlando or even Boston could have thrown an actual rotation player or a low draft pick towards the Wizards and taken a chance on rehabbing this kid? I mean a 15ppg scorer is way less of a project than most of these guys you see getting traded around. If I was a GM, knowing that he was dealing with the environment and incompetence of Washington, I would take a chance on Jordan Crawford if my team’s rotation wasn’t locked down. Maybe that’s just me speculating too much.

    In any case, I would not be happy if I was a Wizards fan. Get rid of Crawford? Yes. Get fleeced in the process? ???

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