Reported three-team swap between Wizards, Suns, Grizzlies falls through


Phoenix Suns forward Trevor Ariza drives past Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the second half on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, in Phoenix. (Matt York/AP)

The Washington Wizards believed they had a trade in place for veteran forward Trevor Ariza as part of a three-team swap with the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies, but then a mistaken name blew the entire transaction up over the course of an hour.

At 10:09 p.m. ET on Friday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that a deal between the three teams was close and that it would involve Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers.

After that, at 10:21, Wojnarowski then reported out that the Grizzlies are sending guards Wayne Seldon Jr. and Dillon Brooks to the Suns, only to then correct himself and say it was actually MarShon Brooks.

And this is where everything gets muddled.

With some help from his ESPN colleague Zach Lowe, Wojnarowski sent word at 10:53 that the deal could be in jeopardy as there was confusion on Phoenix’s side over which Brooks it was receiving from Memphis.

Finally, at 11:06, Wojnarowski delivered the final blow to the deal. It was over.

It seems the hitch in the deal was the fact that the Grizzlies were unwilling to part ways with Canadian guard Dillon, who despite being injured at the moment, looks to be a promising young piece after averaging 11 points per game in his rookie season last season. And the moment where wires really seemed to get crossed was the Wizards believing Dillon was the Brooks in question.

MarShon, for those wondering, is an older veteran player who averaged 20.1 points per game for Memphis last season after being out of the league and playing Europe and China the three seasons prior.

In the end, no one walks away happy, but seeing as the Wizards were acquiring the biggest marquee name in the deal in Ariza they likely feel the most jaded out of everyone.

Had the the trade gone through this would’ve been Ariza’s second stint with the Wizards. The 33-year-old was traded to Washington back in June 2012, and in the two seasons he spent with them he 39.3 per cent from three while playing good defence.

This past off-season Ariza signed a one-year, $15-million contract with the Suns after four seasons with the Houston Rockets. In 26 games played with Phoenix this season Ariza is shooting 37.9 per cent from deep on 5.3 attempts per game.

A classic ‘three-and-D’ player, Ariza’s skillset makes him a highly valued role player and with the Suns sitting dead last in the NBA with only five wins, rumours have been picking up that Phoenix was looking to move him.

There’s a chance Ariza could feel relief that the trade fell through as he would’ve joined a Wizards team in apparent dysfunction and may well be on its way to a teardown with players, including Rivers who was part of the trade, publicly critiquing the poor mood of the locker room.

In his first season with Washington since being traded from the Los Angeles Clippers in the off-season, Rivers is only averaging seven points on 38.6 per cent shooting.

Grizzlies acquisition Oubre, who had only known Washington since having his draft rights traded to the organization on draft night in 2015, is averaging a career-best 13 points per game on 43.3 per cent shooting.

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