The Washington Wizards today traded out-of-favor shooting guard Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics for injured forward Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa has an ACL injury and is out the rest of the season. The Washington Post reports that the Wizards could receive another player in the deal.
Crawford, 24, has played in 43 games this season for the Wizards, and is averaging 13.2 points and 3.7 assists per game.
Barbosa, 30, is a career 12-point per game scorer, but will miss the remainder of the NBA season due to an ACL injury sustained earlier in February. Barbosa signed a league-minimum $1.2 million contract with the Celtics that expires at the end of the season.
Crawford, on the other hand, is signed through the 2013-14 season for a reported $2.2 million, thus the Wizards have freed themselves of that contract against the salary cap.
Crawford had fallen out of favor with Wizards’ coach Randy Wittman, falling out of the rotation completely and has not played in the last four games at all, sitting at the end of the bench, appearing to sulk while relegated to practice player only.
When asked about Crawford following the Wizards loss to the Raptors Tuesday night, Wittman was terse.
“He’s like any of our other 14 guys, he’s got to stay with it, his opportunity is going to come again,” Wittman said. ”Like any of the guys that doesn’t have the opportunity to play or be in the rotation, gotta be ready because it changes like that … [The long season] is a test of your will and character and I look at those things when you’re building a team and who handles it the right way and who stays in it and stays ready.”
The loss of Crawford really doesn’t mean a whole lot to the current Wizards. He wasn’t playing and when he did, would not adjust to how Wittman wants the Wizards to play. Crawford is good at one thing: jacking shots. He doesn’t care from where, how many, or the consequences. Crawford the player is inconsequential.
The salary cap relief is much more important to the Wizards, if they had anyone capable of using it correctly. GM Ernie Grunfeld seems to be adept at getting other teams to trade for his malcontented talent, but has routinely squandered the cap relief once he’s acquired it.
The Wizards have played close to .500 ball since the return of John Wall to the backcourt. That’s encouraging for the future. But the building blocks for long-term success with the Wizards are few and many wonder if they have the right architect to accomplish anything.