OK, so I've been thinking about this for about a week, but it was part 1 of Prada's latest post that spurred me into writing this. In it, he talks about the way the young guys were developed last week in Vegas and how he foresees the team seeing what it's got before considering any midseason trades. As you all know, the Wizards are a little shy on big men, and a trade for one is likely our best option at getting a player that would do anything but take up space on the bench.
What I've had on my mind is that our likely key trading pieces (Stevenson, James) will be of more value to us as we get closer to the deadline. DeShawn Stevenson's trade value can't get any lower than it is right now. He's injured, just had a very off year, and has two more years on his contract. But here's the thing: if he can get healthy this off-season and come back next year and show he's still got some game left in him, his value will go up. Furthermore, we will more than likely still feel comfortable getting rid of him because of Miller, Foye, and Young all being on the roster (all of them are younger and, arguably, better). Finally, his contract won't have two more years on it at the time of the deadline, but rather barely more than one. If he has indeed shown his ability to bounce back from these injuries, then teams looking to lure free agents in the "Summer of Bosh" (that's right, that's what I'm calling it) could be interested in having a good contributor on their roster to show they have the depth to contend, while teams looking for a playoff or championship push might want one more roleplayer to help with that. As I've said, his value can't get any lower, so we may as well see if it'll get higher before trying to move him.
As for Mike James, his value right now is pretty high. But there is no reason to move him right now, before injuries and age take their toll on teams that think they have a chance right now. There are always a few teams that look like they're ready for playoff runs of varying lengths who sputter out before the All-Star Break (look at the Sixers, Suns, and Pistons last year, for starters). Those teams might see an opportunity to shed some long-term contracts in exchange for guys like James. They might decide that they're on the other side of the ever-more obvious divide between haves and have-nots in the NBA, and might want to get ready for the Summer of Wade (I can call it that too!). While Stevenson's value is dependent largely upon his ability to perform on a court, James' value only depends on when his contract expires. That factor is a constant, as opposed to Stevenson's variable, and so the value on the other side of that equation will remain the same. [Conceivably, it could go up as team finances get more and more dire, but let's just say it's high and will remain that way.]
I've also thought about our young guys, who may or may not be secondary trade options in the eyes of Grunfeld -- that is to say, one of them might get thrown in a deal to sweeten it for someone not too willing to take on one or two older, low-performance players. I see that group as containing four guys: Andray Blatche, Nick Young, JaVale McGee, and Dominic McGuire (the Mc-G brothers, maybe? lol). I'm not going to go into specifics about any of them individually, because I think the same basic argument applies to all of them. Honestly, I think their overall trade value will be going down as we get closer and closer to the deadline. I've stressed the fact that finances for teams will be getting tighter, and I've also mentioned that there is a ever-larger and ever-more obvious divide between haves and have-nots in the NBA. Some teams are legit contenders for a championship, and most are legit contendors for the lottery. Every year, there seem to be fewer and fewer teams that you could call a playoff lock. What I'm getting at here is that there are going to be very few teams who will be willing to take on any player who isn't going to contribute much now. The players I've listed all have relatively high upsides, but aren't ready to be key contributors right now. A team that is pushing for a Finals run might be interested in one of them in a reserve role, and a team with a decent outlook for the next few years might be interested in taking one of them to develop into a sixth man or starter. It so happens that the group of teams looking to make the push and the group of teams with good finances happens to be about the same (hey, successful teams make money, not strugglers). So the only guys who would be interested trade partners come mid-season will likely be the Lakers, Celtics, Magic, Spurs, Heat (maybe), Rockets (maybe), and Nuggets (maybe). Maybe a couple more, but that's my list. If we were to try to trade any of those young guys right now, we might find more people interested in them, but as owners keep tightening their belts, developing young players will seem like a less and less appealing option for teams.
In conclusion, I say we wait on that trade. The value of the guys we truly want to get rid of can only go up. The young guys who could help us create the trade right now will probably be less valuable later on, but with a new coach and an owner unafraid to spend the money needed to win, I don't think any of us want to get rid of those gusy right now. [Okay, I do want to get rid of Blatche, but I understand that people still want to see him develop fully.] If we try to trade now, we probably have to get rid of one of our young talents. If we trade later, we might get away with only disposing of those "toxic assets," to turn a phrase. That's what I think anyway. What about you guys?