Thoughts on the Wizards-Hawks Trade

The Wizards made an unexpected splash in the trade deadline frenzy on Wednesday, completing a five-person deal with the Atlanta Hawks. Washington received Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford, and the Hawks’ 2011 first-round pick in exchange for Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong.

For Atlanta, this trade makes a lot of sense. Mike Bibby wasn’t getting it done, backup PG Jeff Teague isn’t living up to expectations, and the Hawks are surrounded by other teams in the Eastern Conference playoff race making plenty of moves (like the Magic and Knicks). Kirk Hinrich is no superstar, but he’s extremely versatile, can score and pass effectively, plays tough defense, and fits right in as the new starting point guard.

I’ll certainly miss Captain Kirk, but I love this deal for the Wizards. I’ll preface my opinion by saying this–I’m not in the Wizards locker room, and I don’t know any of the players. From what I’ve heard, Kirk was a well-liked guy, and one of the leaders of the team. Those are invaluable traits that can’t necessarily be replaced. With that being said…

Kirk wasn’t going to make a significant difference to the Wizards this season or next on a team that will be extremely lucky to finish as the eight seed in the East in 2012. John Wall having a kinda-sorta mentor is a nice plus, but I don’t think Hinrich leaving is going to stunt his development one bit.

The bottom line here is the Wizards are rebuilding, and you can’t rebuild without decent-sized contracts, young prospects, and draft picks. The Wizards grabbed all three of those. Mike Bibby makes around 5.5 million dollars for each of the next two seasons, and Maurice Evans is an expiring contract worth 2.5 million bucks. I suspect Bibby will immediately slide into the backup PG role (he might play a little SG as well), get a decent amount of PT (15-25 minutes per night), and if he proves to be competent, he might find himself dealt at next year’s trade deadline. The Wiz have needed a consistent backup guard considering how injury-prone Mustafa Shakur and Hinrich were. Mo Evans won’t play much. Blunt, but true.

Now for the real meat of the trade–Jordan Crawford and the draft pick. Crawford hasn’t played much as a rookie, and as Mike Prada pointed out over Twitter, he hasn’t exactly lit it up when given a chance to shine. But it’s far too early to pass judgment. Crawford was an outstanding scorer at Xavier, ripped an awe-inspiring throwdown on D.C.’s former public enemy LeBron James, and is only 22 years old. There’s no downside in adding a youngster with his skill set to a team where he can make mistakes, grow, and try to prove himself. I honestly just don’t know enough about him to make any realistic predictions about what he could do for the Wizards. From what I saw  at Xavier, however, I worry that his game is a little too similar to Nick Young’s. I say this only because it’s nice to have guys with different strengths at each position.

The extra first-round pick is the cherry on top for the Wizards. It won’t be a great pick (probably early to mid 20’s), but you can NEVER have enough draft choices.

For once, I’m impressed with GM Ernie Grunfeld. It was reported on Tuesday that the Hawks weren’t budging from an offer of Bibby (and probably Evans) for Hinrich. The Wiz were able to add Crawford and a draft pick to the deal, and I’d consider that a major success.

I’m assuming Washington is done making moves, but you never know what could happen. I’d guess if a team made a decent enough offer for Andray Blatche or Rashard Lewis, they’d be dealt in the blink of an eye.

What did you think of the trade with the Hawks? Leave a comment below.

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