Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
The Washington Wizards, who have had a rough start to the season, decided to stay true to their draft picks when an opportunity to trade for James Harden presented itself.
The Washington Post has reported that Wizards owner Ted Leonsis nixed a trade that would have sent James Harden to the Wizards in exchange for Bradley Beal (19 year old 3rd pick of last summer's draft) and Chris Singleton. If the Wizards had traded for Harden they would have been foolish not to offer him the same max contract extension that the Rockets gave the up and coming shooting guard. Such a contract would have meant spending quite a few extra dollars for Ted Leonsis:
The Wizards, who before the trade proposal came up had acquired three expensive veteran players, also likely would have been subject to an NBA luxury tax penalty for having a total payroll over the prescribed threshold if they had signed Harden.
Bradley Beal was supposed to be the complementary player that gave John Wall a definitive option on the perimeter but so far this season his 11.9 points per game on 35.9% shooting have been a bit underwhelming. Chris Singleton is a second year small forward and has his place on the defensive end behind an ailing Trevor Ariza. Both players could pan out to be the kind of players the Wizards want to surround their franchise point guard John Wall with but neither is likely to reach Harden's level of production. Rockets fans: if you ever happen to run into Ted Leonsis, be sure to give him a pat on the back.
The Wizards have made a valiant effort to purge their roster of knuckleheads and bring in high-character guys like Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, and Nene but I think they jumped the gun by bringing in such a lofty financial burden. Whether the Wizards passed up on James Harden was for financial reasons or big picture team construct reasons I feel like the Wizards have missed a huge opportunity.
Read more at Bullets Forever.