July 8, 2010 will live in infamy as the day the NBA turned upside down. LeBron James left the Cavs for the Heat on a one-hour TV show, his former owner absolutely destroyed him for it, and shortly thereafter, David Lee and Michael Beasley were traded. Jeez.
I could go on and on about LeBron’s potential impact in Miami, but this is a Wizards site. And like most Wizards fans, I simply don’t like LeBron James. He’s gotten enough press, so let’s move on to topics that pertain to Washington.
As I mentioned, Michael Beasley was traded yesterday. Except, that’s only half the story. He went to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for a second round pick and a swap of protected future first round draft picks.
Want to know why I put certain sections of that sentence in italics? For emphasis on how badly the Wizards lost out. Washington swapped Quinton Ross for Yi Jianlian after activating one of their many trade clauses a few weeks ago. If they had given up a bit more (in terms of draft picks), they’d have Beasley instead of Jianlian.
And I know what the doubters will say. Beasley has underperformed. He has off-the-court problems. The Wizards already have Andray Blatche.
Don’t care, don’t care, and don’t care.
Michael Beasley was the second pick in the NBA draft two years ago. He’s not a 27-year-old bust making too much cash. He’s on his rookie contract, he’s 21, and his ceiling is much higher than Andray Blatche’s, even with Andray’s semi-breakout second half to last season.
Plus, for a second round selection, I’d just make the deal and figure out the roster logistics later. Others will point to the swap of future first round picks that were included in the trade, and at first glance, I’d say they have a valid point. Minnesota will be a terrible team for years to come. But even David Kahn isn’t dumb enough to not include a trillion clauses in that draft pick. Miami won’t see it come to fruition until LeBron James is 43 years old and playing on bionic knees.
And it’s not like Yi Jianlian comes to D.C. without any flaws either. His age has come under question for years, and most NBA insiders will say that he’s not 22 years old like he claims to be. He’s a soft defensive player, and would rather shoot jump shots than post up inside. I liked his acquisition, and I still do like it, but I would’ve much rather made the Beasley trade.
Considering owner Ted Leonsis has been preaching the “slow and steady” approach, going after Jianlian early instead of waiting on Miami’s next move seems to be going against Washington’s new strategy. Everyone on Earth (except for the Wizards, obviously) knew Michael Beasley would be dealt this offseason. It was only a matter of time.
So why didn’t Washington wait on him?