I'm back from New York, where my break wasn't really much of a break. To the best girlfriend in the world: thanks for letting me ramble on about the trade as you did your law school homework. You're amazing.
I've skimmed a lot of the comments over the past two days, and I wanted to throw out a couple things before we move on.
- Trades often bring out newcomers to the community, or at least guys who tend to lurk during other times. To those people, welcome. We sincerely hope you stay here.
- To established members: remember that some of those newcomers have little idea how the community tends to function and the type of culture we've tried to foster here, for lack of a better word. Please be considerate to them and understanding if they don't seem to grasp yet that culture. Be patient and understanding. They're new. They're not supposed to pick everything up right away.
- I throw myself into that group as well. Sorry for complaints that centered around myself.
- On the flip side, to those newcomers: remember that you're dipping your toes into an established community. It pisses those people off if you start with personal attacks, even on a large group of people rather than a single poster (i.e. "you're all a bunch of whiners/drama queens/fact-twisters/etc"). If you were invited to someone's house for dinner, you wouldn't immediately come in and tell them their seating arrangement was inappropriate, or that their house wasn't clean enough. Come in with an open mind and be respectful of long-time posters. We discuss here. We don't argue.
- With big trades, it seems the same arguments come out. Two I heard this summer and now are as follows: "We don't know what else is out there," and "Let's wait until [time X] to fully judge." To the first phrase: the facts are that the Wizards traded Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson to Dallas for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton. That's it. Everything else is where discussion, evidence, informed opinion, etc comes in, and without that, there's really no point in having a comments section and an online community. I understand what y'all are trying to say with that point, but please be very careful in how you deploy it. If used in a certain way, it comes across as you saying "This discussion is pointless," and that goes against the whole point of this site.
- To the second phrase: one of the points of a blog is that it's a daily log of thoughts. We are allowed to peddle one opinion, then change our minds if new information comes. You may choose not to opine until a certain point, but don't tell others not to do the same. That's fully within their right as fans, and it's in their right to change their minds. One of the tenants of this site is "Keep an open mind as you opine." That means that you should never feel bad about changing your mind if appropriate. Again, be careful saying "wait until time X to judge" because whether you mean to or not, you can come across saying "You cannot change your mind on this." Everyone, including you, is entitled to change their minds without someone else accusing them of flip-flopping.
- Finally, one point that I think got lost, because I merely linked to my previous thoughts on the subject rather than spell it out yesterday: my argument regarding cap room is that the proper move would have been to move Jamison first, even if it was for a package like the one we got from Dallas (e.g. Jamison for Z with no J.J. Hickson), and try to get more value for Butler and/or Haywood (i.e. the opposite of what we're doing). Why? If we're stuck with Jamison, it's a bigger, longer contract. If we're stuck with Butler, we're stuck with a shorter, smaller contract. If we're stuck with Haywood, he leaves and we get more financial flexibility. That point got lost, I think, and I need to restate it again.
This, of course, makes the inability to execute the Fabricio Oberto for the TPE part of the Mavericks deal that was reportedly being discussed maddening. Such a move would have saved the Wizards another $2 million, and it sounds like Dallas was open to doing it. Maybe they insisted on Javaris Crittenton and the league office vetoed that, but even so, it shouldn't have been too hard a sell to get them to take Oberto for their troubles.
Sheridan speculates that this might mean the Wizards will package Mike James in a deal with Antawn Jamison. Combined, they make $18.1 million, so the Wizards could take back $15.5 million and avoid the tax. Here are some other ways, other than moving big-salary pieces to maximize the 125%/100% rule:
- Deal with Memphis: The Grizzlies are $2.8 million under the salary cap, so they could absorb enough to fill the Wizards' needs. They're looking for bench production and will eat into that cap space to do it. One trade that works: Randy Foye ($3.5 million) for Marcus Williams ($825k), with Memphis throwing in one of their three first-round picks (theirs, the Lakers' and the Nuggets) and possibly their second-rounder to the mix. The Wizards cut their tax bill entirely and pick up another first-rounder.
- Deal with Oklahoma City: The Thunder are $2.5 million under the cap, though I can't think of something they need right now.
- Find a team with a trade exception that either a) has breathing room under the luxury tax or b) doesn't care about the tax: The following teams have somewhat significant trade exceptions -- Chicago (two for $1.9 million each), Denver ($3.7 million), Houston ($2.1 million), the Clippers ($3.4 million), the Lakers ($2.5 million), Miami ($4.3 million), New Jersey ($3.7 million), New Orleans ($4 million, but they won't use it), Phoenix ($2 million) and Orlando ($6.9 million). Targeting those teams to move a player like Foye, Nick Young, Oberto or Drew Gooden/James Singleton/Quinton Ross might be a way to clear salary.
This would require some creativity, though, and I wonder whether the current management team possesses that right now.
-The Boston possibility
Speaking of the Celtics, Celtics Blog is all over the map thinking about a potential Jamison/Mike Miller for Ray Allen and a 1st scenario. Sheridan is quoted saying the Wizards would insist on a Mike James for Glen Davis swap to help them avoid the tax, but that's not necessary because Jamison and Miller add up to $21.4 million, compared to $18.8 million for Allen. If no other players are thrown in, the Wizards can avoid the tax.
I'm not sure how much I like this one now, but I will say this: the Wizards should have done that trade first and held the line more for Butler. Making that move would have saved the same amount of money in 2011 and more going forward, as well as given a tangible asset in addition to a salary dump (the pick). Sure, it would have cost us Miller, but Miller could have easily bolted after the season anyway. Regardless, I'd probably still do the deal, though I'd like more picks to be involved. Maybe Boston can throw a 2012 first and a warm body like Bill Walker into the deal.
-Miami? Houston? Milwaukee?
Sources have told Michael Lee that Miami and a "Western Conference team" are in the mix for Jamison. The Western Conference team is likely Houston, if Adrian Wojnarowski is to be believed. I'm not sure why Miami or Houston wants Jamison -- Miami because he cuts deeply into their precious cap room; Houston because they already have two very good power forwards in Luis Scola and Carl Landry -- but who knows? If Miami were to make a move for Jamison, I'd think they'd want to include James Jones (partially-guaranteed past 2010) and Daequan Cook (on a rookie deal past 2010) in the deal to minimize the impact on their 2010 space. Otherwise, I don't see the point for them. Maybe they're worried they don't get anyone in 2010. Houston might be worried about losing Scola in free agency, but they're also closing in on a deal to move Tracy McGrady, so I'm not sure what they'd give up for Jamison.
There's a wild card in the mix too: Milwaukee. Well, at least if Chad Ford is to be believed.
Just months ago, the Bucks appeared to be conducting a fire sale. Now, to the surprise of other teams, Bucks GM John Hammond has been out aggressively looking to move expiring contracts to get back a power forward or a dynamic 2-guard to play alongside Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings.
Milwaukee will have to be patient, because other teams might have better offers to make to Washington, Indiana and Chicago. But if the Bucks are willing to throw their first-round pick into a deal, they might be able to trump other teams. As the deadline approaches, don't be surprised to see Milwaukee scoop up someone.
Here's where I jump off path with Ford: I actually believe Milwaukee's got more to offer than anyone else. They have valuable expiring contracts (Luke Ridnour at $6.5 million and Kurt Thomas at $3.8 million, two vets who bring a professional demeanor that can bridge the gap during rebuilding), some interesting youngsters, particularly Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, two guys better than I expected, and they might have their pick in the mix too. If they really want Jamison, how about this deal?
WIZARDS TRADE: Jamison, Nick Young, Dominic McGuire (in a separate trade for a trade exception MIL has)
BUCKS TRADE: Ridnour, Charlie Bell (on the books until 2012 for basically Stevenson's salary, so not a good deal), Ilyasova (technically a base-year player, though it's not too significant to kill the deal) and the pick (top-10 protected). Milwaukee gets Jamison and cuts a bad player's long-term deal for Nick Young as a price for two good assets (Ilyasova and the pick). For us, we get another possible lottery pick and Ilyasova for Jamison and the right to pick up Bell's cruddy contract. We also save nearly $2 million dollars, bringing us even closer to that luxury-tax line.
I don't see why Milwaukee wants Jamison, and I'm inclined to believe that Ford's overdoing this (i.e. the Bucks probably just had a casual "what would it take to get Jamison" convo with the Wizards), but if they really want him, I'd try to work with them on getting something done. They have some pieces to offer us.