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Haywood a goner? Not so fast

It seemed like it wasn't a question of if Brendan Haywood would be traded, but when.  He's come about as close as you can to demanding a trade without explicitly saying so.  

But before we write his obituary, consider that Ernie Grunfeld remains a Haywood backer.  Grunfeld reportedly approached Eddie Jordan before Game 2 and "encouraged" that Eddie use Haywood more.  The word "encouraged" could mean a million different things, but it's not everyday that a general manager tries to tell a coach what to do with his team.  

In his chat yesterday, Ivan Carter summed everything up.  

A divide clearly exists between Ernie and Eddie's perceptions of Brendan Haywood. Ernie sees a 27-year old 7-footer with a very, very, very reasonable contract who works hard, takes care of his body, has good shot-blocking skills and has helped his team reach the playoffs three straight years.

Eddie sees a 7-footer who too often coasts through games neither effectively scoring or rebounding, a guy who gets shoved under the basket too easily by big centers, a guy who fights with a teammate, pouts when he comes out and basically quit on his team late last season, saying he had a back injury as he missed several key games on a west coast trip as the team was fighting for its playoff life.

That's what you have.

It's your classic case of performance versus price.  Ernie has a point that Haywood's pretty inexpensive and reasonably effective, but Eddie has a point too, especially with regard to the chemistry issues.  

In the past, I've been on Ernie's side, but I now think Haywood has to go, especially considering that Eddie will definitely be back.  The relationship between coach and player is clearly beyond repair, especially if you believe Brendan's sources from yesterday.  Ernie needs to find a way to get value for Haywood, before the situation gets even worse.  

But just because it's what Ernie should do (and that's debatable even on it's own) isn't what he automatically will do.  It's not a foregone conclusion that Haywood will be gone from next year's team.