Wiz of Awes Roundtable: Goodbye Steez


January 4, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards shooting guard Jordan Crawford (15) stands on the court against the Brooklyn Nets at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We’re one day removed from the trade which sent our once loved Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics in exchange for virtually nothing. So, I asked the rest of the Wiz of Awes staff how they felt about the deal. I guess you could call this the final goodbye. See ya, Steez.

Nithin Kuchibhotla

The most puzzling aspect of the Wizards rebuilding effort is that there isn’t a set direction that this team is headed in.  On one hand, there is a push to win basketball games now to keep John Wall happy. This can be seen by the trade for Nene (who had 4 years and $52 million left on his contract), Okafor (2 years $28 million) and Ariza (2 years $14 million) which clogs up cap space for the foreseeable future.  On the other hand, Grunfeld has drafted projects like Jan Vesely and Tomas Satoransky and made trades where we give up assets for absolutely nothing, highlighted by yesterday’s debacle as well as last year’s deadline move that sent Nick Young to the Clippers.  Because of our indecisiveness, it is unclear whether the Wizards are trying to compete now or go for broke (yet again, after completing the worst 4 year stretch in franchise history).  Obviously this season is a wash, as we stand with just 15 wins.  But the team has played .500 basketball since Wall’s return, so why not at least teach them how to win?  What is the advantage of another top 3 pick if the price to pay is developing a losing culture with these young players that can’t be changed?  Jordan Crawford could not be a member of the Wizards any longer; that I agree with.  But to trade him for two players who will either never suit up for Washington or play an extremely minimal role for the next 3 months is essentially spitting in the faces of all 8 fans that are left.  The reason this trade was made was simply to line Ted Leonsis’ pockets a little further.  This cap room won’t turn into better players and it certainly won’t make us more competitive down the line.  We’re being penny-wise, pound-foolish as we have so often in the past.  Trading a low first round pick, still on his rookie contract, is probably one of the most inept decisions a team can make.  I imagine if we had just sent him home, and waited till the offseason to move him we could’ve had more options.  And if there is truly nothing else, I’m positive that the Leandro Barbosa/Jason Collins offer would always be on the table.

So this is the life as a Wizards fan.  Optimists will point to the fact that Crawford meant nothing to the team going forward and there was nothing to lose or gain from his departure.  And although that may be true, Grunfeld continues to prove that his greatest oversight is understanding value his players might have to other teams if not his own.  For the same reason he couldn’t force the Hornets to include the 10th overall pick in last year’s Rashard Lewis trade (for the record, we took back $42 million in salary for two players they weren’t going to use and Lewis had just a $10 million buyout) and the same reason he traded Nick Young, a valuable bench scorer who swung Game 1 of the Clippers-Grizzlies series, for mega-scrub Brian Cook, Grunfeld traded Crawford for a ham sandwich.  Or maybe less.  General managers around the league probably get giddy with the idea of trading with the Wizards.  If only Isaiah Thomas was still in the front office – maybe we could win a trade then.

Crawford will probably become a useful bench player in Boston with veterans who are actually willing to keep younger players in line.  The Wizards will convince their fans that this money can sign Martell Webster, or possibly another low payed free agent.

James Straton

I’ll miss Jordan Crawford. I really will. I may have recently fileted him in an article but that doesn’t mean I didn’t recognize steez. You know what they say: “steez recognize steez,” Or something.

It was clear that Jordan Crawford did not have a role on this team once John Wall returned and Crawford realized this himself. He spent the past few games firing turnaround threes from out of bounds and 100 foot high trick shots during warm-ups, just because. He had no reason to warm up, anyway. He was checked out because he knew it didn’t matter. It was likely just as clear to him as it was to us that he was being traded.

A checked out Jordan Crawford still has some value. Prior to his relegation to the bench, he was posting individual statistics better than those of Jamal Crawford and JR Smith, All Stars in some minds. Even with his improved individual performance, the team struggled completely. Without him on the court, the Wizards were better in almost every aspect of offense and defense – a feat that is likely  not replicated by any other player in the league.

But how much value did he have on the open market? I’m not sure Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld even cared. Even so, it is obvious he was not highly respected by GMs around the league. There are a number of teams that are struggling mightily to score (the C’s being one of them) and none of them were willing to make a legitimate offer. That should tell you something.

If JC was so invaluable, why move him at all? Was he cancerous in the locker room? I hadn’t seen anything to lead me to that conclusion. Was he complaining? I only recall his one tweet with his stat line in the month of December. He certainly wasn’t expensive.

I can see two thought processes in this move:

  • Moving Crawford allows the Wizards to resign Martell Webster AND use the full mid-level exception this summer, hopefully gearing up to compete next year.
  • The $2,000,000 in savings will prove fruitful at next year’s trade deadline when expiring contracts Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor are on the block.

I don’t know how much I really agree with either of these positions. Is this team only a MLE player away from competing? Of course not. Is the $2 million in savings greater than what could have been garnered by dealing him next year? I don’t think so, but maybe getting Jason Collins and Leandro Barbosa immediately off the books was important for some grand trade scheme this summer.

This is where the trade loses me. Jordan Crawford was effectively given away for nothing – no real cap relief, no draft picks, no meaningful players in return, no back-against-the-wall necessity, no nothing. So why not allow him to get out of the dog house the way Chris Singleton did? I don’t know.

The trade is weird and, in the long-run, likely inconsequential. The odds Jordan Crawford blossoms into something he’s not were probably worth $2 million, but Ernie and Leonsis disagreed. The Wizards didn’t lose an All Star, or even a starter, or a good shooter, or a good defender. They lost a soon-to-be NBA journeyman who was the best offensive weapon on a historically awful offensive team. Do I like the trade? No. Do I think it really matters? Not really.

Derik Williams

With high hopes and expectations on the trade deadline, the Wizards front office once again did not disappoint; if you are looking at this trade with history in mind. The last time the Wizards made a trade that benefited them may not be written down in history, seeing as it is as rare a sighting as seeing a UFO on a cloud free day.

Crawford for Barbosa is easily the worst trade made this year. Crawford, even though he is notorious for jacking shots, did contribute to wins this year. Barbosa on the other hand will not even suit up for one game this season and his contract is expiring which most likely means he will be out of here by the summer. The only positive I see from this trade is cap space for another mediocre player whose career may die in the capital city. Crawford averaged around 13 points a game on a team that struggles to score. The question is now who will step up with the absence of Crawford?

Garrett Temple has great upside but scoring is not his main job. The scoring load has just gotten heavier for rookie Bradley Beal, which may or may not work out as a positive for the Wizards. To close up, it is easy to see the trade was necessary but hard to understand why this particular trade was made. Players such as JJ Redick, who could fit into our offensive scheme as a sharpshooter, were available and it seems as though our front office did not work for better trades. Hopefully this off-season moves will be made to make up for this loss opportunity.  J-Craw best of luck in Boston, sorry things didn’t work out.

Ben Mehic

When I first heard about the trade, I was extremely angry about the possibility of losing the ‘steez’ we all grew to love, for essentially, a bag of chips. Now that I’ve had about a day to reflect on the deal, I have had a slight change of heart.

Look, I realize that Jordan Crawford has helped the Wizards win some games this year. When John Wall and Bradley Beal were out, Crawford was easily the most effective player on the floor. With that said, Crawford quickly became expendable once our guards returned from injury. After not playing for four consecutive games, throwing his jersey into the crowd, and ditching the Washington Wizards media after practice, we all knew Crawford was a goner. It was just a matter of putting together a deal which could benefit Washington. Did that happen? Not necessarily.

Players of Crawford’s caliber aren’t worth very much in the trade market, if anything. That was proven yesterday when the Wizards traded ‘JCraw’ for a player with a torn ACL (who will never put on a Washington Wizards jersey) and a player Atlanta Hawks fans call, Scrubasaurus Rex (Jason Collins). It’s been reported that no one besides the Celtics had even contacted the Wizards in pursuit of acquiring Crawford. That’s sad, to say the least.

But he had to go. Kevin Jones called Jordan Crawford “the least caring athlete” he’s been around. If that doesn’t say something about the guy, I’m not sure what will. Washington doesn’t have the culture in which selfish ego’s could thrive, thus Crawford had to go. Crawford was reportedly upset about his role in Washington. Well, you’re about to be in for quite a change in Boston. If Jordan couldn’t accept his role on a 15 win team, and continue to improve his overall game, how will he react on a winning team such as the Celtics? If Crawford had accepted his role, sat through a couple more games without pouting, I’m sure he would’ve gotten another shot. But he didn’t.

I obviously wish the Wizards had gotten something out of the deal, but at the end of the day, at least we’ve gotten rid of yet another head case. I’m hoping the Wizards could use the money saved in the deal to acquire another talented shooter in the off-season, much like they did Martell Webster.

I can’t lie. I’ll miss Jordan Crawford, but to a certain extent.

Well, on to the Jason Collins Era, I guess.