The Washington Wizards traded Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics Thursday in exchange for nine-year veteran Leandro Barbosa and journeyman center Jason Collins. Barbosa tore his ACL last Monday and is done for the season, while Collins is expected to get little to no playing time behind Nene, Emeka Okafor, and Kevin Seraphin.
The lack of return value would be expected if Crawford brought unloaded guns to the Verizon Center locker room, or if he went to clubs too often and had to sit out due to "conditioning." Unfortunately, there is no clear explanation as to why Washington pulled the trigger (no pun intended). No future draft picks, no cash considerations, just an extra roster spot for next season due to expiring contracts (Crawford has another year left on his contract while Barbosa and Collins will expire in April). How did things get so bad?
"Our team has started to come together and play well over the last 20 games," said Wizards Team President Ernie Grunfeld in an official press release. What he didn't mention was how Crawford played in 12 of those 20 games, 6 of which ended up being victories.
Washington is 11-9 in their last 20 games, 10-9 since the January 12 return of John Wall. The return of Wall reduced the minute share for Crawford, as did an early January ankle tweak. Crawford's injury allowed rookie Bradley Beal to shine, and while most critics expected a Beal-Wall backcourt down the road, it's unlikely anyone could have expected Crawford to fall out of favor so quickly.
Crawford averaged a dismal 4.4 points over his final eleven games with the Wizards. He was a DNP-CD (coach's decision) over his last four. "The rotation (going into the All-Star break) is such as I like," said Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman, regarding Crawford's availability. The Wizards went 2-2 over that four game stretch and the rumor mill fired up. At first there were thoughts that the Celtics would give up former Syracuse big Fab Melo, but with Melo off the table Washington settled for Collins.
"This trade allows us to keep moving [...] with the solid rotation and defensive commitment we have established on the court," continued Grunfeld, "helps us continue to build on the culture we are establishing in the locker room[,] and gives us additional financial flexibility." Crawford was never a solid defender for Washington. In fact, he ranked dead last on Washington's "Hustle Board" Tuesday with a 64% contest rate. Critics also labeled Crawford a "chucker," or in more eloquent terms, a "volume shooter." Still, it's hard to imagine dumping a player of his caliber.
The 24-year-old combo guard leaves Washington after two and a half seasons, in which he achieved two triple-doubles--more than any other Wizard in that span--and earned the nickname "Steez" (style) due to his locker room sunglasses and lavish postgame get-ups (think toned down Russell Westbrook). Washington passed on Nick Young (pun intended), traded Steez for nothing, and will start the Crawfordless-era tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET as they host former center JaVale McGee and the Denver Nuggets.
If the trade isn't enough bad news, Beal collided with Cartier Martin Tuesday during practice and chipped his teeth. From Washington Wizards' Official Blog:
Practiced ended in a bizarre way as Bradley Beal and Cariter Martin collided, causing Beal to chip his two front teeth and Martin to receive a laceration which required stitches. Neither injury is expected to keep either out of the lineup for Friday night's game, although Martin is still recovering from a knee injury and is listed as questionable.
Coach Wittman joked Beal can now "squirt some water out of his mouth, I bet." Be sure to follow @DCWIZ on Twitter tonight for any pregame updates regarding availability.