The Los Angeles Clippers were looking ahead to the playoffs and thought they could use a perimeter player with length and a defensive mindset.
So they set up a deal with the Washington Wizards that would have swapped Caron Butler for Trevor Ariza, according to David Aldridge at NBA.com. But the deal got shot down at the highest levels.
L.A. and Washington had a done deal Wednesday night that would have sent forward Trevor Ariza to the Clippers in exchange for Caron Butler, giving L.A. a long, defensive-oriented body to throw at the likes of Kevin Durant in the playoffs. (Butler, who still has an offseason home in the D.C. area, and who was loved by the locals, didn’t have a problem returning to a non-Arenas Wizards locker room. He’d have been welcomed back as a much-needed offensive option, according to sources.)
But sources indicated that Clippers owner Donald Sterling nixed the deal Thursday morning, not wanting to gamble on the team’s chemistry being affected in any way down the stretch.
Ariza is a better defender than Butler, no doubt. But his impact on Durant would be minimal at best, it takes team defense to slow him down and that is where the Clippers have been inconsistent. All that said, Donald Sterling overruling his basketball people on basketball decisions is not a good thing. Never has been, we just thought the trend had stopped.
This trade doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, at least not from the Wizards perspective. Ben Standig does a great job of pointing all this out at CSNWashington.com — the Wizards actually spend a little more money to get Butler (that includes next season) when they want to trim salary and keep Martell Webster. Plus this doesn’t solve their issue of a glut at the three.
Would he have been welcomed by the Wizards’ fan base? Absolutely. Would Butler’s addition have made the Wizards a better team? Eh, not sure about that, at least not this season if at all. Ariza can frustrate observers with his erratic play, but he’s formed a decent offense-defense combo with Webster while generating points on his own including 16 and 18 respectively in weekend wins over Denver and Houston.
But apparently it wasn’t Washington that wanted out of the deal.