Updated 11:38 p.m.
Steez has left the building.
In a move anticipated over recent days, the Wizards have traded disgruntled guard Jordan Crawford. The recipient of the talented but often frustrating scoring guard, the Celtics. Boston shipped two players on expiring contracts -- injured guard Leandro Barbosa and journeyman center Jason Collins -- back to Washington in advance of Thursday's 3 p.m. NBA trading deadline.
The move for nominal assets emphasizes the Wizards desire to unload the third-year guard once considered part of the team's rebuilding efforts. Crawford, who averaged 13.2 points, 3.7 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in 43 games this season with 12 starts, is signed through the 2013-14 season for a reported $2.2 million.
"Jordan did not fit into our current plans... or our future plans," Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said at the Verizon Center following the trade. "At this time, we thought it was within the best interest of everyone if we made this trade.
"It will be a good situation for Jordan. He might get an opportunity to go to a better team and help them and it will allow us to continue on the path that we’re trying to build in the locker room, with work ethic and team play, where everybody is on the same page and wanting to play for the same reasons. Being unselfish offensively and playing good aggressive defense."
The 24-year-old went from being Washington's leading scorer for much of the trying season to falling out of the rotation. Crawford minutes decreased over the last 20 games and he did not play in the last four games including Tuesday's home loss to Toronto.
Grunfeld said many discussions with different teams and that the deal with the playoff-contending Celtics came together at the last minute.
"There are a lot of conversations and there always is, but this was the best option presented to us."
Asked if the Wizards third-leading scorer demanded a trade, Grunfeld said, "We’ve had conversations. He was not happy with his role and his diminished minutes...his actions and the way he has been, he hasn’t been the happiest person, but he’s a good player and we wish him luck in his new situation."
When injuries beset the team earlier in the season, Wizards coach Randy Wittman relied on the confident scorer for production. However, Crawford's ball-dominant ways often slowed any collective offensive flow. It often appeared he was the only who realized it. Crawford led Washington in scoring 17 times, but the team lost 12 of those games. When he started, the Wizards owned a 1-11 record.
Once John Wall rejoined the lineup and with rookie Bradley Beal developing into a consistent offensive performer, the coach had other backcourt options.
Before Wall's return from a knee injury, Crawford averaged 15.6 points and 29.8 minutes. Since then, 6.9 points and 16.9 minutes.
The return of Wall certainly bolstered the Wizards offense and overall record. By the numbers, sitting Crawford did as well.
Since Wall returned on January 12, the Wizards sport a 10-9 record. In that span, the record was 7-3 in games Crawford played less than six minutes if at all.
On the season, Washington averaged 86.4 points, 19.3 assists and shot 40.7 percent from the field with Crawford on the court. With him off the court, 92.8 points, 23.0 assists with a 44.3 field goal percentage.
"Over the last 20 games or so our team has started to come together our chemistry has been real good," Grunfeld said. "Our defensive intensity has improved. We're one of the best defensive teams during that stretch. We're moving the basketball on the offensive end. We're hoping we can continue on that."
This is the second trade deadline deal of Crawford's three-year career. Drafted by Atlanta with the 27th pick in the 2010 draft, Washington acquired the former Xavier product in a deal that shipped Kirk Hinrich to the Hawks.
The 30-year-old Barbosa, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07, is out for the season after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament earlier this month. Signed by the Celtics this past offseason to a one-year veteran minimum salary of $1.2 million, Barbosa's contract expires after this season, meaning he likely will never play a game as a member of the Wizards.
The 7-foot Collins, who is also playing on an $1.35 million expiring contract according to HoopsHype.com, averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 32 games this season. The wide-bodied big man has been a deep reserve for the bulk of his 11-year career with five teams and picked up more fouls than points in six of his last seven seasons. Grunfeld, who said he does not anticipate buying out the remainder of Collins' contract, described the 34-year-old as a "real pro, a "good influence" for the roster's younger players.
"Moving forward, this gives us flexibility in the future," Grunfeld said. "Gives us another roster spot. Saves us some money next year, to be able to get some other players we’re looking at, and maybe build on what we’re trying to build. Not only on the floor but off the floor in the locker room."
Catch an interview with Grunfeld, courtesy of Monumental Sports Network, on the trade below.