Nene's presence in Washington starts a new era: Knucklehead-Free.
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Well, Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld may have saved his job with Thursday's blockbuster trade.
JaVale McGee and Nick Young have been causing the organization migraines for years. Re-signing the pair of 2012 free agents had become obsolete as the season progressed. I would have applauded Grunfeld for gaining anything in return for Young and McGee. Obtaining a cornerstone center has exceeded my expectations.
You aren't a fan of the trade? How?
I'd take an experienced veteran who may get injured from time-to-time over two punks who aren't affected by losing. Thursday the Wizards informed the entire league they want to be taken seriously again. The clowning around, dunking festival, basketball era is ending in Washington.
If you are a Washington Wizards fan, you have to be elated by this trade because...
A) I pointed this out in December: Nene will help attract free agents
I think Ted Leonsis finally realized this. Who the hell was he going to lure to Washington? What was the selling point outside of John Wall? Jan Vesely? Chris Singleton? The Wizards youth is great to have, but you can't build a franchise entirely around it.
Nene does come with a five-year $67 million contract, a hefty price. But the Wizards should still have around $12-13 million to play with this summer, even after the NBA draft according to Bullets Forever.
Surrounding John Wall and Nene with outside shooting will become the priority for the franchise. There are some solid restricted free agent scorers who would fit the bill -- Nicolas Batum, Ryan Anderson, Jodie Meeks, Landry Fields, Brandon Rush and Rudy Fernandez. With Nene now in the fold, it will be hard for these free agents to completely ignore a bid from Washington.
B) The subtraction of McGee and Young will lure in better coaching candidates
Before this trade, somebody like Kentucky's John Calipari or recently departed coaches such as Mike D'Antoni (Knicks) or Nate McMillan (Blazers) would have been a stretch. Why would those coaches want to enter one of the most toxic atmosphere's in all of sports?
Now, the Wizards have already answered some question marks surrounding their roster of the future. They have the center and point guard position figured out until 2016. Interviewing "sexy" coaches just got a whole lot easier.
C) Nene at his best is a borderline all-star and at his worst is nowhere near as bad as McGee
The Wizards weren't going to re-sign McGee. So who could they have replaced him with? Exactly. Nobody via free agency. Nene is clearly a better option than Brook Lopez (restricted) or Greg Oden. The team could've prayed and hoped for the number one pick and Anthony Davis, but that wasn't going to cut it.
I will openly admit that Nene's game has taken a dip this season. He normally is among the league leaders in field goal percentage and this season his average his dipped 11 points, down 50.9. I'm not ready to write off the Brazilian yet.
In fact, the only true center's in the NBA I would take over Nene: Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Marc Gasol, Greg Monroe, Tyson Chandler, Al Horford and Al Jefferson.
Yup. I'll take Nene over Andrew Bogut, Roy Hibbert or even Marcin Gortat. And of course JaVale McGee.
D) Jordan Crawford gets a chance to spread his wings for 25 games
Losing Nick Young should relive a bunch of pressure off of the Wizards shooting guard. It will give him increased playing time and responsibilities. This isn't a huge part of the trade, but it will be nice to see how Crawford performs over a large stretch of games without Young breathing down his neck.