A night before the NBA's February 24th trade deadline, the Washington Wizards trade Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong to the Atlanta Hawks for Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford and a 2011 first round pick.
Hinrich and Armstrong traveled with the Wizards to the Wells Fargo Center for tonight's 117-94 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers but neither dressed as they were informed of a possible trade. The two joined their team on the bench for the first half but did not return to the floor for the second half of play.
Team owner Ted Leonsis and General Manager Ernie Grunfield's maintained their plan to build with draft picks and young players with this trade. Ironically Hinrich arrived to the Wizards through a similar deal last summer, along with the number 17 overall pick which they used on Kevin Seraphin. The Wizards now have multiple picks in the first round of the 2011 draft, as well as Jordan Crawford who was a the 27th overall pick in 2010.
Lets take a looks at the contracts joining and leaving the Wizards
As the second highest player (formerly) on the Wizards roster Hinrich was scheduled to make 9 million this season and 8 million in 2011-12; Hilton Armstrong is on a one-year 900-thousand dollar contract. Mike Bibby is making 5.6 million with 6.2 set for the following season. Maurice Evans has one year remaining on his contract at 2.5 million.
Jordan Crawford, who is signed through the 2014-2015 season, makes a million each of the next two seasons. After that his current team will have the option to pick up his contract which escalates to 2 million for 2012-13, 2013-14 then rises again to 3 million for his final year.
Essentially the Wizards save about a million this season and less than 700 thousand for 2011-12.
Potential impact on the team?
The Hawks will probably have a greater short-term impact by acquiring Hinrich, who at this point in his career is an upgrade to an aged Bibby. With teams like Miami and New York making personnel moves in order to move into the Eastern Confrence's upper-tier, Atlanta felt it must upgrade it's point guard position in order to have a chance during the playoffs.
Mike Bibby will provide the Wizards' point-guards something they've lacked all season, the ability to shoot the three. Bibby is averaging over 44 percent from beyond the arc and will hopefully be able to pass along some tips to rookie John Wall who's only converting on 30 percent from three.
In Maurice Williams the Wizards get some much needed toughness on the perimeter. Though Nick Young is having a breakout year in terms of scoring with 17.5 points per game, his defense has been widely inconsistant. Evans is known as a defensive stopper and will be called upon to guard opposing team's top wing player.
Many forget that Jordan Crawford along with Clippers SG Eric Gordon went to Indiana University as very highly touted prospects. After fallout from controversey surrounding then coach Kelvin Sampson, Gordon left for the draft and Crawford transfered to Xavier. People may also forget that back in 2009, Crawford was the infamous player who dunked on LeBron James during his own skills camp; prompting Nike officials to confiscate video's of the incident.
Averaging 20.5 points per game, Crawford led Xavier to the an A-10 title and Sweet-16 birth during the NCAA Tournament. He was voted to the A-10 first team and was the confrence player of the year. Despite being one of college basketball's elite scorers, his draft stock fell because of his inability to excel in other facets of his game. He was labeled as a tweener or a combo guard, but didn't necessarily average a high number of assists (2.9) despite the fact that he was often double-teamed.
Crawford provides the Wizards with another young gaurd who can relieve John Wall for spot duty but also play along-side of him. Though he is not known for his play off the ball, Crawford has excellent range on his shot. If Crawford can prove that he won't unesissarily over dribble like he did in college, and instead carve out a niche for himself on the defensive, the Wizards may have a valuable contributor for the future.
The First Round Pick
On their way to another high lottery selection, the Wizards will have a few options at the top of the draft chart. This extra selection provides the team flexibility in terms of another player they can select or possibly a trade with players and/or more picks.
Last year the Hawks picked 24th in the draft. They beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round before being swept by the Orlando Magic. Assuming they they have a pick within the same vicinity, collegiate player of the year candidates Kyle Singler or Kemba Walker are examples of guys who may not be ready to start in the NBA but will certainly be able to provide support in key roles off the bench.
The Wizards may also opt to package this extra selection with their first pick in order to move up a chose a player they covet. Options are always a good thing to have, especially in the draft.
Trade Grades: Wizards- B, Hawks- C+
Though the true value of a trade in many cases cannot be gauged for a few seasons, but those are the grades from my initial reaction.
I gave the Hawks C+ because they did upgrade a position of need, even if it was only slightly. They probably would have sold their first round selection so they won't miss it. Evans was a solid role player for them but it shouldn't be too difficult to get others to cover his defensive duties. Jordan Crawford had only appeared in 12 games this season.
Again, the Wizards stuck to the plan by acquiring extra draft picks while also getting some extra help for this season. It is my opinion that the Wizards are a better team after this trade which hopefully can help swing some momentum in their favor as they play the final 27 games of this season.