Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grunfeld Risks His Career in D.C., Makes Bizarre Trade for Randy Foye

Well, good to know that a whole year without Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood which saw us tie the franchise-worst ever record netted us... Randy Foye. Yeah, totally worth it.

Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld has practically staked his reputation, along with his future in Washington, on this move, which sent the fifth overall draft pick, Darius Songaila, Etan Thomas and Oleksiy Pecherov to Minnesota in exchange for Foye and Mike Miller. My initial reaction to this trade is "not good." Upon further reflection, I suppose the Wizards do need to upgrade on the defensive side, especially on the perimeter. The longer we sit here and say we need to improve defensively and summarily fail to add any defensive-minded players, the stupider we'll be.

However, you cannot tell me that the number five pick, even in a draft as watered down as this one, is only worth Randy Foye. I liked him well enough when he played at Villanova, and I honestly haven't seen enough of him in the pros to make a full assessment of his skill (probably has something to do with the fact that he was in Minnesota). But there were way bigger names being bandied about in these trade talks (Ray Allen, Amar'e Stoudemire) and I personally feel that if all we're getting back is Foye, we would have been better off just using the pick ourselves.

The bottom line, though, is that this strange move could make or break Grunfeld's tenure as Washington's GM. If this works, and Foye provides balance among our guard rotation and Miller adds scoring from the bench (as he brings nothing else to the table), Grunfeld will get to say a hearty I-told-you-so, all the while helping acclimate new coach Flip Saunders by surrounding with just about everyone he could from his former team. But if this trade doesn't work... well that's another story entirely. The only things this guarantees is that draft night will be utterly useless to watch as a Wizards fan and nearly impossible to enjoy, unless the Clippers trade the number one pick for Stephon Marbury.

One final note about the trade is that it sees Etan Thomas' long run with the team end after alomst a decade. On the court, Etan was virtually useless at this point, having missed the better part of the past two years with a heart ailment and a knee injury. In the community, he was a tremendous humanitarian, a poet, and an activist. His service to the D.C. area was invaluable and he was never afraid to speak his mind.

Well, now that any sense of anticipation for tomorrow's draft has been mercilessly sucked out for any Wizards fan, I guess I'll go back to biding my time until the Redskins do something stupid enough for me to rant about.


  1. Still sorting this thing out. Like you said, Foye being in Minnesota means that I'm not sure what he brings to the table (Liked what I heard about his perimeter D, a bit terrified that he shot 40% from the field last year). I actually think Miller could contribute more than you think here, with a reduced role strictly as a bench player with a high percentage shot.

    On the other hand, I'm a bit speechless that we didn't wait until the night of the draft since Rubio has been slipping in several mocks, and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to take it if he was still there at 5. And wouldn't it make more sense to keep Thomas (along with Mike James) until next year's deadline so that we can get max value when teams are scrambling for cap space and then both have expiring 2010 deals?

    The only bright spot for me is that since we have about 30 guards on the roster, I'm assuming this is the first move of several, and hopefully those next moves address our other problems, making this move seem more logical than it does now.

    Then again, I'm a wizards fan so should know better than to have hopes like that.

  2. They simply have to make more moves. They've got no size whatsoever right now beyond Haywood and Jamison.