Well that didn’t take long.
After bumbling through their last attempt at a trade, the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards were able to complete a deal on Saturday that sends Trevor Ariza back to the east in exchange for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers. The trade presumably went more smoothly this time around because none of the players involved could possibly be confused for one another.
Both front offices likely believe they made out pretty well with this deal. Phoenix gets two young players to add to their already youthful core, while Washington gets a three-and-D wing whose veteran presence can revitalize a sub-standard squad given that his last stint with the team was pretty successful. But things aren’t exactly that simple. Rivers has spent most of this season as dead weight coming off the bench for the Wizards, and Oubre hasn’t been progressing at the rate the team hoped he would. The Suns don’t give either player a chance to flourish on their squad. If anything, the flaws of both players will only be exacerbated because of how putrid that team has been this season.
With all of that said, it almost seems like the Wizards actually came on top in this trade. Sure, they lost two young players, but at least Ariza has proven to be a competent starter on a playoff team or two, right? But once again, it’s not that simple. Coming off an impressive contract year in with Washington in 2014, Ariza elected to go to Houston in a sign-and-trade even though that franchise gave him the same contract that Washington offered him. That happened for a reason. The Wizards are also so deeply committed to being dysfunctional that there’s no reason to believe a 33-year-old who spent two seasons with the team four years ago is going to fix anything at all in the locker room, let alone on the court. To top it all off, they gave away a player that still has potential (Oubre) for a veteran with an expiring deal—a move that would make the Brooklyn Nets of a couple seasons ago proud.
In truth, this trade really represents two desperate teams who happened to find each other at the right time and were willing to settle with what the other offered. But, hey, at least they got it done.