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Wizards Acquire Yi Jianlian

Wizards Acquire Yi Jianlian

In their continued effort to use their cap space as a garage for their competitors’ bad contracts, the Wizards agreed to a deal that would send disappointing New Jersey Nets forward Yi Jianlian to Washington in exchange for forward Quinton Ross.

The Nets are also sending $3 million to cover most of the $4.1 million Jianlian is owed this upcoming season. Ross was set to make $1.1 million. The trade for Jianlian comes less than a week after the Wizards agreed to take guard Kirk Hinrich and two years and $17 million left on his contract from the Bulls. The Jianlian trade is yet another head scratcher. After all, the Wizards spent three draft picks on big men in last week’s draft and already have guys like Andray Blatche(who will miss three months with a broken foot) and JaVale McGee.

“We’ve got a player who’s had success in the NBA and at the same time is only 22 years old,” said Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld. “I think we’re concerned about our own situation, and this fits in with our plan of adding young players, players that can be part of a core going forward.”

Translation: We have no shot at signing Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire. It’s interesting to me that Grunfeld would consider Jianlian someone who has “had success in the NBA”. Where exactly, Ernie? It took Yi a year to get shipped out of Milwaukee after moping throughout his rookie season because he wasn’t in a bigger market and then he was sub-par at best with the Nets. He averaged 12 and 7(both career highs)  last year but only played 51 games. For his career, Jianlian is averaging 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. HE’S your answer at power forward? You didn’t want to at least TRY to sign Amare or Boozer first?

“We made a decision that we’re going to save some of our powder for the future and try to right now put a core of young players together that can grow and we can build with, and that is the reason that we do have those opportunities right now. ” Grunfeld continued.

No, Ernie, you have these opportunities because other teams that actually want to contend are looking for someone to take their bad contracts so they can use their cap space on….wait for it…..PROVEN free agents and they know you’re stupid enough to take those bad deals off their hands. Whatever “powder”  you think you’re saving up, you must have been snorting it when you decided to pull the trigger on a deal for a colossal bust like Yi Jianlian. Jianlian is a outside shooting forward. He can’t defend and he doesn’t spend enough time in the paint to be a factor on the glass. Yet, he’s the guy you want to help build around. This is the biggest free agent class in recent memory. Teams like the Knicks and Nets have spent the last two years shredding salary so they can have a spending spree this summer. The Wizards had $20 million of cap space. So far, they’ve used part of that on three severely-lacking rookie big men, an overpaid combo guard and a 34% three-point shooter now playing for his third team in three years. Good job, Ernie.

Whether Washington had a decent shot at Boozer or Stoudemire is unknown, but you can’t build up expectations by drafting a cornerstone point guard like John Wall  and then surround him with half-rate talent like Jianlian and Hinrich. The whole reason for exiling guys like Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison was that, theoretically, the Wizards were going to make a splash in free agency. Now, they only have one card to play: Trading Gilbert Arenas(which sources say can and will happen, but you never know with Grunfeld calling the shots). If Grunfeld can turn Arenas into maybe Rudy Gay from Memphis or a David Lee/Wilson Chandler package, then he can consider himself exonerated for all past criticisms.

However, trades like the one Grunfeld made today, does not give me(nor should it give Wizards fans) any hope that Ernie can turn a decent trading chip like Arenas into something worthwhile.

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In response to “Wizards Acquire Yi Jianlian”

  1. blogNBA Jun 29 201011:33 pm


    Ernie Grunfield has made the right moves. Your ideas are a bit misguided. You are not looking at the big picture. The Wizards will not compete this year or next.

    First, if they sign Rudy Gay or David Lee, there record will just get bloated. As it stands now, they will be in the lottery.

    Also, Ernie only needs to hit on a few of these young players. He can get rid the rest in a couple of years.

    In no other year would teams dump quality players for free and Ernie is taking advantage. They got the 17th pick and cash for free.

    Captain Kirk is just there for veteran leadership for the team and John Wall. His expiring contract in two years will be very valuable. Teams will want an expiring contract along with a veteran who can help right now.

    Yi – is a 22 year old 7 footer, the 6th overall pick in 2007. He has not hit his ceiling and shows flashes of a solid NBA player. Forget the avgs. There are moments when Yi looks like he will break out only to be slowed by an injury.

    Blatche when healthy is a solid big.

    I suspect Ernie is looking at 2 rebuilding years where he will stockpile young talent.

    The trade that will look bad for Ernie is trading Ricky Rubio for Mike Miller who will leave in FA and Randy Foye who will also leave.

  2. Dave Leonardis Jun 30 201012:31 am


    This is a win-now league. Grunfeld doesn’t have two years to rebuild and hope to keep his job. The reason Flip Saunders was brought in last year was because the team thought, with Antawn, Caron and Gilbert, that this team could contend. They didn’t. So they blew the team up.

    Kirk Hinrich is a decent guard, but he’s overpaid and his contract only has value if the Wiz get something decent for it. So we’ll see with that. As it stands, they are paying $17 million for a decent trade chip.

    As for getting the 17th pick for free, that would be great in a better draft. This draft was mediocre. He could have flipped that pick into a pick next year(like OKC did with Eric Bledsoe a pick later) but instead they reached for a French big man who couldn’t even dominate in France.

    As for the guys they have, they need to hit now. Blatche, Yi, McGee, Seraphin, Booker, N’Diaye, there needs to be strong flashes immediately. Flip Saunders is a playoff-tested coach. He’s not a babysitter. This team drafted John Wall, a franchise point guard. If you put a proven star or two around him(which Washington had the money to do) and are able to get rid of Arenas, you can make this team a playoff contender TODAY.

    The “big picture” for Ernie Grunfeld is, if the team doesn’t show promise soon, he’ll be looking for a job by this time next year. Guys like Steve Kerr and Kevin Pritchard would love a chance to get back into an NBA front office and Grunfeld is giving them every oppurtunity.

    1. blogNBA Jul 2 201012:32 am


      “This team drafted John Wall, a franchise point guard. If you put a proven star or two around him(which Washington had the money to do)”
      Who would sign with the wizards? Lebron, Wade, Bosh – Amare, Dirk never

      David Lee ??
      Joe Johnson -??
      Rudy Gay??
      – All who will be overpaid stars. Good but not great and any teams that have one, will want to rid themselves of the contract. once the season starts.

      “and are able to get rid of Arenas, ”
      Get rid of him for what, another teams trash. Nobody want’s him and he’s an injury risk.

      “you can make this team a playoff contender TODAY. “Another bandied approach. Just good enough to get into the playoffs, but not win a championship.

      Please see Wes Unseld and Micheal Jordan.

      Look at the Thunder. They draft Durant and Green. Then stink again and draft Westbrook. – Great young team.

      Look a the Cavs: Draft lebron and surround him with solid vets and no great players which equals NO Championships and possible to a team that did it right like Chicago or New Jersey.

      1. Gabriel Rodriguez Jul 2 20105:29 am


        blogNBA – Your argument is basically saying that to win a championship you need to draft a core of young players and have them gel to become a great team. You use OKC as an example.

        How many rings have the Thunder won???

        Look at the last few teams to win the NBA title. L.A. has Kobe, brings in Gasol two years ago, brings in Artest this year. Boston had Paul Pierce, brought in Garnett and Ray Allen. The Pistons of the mid-2000′s brought in four of their starting five. The only starter they drafted was Tayshaun Prince.

        Building a good young team through the draft is cute idea, but no one has time for it anymore. New coaches and GM’s are hired to turn teams around, and do it quickly.

  3. Dave Leonardis Jul 2 20105:56 pm


    Look at the Clippers. They pick in the lottery every year and they STILL suck. Rebuilding through the draft is smart strategy because you can get good talent for half the price of a big free agent.

    Here’s the catch: You have to have a GM who’s a good drafter. You mentioned OKC, they have Sam Presti. Presti lucked out by having Durant fall to him than hit on Green and Westbrook. How is Nick Young working out for the Wizards? How about JaVale McGee or Andray Blatche? Are those guys All-Stars? Look at what Grunfeld did at 17, he took a French center who is YEARS away from being NBA-ready. You mentioned LeBron as well. The Cavs surrounded him with vets because they were terrible in the draft. Luke Jackson? DaSagana Diop? Please.

    To me, it’s insulting to the fans when you say “We’ve got $20 mil in cap space in the deepest FA class in recent memory, but you know what? The money stays here. We’ll instead take other teams’ young busts and hope they work for us. Oh, and by the way, ticket prices will stay the same, so enjoy paying 50 bucks to sit in the nosebleeds and watch a 20-win team.”

    Now, would Amare or any of the big guys come to DC? Probably not, but at least make the effort. At least show fans you’re TRYING to do something after purging the roster last season. As for Arenas, let’s not kid ourselves. Gilbert Arenas isn’t on the trading block because he can’t play. He’s there because he’s a knucklehead. If the Knicks strike out on “The Big Six”, don’t think they won’t make a run at Gilbert. Let’s not make it seem like a team as dumb as the Knicks won’t offer up David Lee and Eddy Curry’s expiring deal for Arenas. No contract is untradeable. If Stephon Marbury could get moved, so can Agent Zero.

  4. blogNBA Jul 3 201010:46 am


    Alright rookies, here we go

    “Look at the last few teams to win the NBA title. L.A. has Kobe, brings in Gasol two years ago, brings in Artest this year.”
    Kobe would not have won any championships without Gasol. Memphis gave up Gasol for FREE. Marc Gasol, Jarvis Crintenton, Kwame brown and a late first rounder were traded for Gasol. Where were the wizards then? ie the lakers are an example where a team gets lucky. Oh and it does not hurt that they drafted (via trade with hornets) one of the greatest players of all time. I guess, the Lakers should have gone seasoned vet route like your are suggesting instead of taking a chance on a young 18 year old Kobe in the DRAFT. ie by your logic they should have stuck with Vlade Divac.

    “Boston had Paul Pierce, brought in Garnett and Ray Allen.”
    Boston is a much better example. They drafted Joe Johnson, Chauncey Billups. But instead of building around them, they traded them for seasoned vets. How did that turn out? It would be 20 years before they made it back to the finals. And how did they bring in Garnet???? They traded assets that they received in the draft to get him. Ditto for Ray Allen. Allen, Garnet and Pierce are elite players.

    ” The Pistons of the mid-2000’s brought in four of their starting five. The only starter they drafted was Tayshaun Prince” – No arguments, I will give you the Pistons. They ar e an example of a team built on the fly with proven vets and shrewd moves.

    “Look at the Clippers. They pick in the lottery every year and they STILL suck. Rebuilding through the draft is smart strategy because you can get good talent for half the price of a big free agent.”

    The clipper’s can’t draft. I mean besides their current team ( which is prettty good on paper when everyone is healthy), they have not had a superstar player. Lamar Odom and Danny Manning were the best. Even Elton Brand tried to leave twice I believe.

    “Here’s the catch: You have to have a GM who’s a good drafter.” – That is true. If the GM stinks at drafting, then they must pursue other avenues.

    Here’s the blueprint that generally works in Today’s NBA. There are some exceptions like Detroit.

    1) Try to get a few solid players through the draft
    preferably a franchise player

    2) use assets acquired through draft to get franchise player, if you were unable to draft one.

    3)clear cap room and sign some stud free agent
    via Free agency or a salary dump.

    recent examples of this: Celtics, Lakers, Magic, Spurs,

    exceptions: Pistons.

    The Bulls are trying to do this:

    draft: Derek Rose, Jakim Noah, Deng
    traded: a drafted player Heinrick for cap space
    FA: Trying for stud free agent.

    Remember, your goal is trying to WIN an NBA championship and NOT to be competitive every year.
    (Been there done that.)
    And how do you do win championships, you do it by drafting, signing for or trading for elite talent.

    John Wall is an elite talent. If it was Lebron James, Wade or even Bosh who would be coming to Washington, then the Wizards have a viable shot winning a ring. If they sign a free agent now, then they would have no Cap room to sign an elite talent when John Wall is ready to ascend.
    To get someone like Lebron to come to DC, the wizards would need one more great player from the draft. Imagine if the wizards had not only Wall, but Stephan Curry or Brandon Jennings as well.

    As far as Ernie Grunfeld’s drafting eye, I am not supporting that argument. I can tell from the post’s above that you think, he sucks. And he might well stink.

    However, I think his plan is solid and proven. Now whether he can draft or not is another story of which I can not support or ridicule.

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