Instructions: Read this article. Let fury build. Good? Now let’s talk.
As you can probably tell, I’m not happy about this story. It’s not shocking though, because there were rumors around draft-time about how much the Thunder wanted Beal and about how Harden might be the bait. It’s also not shocking the Wizards turned the deal down. That’s because Ted Leonsis keeps running this team like it’s a hockey team. Like he can cobble together ANY collection of young players and they’ll develop together and grow into a super-team. Well, basketball just doesn’t work that way. In basketball, it’s whoever has the best player. The collection of surrounding talent doesn’t matter nearly as much. Depth doesn’t matter nearly as much, considering your star players can play 90-95 percent of the game. Contrast that to hockey where in an extreme situation, a star player can play 50 percent of the game. So, if Leonsis is approaching this whole “Wizards thing” from the perspective of a hockey owner, it makes sense why he would want to hold onto two young, affordable pieces (Beal and Singleton) over one great piece (Harden).
I’m astonished, though, that Ernie Grunfeld wasn’t screaming, pounding on a desk that making the trade was the right thing to do. Maybe it’s because he had sufficiently handicapped the team already with the bad contracts of Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor that he didn’t want to suggest to Leonsis paying the luxury tax next season.
I don’t know what the reasoning or explanation is, but I’m sick of it. If this failed trade illustrates one thing, it’s that there ARE legitimate opportunities out there for teams in the bottom of the NBA to improve. That’s what the lottery can do for you. But the Wizards continue to swat these opportunities at improvement away!
If Grunfeld didn’t like this trade on basketball reasons alone, that’s even more damning. Beal has a chance to be a pretty good player in this league. Probably not a star, but a good player nonetheless. Singleton is a nice rotational player. Harden, conservatively, is a top-15 player right NOW in the league! And he’s young. And he’s a reason John Wall might want to stick around past 2014 (Quick side-note: Cut it out with the eye-rolling and general apathy on the bench, John. We know this team isn’t any good, but it’s not like your God’s gift to basketball either. Keep it to yourself until you can get back out there and actually justify being the No. 1 overall pick in the draft).
If you haven’t picked up on it by now, there’s not a great direction to this post, other than directing anger at the Wizards front office for making the fans continue to watch a wretched product on the court and for continuing to set the franchise back. What’s the Wizards motto? New Traditions? How about Continuous Rebuilding? I think that one seems more apt. This is just another example. The sad thing is when I read this story, I didn’t throw a chair and shout and scream. Nope, I reserve that for teams that I actually expect something out of. I just sighed and went on watching the Wiz beat the Hornets (woooo!). Another day in the life of a Wizards fan.