I like it.
I don't love it, but I think we made out fairly decently. It all depends on Javaris Crittenton's development, but you already knew that.
The swap with New Orleans was definitely a downgrade. Mike James had one good season many years ago when he was allowed to shoot anytime he wanted on a woeful Toronto Raptors team. Ever since then, he has been on a major decline, and he wasn't very good before that one magical year in Toronto either. Three different teams have invested in James to at least come close to providing the type of production he did in Toronto. Minnesota signed him after the 2005/06 season expecting him to be the starting point guard, and he struggled. Houston, figuring Minnesota was just a bad fit, traded for James the next season expecting him to challenge Rafer Alston for the starting spot or at least provide a bench spark. He didn't. New Orleans then traded for him to upgrade their depth, and he instead wallowed on the bench. The Hornets even made him the backup point guard this year instead of re-signing Janerro Pargo, and James was so bad that they elected to go with Devin Brown at the point. Devin Brown!
It's foolhearty to expect Mike James to be any good for us. He hasn't been any good since 2005/06, and he wasn't any good before then. He's definitely not as good as even an injured and washed-up Antonio Daniels.
But none of that really matters. Both guys have contracts that expire at the same time. Neither factored into our long-term plans, and neither was going to have value next season when they were expiring deals.
What does matter is that swapping James for Daniels allowed us to get Crittenton for virtually nothing. To recap: Memphis gave up a conditional first-round pick for Juan Carlos Navarro, applying conditions that basically made it impossible for the Wizards to receive it for many years. They got one year out of Navarro before he bolted. Now, they want their pick back, even though they weren't going to lose it for a while, and are willing to give up the prospect that helped drive the Pau Gasol deal. That's bad planning.
I don't know much about Javaris Crittenton. I didn't like him coming out of college, but as Sierradave pointed out, I didn't like Thaddeus Young or JaVale McGee either. His career numbers indicate a player who is inefficient, not a pure passer and someone who will use a lot of possessions. Not exactly inspiring. However, he has never received a chance to show what he could do. He was stuck behind eons of players with the Lakers, and in Memphis, he was shoved aside so the Grizzlies could develop Kyle Lowry, O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley. He clearly has talent and it sounds like a good work ethic too. I like that he's tall for his position, which may make it easier to pair him long-term with Gilbert Arenas. Teams have been trying to turn him into what he's not, and considering our history with combo guards, I'm confident we can get the most out of him.
In any case, he was worth the downgrade from AD to Mike James. In the grand scheme of things, the difference between the two doesn't matter. I would have advocated sitting AD anyway so our younger PGs could develop. Now, we'll just sit James instead and play Crittenton (or so I hope). It would have been more optimal to get a better player for AD, and it would have been nice to get a contract that expired this year to address our luxury tax problems down the road, but this works too. The important thing is that it allowed us to get Crittenton for basically nothing.
New Orleans deserves an incredible amount of credit for inserting itself into this deal to make an upgrade on a position of need, but I wouldn't worry too much about them. We got another promising youngster who could develop or potentially be used in a bigger trade. That's good enough for me.