The Top 10 Head Scratchers of the 2009 NBA Offseason

The NBA offseason is by no means over, but the lion’s share is behind us, so it’s a good time to take a look back at a few of the…um…let’s say “questionable” decisions of the summer. Here are my Top 10, in no particular order. Feel free to add to the list if I missed something.

1. Trevor Ariza plays spiteful hardball…and loses.
Let’s get this straight — the Lakers offered Ariza the same deal he was getting on the open market, and he refused since the Lakers could have offered more, but didn’t? Um, okay. David Lee (the agent, not the Knicks forward) says that Ariza wanted to go somewhere where he’d be “appreciated.” Lee overestimated the market for his client, and the Lakers quickly moved on to acquire Ron Artest. Now instead of playing for the world champs, Ariza is stuck in Houston on a team that faces a very uncertain future. Lee now says that Ariza turned down a deal worth $9 million more, but still picked Houston. It sounds to me like he’s just trying to save face.

2. Grizzlies acquire Zach Randolph.
Once the Clippers traded for Randolph (and his toxic contract) last season, I thought the bar for NBA general managers had hit a new low thanks to Mike Dunleavy and his wily ways. But Dunleavy proved that he wasn’t the dumbest GM in the league when he convinced the Memphis Grizzlies to take on the final two years Randolph’s contract at the tune of $33.3 million. Remember that $25 million or so of cap space that the Grizzlies were going to have next summer? Yeah, that’s down to about $8 million with this brilliant move. Just when it looked like Chris Wallace was going to rehab his image after the Pau Gasol trade — Marc Gasol panning out, trading for O.J. Mayo — he goes and does this. Sigh.

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Grizzlies trade Crittenton to the Wizards

Loaded with point guards, the Memphis Grizzlies decided to trade one away, according to reports.

The Wizards will receive New Orleans’ Mike James and Memphis’ Javaris Crittenton in the exchange, with the Hornets acquiring Washington’s Antonio Daniels and the Grizzlies coming away with a future first-round pick. New Orleans also received a conditional second-round pick from Memphis.

The pick is a conditional first-rounder that Memphis had sent to Washington in the trade to acquire Spanish guard Juan Carlos Navarro in the 2007 offseason. Navarro returned to club power FC Barcelona in his native country this season.

This looks like a good deal for both the Wizards and the Grizzlies. The first round pick was originally the Grizzlies’; here are the details:

Washington receives a 2009 Memphis first-round pick. (protected) top 16 in 2009, top 14 from 2010-12 and top 12 in 2013. (Juan Carlos Navarro trade 081607).

So instead of hoping for the Grizzlies to finish outside the top 12-16 over the next five years, the Wizards decided to exchange that pick for a point guard prospect (Crittenton), who is most famous for being a part of the trade that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers.

It’s a good trade for the Grizzlies as well because they no longer have that first round pick hanging over their heads. It probably wouldn’t have mattered for the next couple of seasons, but if the Grizzlies were to turn into a playoff contender, they would lose that first round pick once they finished outside the top 12-16 picks in the draft, depending on the year.

However, if Crittenton turns out to be a player, Chris Wallace will have some more egg on his face.

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