“Jordan did not fit into our current plans . . . or our future plans,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said during a news conference to announce the trade. “At this time, we thought it was in the best interest of everyone if we make this trade. It will be a good situation for Jordan. He might get an opportunity to go to a better team and help them and it will allow us to continue on the path that we’re trying to build in the locker room, with work ethic and team play, where everybody is on the same page and wanting to play for the same reasons. Being unselfish offensively and playing good, aggressive defense.”
Grunfeld said the deal came together at “the last minute,” as it became evident that Crawford wanted a bigger role with the team, and was agreed upon nearly an hour before the NBA’s 3 p.m. deadline. The trade ended a roughly two-year relationship with a player whose questionable shot selection, colorful personality and occasionally hilarious quotes helped him establish somewhat of a cult following among Wizards fans.
Crawford was the Wizards’ third-leading scorer this season, averaging 13.2 points and 3.7 assists, but had recently fallen out of the rotation and did not appear in any of the past four games. He was serenaded with chants during the third quarter of the Wizards’ last home game, a 96-88 loss on Tuesday to the Toronto Raptors in which he slouched over and wrapped a towel over his head on the bench. After the game, Crawford tossed his jersey and shooting shirt into the stands with disgust before heading to the locker room.
“He never came in and said” he wanted a trade, Grunfeld said, “but his actions and the way he has been, he hasn’t been the happiest person, but he’s a good player and we wish him luck in his new situation.”
The Wizards (15-37) aggressively shopped Crawford, looking to acquire a draft pick in return, but the third-year shooting guard didn’t attract much interest despite leading or tying the Wizards in scoring in 17 games. Washington also spoke to the Dallas Mavericks about a possible deal but focused on Boston because the Celtics had an obvious need.
According to a league source, the Celtics offered Fab Melo, a 7-foot rookie from Brazil who has appeared in just four games. The Wizards, though, had no interest in taking back salary beyond this season, especially for a big man who remains a project.
They opted for the financial savings of two expiring contracts instead. By moving Crawford for the expiring deals of Barbosa and Collins, the Wizards save $2.2 million for next season, the last of Crawford’s rookie deal. In turn, the Wizards could use the money to possibly retain swingman Martell Webster, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.