The Washington Wizards have become a perennial bottom-feeder in the Association over the last few seasons and to shake things up, the franchise has gone through some pretty big changes so far in this campaign. The first move they made; firing former head coach Flip Saunders and replacing him with interim coach Randy Wittman had little effect on the squad, so on Thursday the team traded away a quarter of their roster. The “Washington Post” reports that the Wizards were involved in a three-team trade just before the Thursday 3:00 pm EST trade deadline with the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers in which the club traded away two talented young players as well as a veteran big man.
Washington sent center JaVale McGee and veteran big man Ronny Turiaf to the Nuggets in exchange for Denver’s veteran center Nene, as well as shipping guard Nick Young to the Clippers for forward Brian Cook and a future second round draft pick. Young and McGee were both members of the team’s starting rotation; however they never lived up to the Wizards brain-trust’s expectations.
When Washington Team President Ernie Grunfeld was asked why he pulled the trigger on the deal he told reporters “I think it’s a combination of things. We want to have guys that are competitive, that care about winning and losing. It has nothing to do personally with the two players. It has more to do with getting a player (Nene) that does come from a winning situation and is competitive and is a good defender and a good passer and a good all-around player.”
The 29-year-old native of Brazil is playing in his tenth season in the Association; all with Denver and is averaging 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest this season. Injuries have held him to playing in just 28 games so far in this campaign.