Wiz of Awes Round Table: Nene Trade

The trade deadline came and went, and with that, so did JaVale McGee and Nick Young, along with Ronny Turiaf. With their departure, came the arrival of former Denver Nuggets center, Nene. Most fans are happy in getting rid of two of the Wizards’ infamous “big three (knuckleheads)” — Andray Blatche is the only one remaining because no team wanted to entertain the idea of  trading for him. It’s the risk that concerns us all with Nene’s health and big contract.

So we here at Wiz of Awes all took a seat at the round table to discuss the trade.

Kevin Hine

The day I have dreamed about for months and months finally came; the Nick and JaVale show was finally cancelled in D.C. I’m excited about them being gone, and I am excited about Nene — albeit a nervous type of excitement.

I know some fans are worried about JaVale going to Denver and becoming the elite center we all thought he could one day become, but I’m not worried about that. It’s my concern about Nene’s health going forward, along with his huge contract (he’s due 52 million over the next four years) that makes me feel a little uneasy. Some have said that Nene’s knees check out medically and that our concern is largely unfounded, but with his injury history and high price-tag, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.

With that being said, I’m glad that Ernie Grunfeld pulled the trigger on this trade. I would have been completely fine with Grunfeld only trading Nick Young to the Clippers and getting a 2nd round pick back in return while letting JaVale McGee leave this summer as a restricted free agent. But the 29-year-old Nene will provide a steady big-man down on the block and he’ll give the Wizards a consistent and mature player on and off the court. There’s something to be said for that.

Will Nene’s contract become a burden for the Wizards? Is Nene going to be able to remain healthy?

These are questions that only time can provide the answers to. If the Wizards get the answers they want to hear, then this trade will be a big win for D.C.

Ben Mehic

Entering the NBA trade deadline I expected the Wizards to be fairly quiet. Past trade proposals failed and I just didn’t see Ernie Grunfeld pulling off a major deal on such short notice.

Getting Nene for McGee was a very unexpected deal. Despite Nene’s injury concerns, I really like this deal for Washington.

Nene is an established center who is in the upper echelon at his position. He brings the low-post talent that Washington desperately needs. And to this point in his career, JaVale McGee has been nothing but a project. Waiting for McGee would take time — something the Wizards have already given him a lot of — and frankly, his bad habits have seemed to spread and progress in Washington.

Giving McGee a change of scenery in Denver will set him up with a perfect opportunity to prove his true worth. Besides, McGee’s ridiculous reported demand of a contract that would pay him 14 million dollars per year was absurd.

The other side of the deal involved Nick Young.

I’ve been on-and-off in regards to Nick Young. He’s shown lots of promise on the offensive end and continues to improve his man to man defense. But the losing culture that was spread in Washington was brought in part by Nick Young. Getting rid of those that helped bring in the losing culture was a must. That’s exactly what Ernie Grunfeld did when he sent Young to his hometown team, the Los Angeles Clippers.

I truly hope these guys succeed on their new teams. A change in culture was necessary for the Wizards. Keeping those two around would be risky; and McGee and Young were also on their way out as free agents this summer anyway.

I honestly didn’t expect to be talking about a major deal that included the Wizards. But like I always say, “you never know what you’re going to get when your talking about the Wizards.”

Christopher Cook

The trade made at the deadline pretty much boils down to JaVale McGee and Ronnie Turiaf for Nene.

In Nene, the Wizards are getting a tough and physical center with some quality playoff experience. McGee and Turiaf give the Nuggets some depth in their frontcourt. Denver scores the most fast break points per game in the league — second in that statistic is the Wizards.

JaVale should fit in similarly to the way he did with the Wizards. Nene should fit in just nicely here in Washington as well, if he can stay on the floor. That is one of the major concerns Wizards fans have about this trade, myself included. Nene has missed 15 games this year and has had seasons in his career where he has missed a good chunk of time, including the season he missed due to his cancer scare. I like the addition of Nene to this young roster. Really, I just expected the Wizards to just let JaVale and Young walk at the end of the season and move on.

Nene comes at a hefty price tag, but gives the Wizards stability at the center position. Nene is a high-percentage shooter and runs the floor well for a big man. He is also a much better free throw shooter than JaVale, and a better decision maker as well. My impression is that this was a little bit of a desperation move for Grunfeld to try to save face. The team hasn’t been making much progress and Ernie had to try and do something to save his job. In my opinion, it’s too little too late. Nene might help, but there are still a lot of holes in this roster. Brian Cook will not be filling any of them. The Clippers part of the trade has more to do with both teams just trying to get something out of nothing. Brian Cook wasn’t doing anything for the Clippers and they were in need of a shooting guard after losing Chauncey Billups for the season with an Achilles injury. Young will step in and try to help the Clippers, who will be a playoff team come season’s end. Nick Young would have been gone at the end of the year anyway, so the Wizards managed to at least get a 2015 second round pick out of him.

All in all, the trade is a little surprising because it’s not the kind of move you would expect a young rebuilding team to make. By the time the Wizards can contend for a playoff spot, Nene may already be a 12 year veteran.

Matt Houston

I was sitting on my couch checking Twitter religiously for about an hour waiting to see if the Wizards were going to make any moves. Then inexplicably around 2:50 ET I zoned out and started focusing more on the madness of the NCAA tournament instead of the NBA trade deadline. I finally checked back around 3:45 and noticed that I had an unusual high amount of unread tweets on my timeline. I loaded them up and was shocked to find out that JaVale McGee was heading to Denver, Nick to the Clips, and Nene to the Wiz. I didn’t even have any immediate thoughts on the deal outside of being pretty shocked.

Now that I have had some time to think about the deal I still can’t really come up with any opinion regarding whether or not our Wizards “won” the trade. I understand the deal one-hundred percent though. McGee — who is scheduled to be a restricted free agent this summer — and Young, an unrestricted free agent this summer, were both likely going to be gone in a few months anyway. It would be stupid for any team to actually give up something valuable for Nick Young,  so the fact that Ernie Grunfeld got just Brian Cook and a future second round pick for Young is not really surprising. McGee on the other hand still possessed some trade value in my opinion. Getting Nene, a 29-year-old center with bad knees and a 13 million dollar per year contract, for McGee wasn’t exactly ideal in my eyes. I have serious doubts on whether or not Nene can stay healthy, especially a few years down the road when the Wizards will still be owing him a large sum of cash. That being said, IF Nene can stay healthy during his time with the Wizards I think he can be a very valuable asset.

So to recap my thoughts on the deal: I have cautious optimism towards Nene; I will weirdly miss JaVale McGee and Nick Young; I expect Brian Cook to lead the team in scoring; and I think it will take a few years to fully judge this trade. One thing I am certain of though is that JaVale McGee will tear things up as a Nugget — it’s just the way things work for the Wizards.

James Straton

James’ take on the trade will be available in his at-length post dedicated to JaVale, and the trade, later today. Spoiler alert: he’s not happy about JaVale being gone.

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