There's really nothing bad to say about the Ronny Turiaf trade, and that's pretty much all that needs to be said about it. General manager Ernie Grunfeld was able to acquire a useful piece for absolutely nothing without doing anything to harm the team's long-term financial flexibility. That's pretty much the story here. This is why you save cap space as a rebuilding team. This is how you secure helpful pieces without being wedded to them for several years.*
What are the Wizards getting in Turiaf? Truth About It has a pretty good rundown of what to expect. He's been described by many as an "energy player," which I think puts him down a little more than it should. Truth be told, he's a much better defensive player than people realize. As Kyle notes, his teams have always been better defensively with him on the court than with him off (obvious caveat being: he played for two really bad defensive teams in Golden State and New York). He slides his feet well and will be especially good as a pick-and-roll and helpside defender. That's exactly what this team needs. He's pretty limited offensively, but he'll finish around the rim and won't do anything he's not supposed to do.
The downsides to Turiaf are his rebounding and durability. Turiaf's career rebounding percentage is just 11.9 percent, which is pretty woeful for a big man. He flies around the court so much that he struggles to get in proper position. That's a tradeoff I think we're going to have to live with as Wizards fans. Durability-wise, he's missed 58 games over the past two seasons. Again, this is because he's kind of flying all over the court.
The other obvious plus is that he's a great chemistry guy, at least from the outside. He reminds me a lot of James Singleton in that he's goofy, but is able to get serious too. In this respect, he'll hopefully be one of those elusive crossover guys in the locker room, able to relate to the silliness of the young players while passing along enough wisdom from the veterans. That's just my impression from the outside though ... tough to tell for sure until you see it.
Ultimately, he's a backup with strengths and weaknesses. Playing him less accentuates his strengths; playing him more exposes his weaknesses. Ideally, he's a backup that plays 17-20 minutes a game and is there to change the energy of a game. Anything more and it means something went wrong with JaVale McGee's development.
You get what you pay for here, and the Wizards paid nothing. Expecting a huge, huge difference from Turiaf is expecting too much.
But for absolutely nothing, the Wizards will ultimately get something, and that's the bottom line. Nice job, Ernie.
*=I may be in the minority here, but I will say I'd rather just find a good vet (cough Chuck Hayes cough) and give him a multi-year contract than constantly recycle them year-to-year. Better for team chemistry, I say. But this is the strategy the Wizards have taken, and in that respect, this trade fits it well.