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Every single reason why the Chris Webber - Mitch Richmond trade was awful

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Any Washington Wizards fan can tell you trading Chris Webber to Sacramento for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe was terrible for a number of reasons. Thing is, because it's so hard to talk about the Webber trade for an extended time without turning into Anger from Inside Out, it's been hard to find a place that listed every reason the trade was terrible in one place.

Here is our best attempt at trying to remedy that situation:

  • When asked about the ramifications of trading Chris Webber to Sacramento, Wizards' GM Wes Unseld said "I don't think we've gotten any worse." The Wizards went 42-40 (.512 winning percentage) in 1998, Webber's last season in Washington. They went 18-32 (.360 winning percentage) the following season and didn't make the playoffs again until 2005.
  • Chris Webber was 25 years old when he played his first game as a King. Mitch Richmond was 33 years old when he played his first game as a Wizard.
  • Chris Webber made four All-Star appearances with Sacramento. Mitch Richmond never made it back to the All-Star Game after he was traded to the Wizards.
  • Chris Webber had 45.5 win shares in seven seasons with the Kings. Mitch Richmond had 10.1 in three seasons with the Wizards. Otis Thorpe had 3.7 in the 49 games he played in Washington. If you're keeping score at home, that's a 31.7 win share swing in one transaction.
  • When the Wizards traded Chris Webber, they still had two picks left they had to convey to Golden State from the trade that brought him to Washington in the first place. So as Mitch Richmond began to decline, the Wizards couldn't even start planning for life after Richmond because Golden State had Washington's 1998 and 2000 first round picks.
  • A year after trading for Mitch Richmond, the Wizards signed him to a 4 year, $40 million deal which made the 34-year-old the highest paid shooting guard in the NBA at the time. He made more than Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, and Reggie Miller. Keep in mind when this happened the Wizards had also just drafted Richard Hamilton with the seventh overall pick in 1999 draft.
  • In news that may not surprise you, the Wizards paid $10 million to buy out the last two seasons of that contract in 2001.
  • Speaking of bad contracts, one of the key factors in the Chris Webber trade was Juwan Howard's contract. At the end of the 1998 season, it was clear the Wizards needed to find a way to split up the duo, not only because they were both better suited as power forwards, but also because they were both listed in a sexual assault complaint. The case was eventually closed, and neither player was prosecuted, but by then Webber was already in Sacramento. So why didn't the Wizards trade Howard instead of Webber? Because Juwan was only one year into the 7 year, $105 million deal he signed with the Wizards. Webber's contract was simply more movable when it became clear they needed to trade someone.
  • To summarize those last three bullet points: The Wizards chose to commit to paying Juwan Howard and Mitch Richmond $155 million rather than ride out the $33 million still left on Chris Webber's contract.
  • In an era dominated by the Bullets/Wizards trading young prospects for washed up veterans, this one took the cake, which is impressive, considering the franchise found a way to trade Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, and Richard Hamilton before they became stars.
  • Let's not forget about the other weird thing that contributed to the Chris Webber trade: Billy Crystal. The Wizards just missed the playoffs with Webber in 1998, after making the playoffs the year before. Certainly, part of the reason for the dropoff was the absence of Gheorghe Muresan, who missed the entire 1997-98 season after getting injured while filming his part in the film "My Giant" with Crystal. If Muresan doesn't get injured, it's safe to say the Wizards probably find a way to win the two extra games they would have need to get past the Nets and Knicks for the seventh seed, if not more. Perhaps a repeat playoff run would have been enough to convince Washington to keep the team's core together. Maybe it wouldn't have, but we'll never know because the team's starting center got hurt filming a movie where he played a character named Max Zamphirescu.
There have been worse trades in NBA history, especially ones where teams have given up draft picks that have gone on to blossom into NBA legends. But in terms of deals involving players who were known commodities in the NBA, it would be hard to find many deals worse than this one.