A Breakdown of Today's Three-Way NBA Trade

December 10, 2008

A three-team deal occurred today, with the New Orleans Hornets, Washington Wizards, and Memphis Grizzlies exchanging picks and point guards.

The Wizards sent Antonio Daniels to New Orleans, and returned a first round draft choice to Memphis that they had previously received in the Juan Carlos Navarro deal. They also waived former Illinois point guard Dee Brown.

The Grizzlies traded Javaris Crittenton to the Wizards, and sent a conditional second round draft choice to New Orleans.

The Hornets sent Mike James to the Wizards.


Antonio Daniels is a solid veteran lead guard. Although not an exceptional creator, he will obey Byron Scott’s orders by getting the Hornets into their sets. In addition, he has a solid outside stroke from three-point range, and thus, should burn opponents when they double David West down low.

More importantly, he has above-average height for a point guard, and can occasionally defend 2’s. This will allow Scott to play Chris Paul and Daniels simultaneously should the need arise.

The loss of the offensively-minded James should not hurt the Hornets because he already was in Scott’s doghouse. James had been racking up DNP-CD’s all season, as Scott often let 2-guard Devin Brown play out of position as Paul’s backup.

By bringing in Daniels, the Hornets have received a quality backup for CP3. Daniels has a true pass-first mentality, and will not turn the ball over for the few minutes that he plays. The second round pick is an added bonus.


Javaris Crittenton is a talented, but raw prospect. He has great size for a point guard, yet is athletic enough to break down smaller players and get into the lane.

When he was with the Lakers, Tex Winter raved about his ability, partly because he quickly grasped the triangle offense having played in that system during high school. Still, Crittenton is a work in progress both defensively and with his decision-making. In the long term, he could be a future starter or a valuable trading piece.

Mike James can provide an immediate infusion of backcourt offense. Unlike the steady, but unspectacular Daniels, James has a gunner’s mentality and is a streaky shooter from deep. When he gets it going he can be dangerous. The key with James will be how well he can blend with Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler. James needs to know that Butler and Jamison are options 1 and 2. Therefore, James cannot look for his own offense at their expense.

The acquisition of James reveals much about Washington’s front-office thinking. First, it shows that the organization is trying to reach the playoffs this year. With Gilbert Arenas on the mend, and a collection of talented, but inconsistent youngsters in Nick Young, Andray Blatche, and Javale McGee, the Wizards felt a more reliable third scorer was needed to compete THIS SEASON. Clearly, management has not written off this year yet.

Second, it shows the Wizards have legitimate concerns about Agent Zero’s knee. He is looking at a January return date at best, but even this timetable is in doubt. When he does return, who knows how effective he will be? James provides them immediate insurance, while Crittenton gives them long-term insurance.


GM Chris Wallace took a lot of heat for the Pau Gasol deal, but that trade has not been nearly as one-sided as advertised. Because of that deal, the Grizzlies now have: 1) added cap room from the departure of Kwame Brown, 2) a promising banger in Marc Gasol, 3) a decent tweener forward prospect in Darrell Arthur, and 4) a lottery pick via today’s trade of Crittenton, who they originally received in the Pau trade.

The loss of Crittenton will not impact the Grizzlies because they already were glutted with young point guards. Former first-rounders Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry are 1-2 on the depth chart at the position, and have been in a running battle to become the starter. Veteran Marco Jaric also was in the wings, and had been in the rotation fairly regularly. Meanwhile, rookie star O.J. Mayo has been playing primarily at the 2, but he too is a former college point guard capable of playing minutes at the position. All this left young Crittenton squeezed out and racking up DNP-CD’s night after night.

Most important, Memphis received back its first round pick from the Juan Carlos Navarro deal. Since Memphis most likely is lottery-bound for the next couple of seasons, this pick should bring in an elite prospect.

The loss of their second round pick also should not hurt the franchise because it is a conditional pick.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald

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