Swapping spare parts: Why Charlotte traded Jason Richardson to Phoenix for Raja Bell and Boris Diaw
On paper, this is a trade. In reality, this is more a swap of those who were no longer needed. After all, Charlotte and Phoenix have new coaches, new philosophies, and, after today, new players. In case you missed it, the Bobcats dealt Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and a second round pick to Phoenix for Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and rookie point guard Sean Singeltary …
On paper, this is a trade. In reality, this is a swap of those who were no longer needed. After all, Charlotte and Phoenix have new coaches, new philosophies, and, after today, new players.
In case you missed it, the Bobcats dealt Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and a second round pick to Phoenix for Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and rookie point guard Sean Singeltary.
Bottom line, this move is really Richardson for Bell and Diaw. All were in need of change, falling out of favour with new bench-bosses Larry Brown and Terry Porter. And all could enjoy success with their new teams.
Why Charlotte Made This Move …
Two summers ago, Bob Johnson, the club’s notoriously thrifty owner, made a fateful error. In trying to show his commitment to the city of Charlotte, 106 & Park hired the wrong man, Michael Jordan, to run his NBA franchise.
This hiring made as much sense as a bank giving someone with no income, assets, or job a home mortgage. Remember, Jordan, the executive, had previously stumbled with the Washington Wizards.
His Airness’ first move was to stock up on big-ticket wings like Matt Carroll (6 years, 24 million dollars), Jason Richardson (7 years, 63 million dollars), and Gerald Wallace (8 years, 56 million dollars). He then used his third overall pick on controversial swing Adam Morrison.
This created a logjam at the 2-3 spot. However, moving Richardson doesn’t create space. Bell is a Coach Brown favourite from their days in Philadelphia, so expect the lockdown defender to get major minutes because ‘he plays the right way’.
Diaw, a multi-position player, could thrive in new surroundings. ‘The Frenchman’ can play the four-spot alongside Emeka Okafor or run the offensive sets as a point forward. But motivation was an issue with the laid-back Mike D’Antoni and Diaw could struggle with the more demanding Brown.
Why Phoenix Made This Move …
The Suns, after dealing Shawn Marion in January, needed more athleticism on the perimeter. Enter Richardson. When not falling in love with the three-point shot, he can effectively attack the basket.
Best of all, GM Steve Kerr only had to give up redundant pieces. Diaw, since capturing the league’s Most Improved Player and signing a luxurious extension, has struggled, while tough guy Matt Barnes was squeezing Bell out of minutes.
This move was also about changing culture. After several years near the top of the Western Conference, Phoenix has clearly fallen back. Worst of all, a negative atmosphere had seeped into the locker room. Clearly, Kerr is hoping ‘J-Rich’ energizes a stale franchise.
My Winner: Even. Phoenix and Charlotte got rid of their extra pieces. And these players could thrive in new surroundings.