I'm going to make this quick, since I'm still working on Part 2 of this post (and if you'll believe it, it's even more complex than Part 1), but with the Dallas Mavericks emerging as a possible trade-up partner, I figured I'd take a minute to pose this discussion topic to the community.
Dallas and DC are pretty good trade partners. The Mavericks are very much where they were in 2004, when they traded Antawn Jamison to the Wizards for the fifth pick in the 2004 draft. They have a veteran core that is good enough to be a good team, but probably won't be able to take the next step. In 2004, they tried to go all-offense and traded for Antoine Walker and Jamison, only to win seven fewer games than in 2003 and flame out in five games early in the playoffs. The trade for Devin Harris was the first step in shifting their mindset to defense-first, as evidenced later by the team's decision to not re-sign Steve Nash.
Fast forward to 2009, and Dallas once again is a team at a crossroads. They were sixth in the West this year with a new coach and largely the same core as 2007/08. They did get to Round 2, but that was because they had a favorable first-round matchup with the banged-up Spurs. When they faced a true Western Conference contender in Denver, they got killed. Now, they have no depth and no youth, both largely because of the ill-fated Jason Kidd trade. Meanwhile, their best player is a free agent in 2010 and is over 30 years old. In short, they're a good team, but they have a limited ceiling and desperately need depth and youth. Trading one of their veterans in a package for the fifth pick can help with both of those weaknesses.
(For more on the Mavs, here's a good old article about why they need to blow things up).
Meanwhile, the 2003/04 Wizards had too many young pieces and needed to consolidate. The 2003/04 season was a disaster largely because of poor health -- Gilbert Arenas missed 27 games, Larry Hughes missed 21 and Jerry Stackhouse missed 56). The development of the young players was inconclusive -- Etan Thomas played well, but Kwame and Brendan Haywood didn't really. They also had some very bad contracts (Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner) that they could have shipped off. There wasn't all that much of a need for a rookie because the team had talent. It just needed to be healthy and better coordinated. (Before you laugh at the idea that the 2003/04 team had talent, there were some that truly believed the Wizards would make noise in 04/05).
Point is, the 2004 Wizards needed a veteran, the 2004 Mavericks wanted to ship off some of their veterans. Now, in 2009, the Wizards are talking about how they need a veteran, while the 2009 Mavericks may be considering a youth movement. Seems like good trade partners, no?
If we're talking veterans for Dallas, we're talking Jason Terry or Josh Howard. One would be the centerpiece of Dallas' package to move up to the fifth pick. Both are wings that would immediately become the starting shooting guard on this team. So, I ask the community, does either player fit with our team as currently constructed? Which would you prefer if you had to choose?
(My snap reaction: Howard fits defensively, but not offensively, while Terry is the opposite. But I want to reserve judgment until I hear from you all and finish Part II of the "perfect backcourt mate" study).