On December 10th the Wizards acquired veteran Ronny Turiaf, two future second round picks, and cash from the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks in exchange for… nothing. This was a good — no-brainer — decision by Ernie Grunfeld to step up and take on Turiaf from the New York Knicks who were attempting to clear cap space for their newly signed center Tyson Chandler.
In Turiaf’s six year NBA career he’s had stops with the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, and New York Knicks and he’s averaged a 5.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 17.9 minutes per game over his career. It isn’t what Turiaf brings to the stat sheet that’s important, it’s everything else, and that is what makes him so important to an NBA team — particularly here with the Wizards.
The 6’10″ Turiaf can play either the power forward or center spots and the starters for the Wizards at those spots are Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee. If you’ve been following my player previews you know my harsh opinions on both Blatche and McGee and when — not if — either, if not both, of those players get put in coach Flip Saunders’ dog house it will be Turiaf that sees the boost in minutes. While Blatche and McGee don’t give consistent effort and have numerous mental lapses each and every game, Turiaf is the opposite. While Turiaf gives full effort every game and is the quintessential high energy player, no one will ever accuse him of being the most talented player on the court.
Going forward now and looking into our crystal ball, the future is unclear for Ronny Turiaf here in a Wizards uniform. The soon-to-be 29 year old will be an unrestricted free agent after the season when his 4.3 million dollar salary comes off the books. I expect Turiaf to play well and continue to do the things that have made him valuable in the NBA this season for the Wizards. If that’s the case there would be no excuse for Ernie Grunfeld — assuming he’s still the team president after the season — to not try and bring Turiaf back.
Twitter: @Kevin_Hine and @WizOfAwesKevin