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Wizards swing three-way deal

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Washington Wizards finalized a three-team trade that brings seven-year veteran point guard Mike James and second-year combo guard Javaris Crittenton to the District.

The Wizards are shipping point guard Antonio Daniels to the New Orleans Hornets. And, Memphis will receive the conditional first-round draft pick it gave to Washington as part of last year's Juan Carlos Navarro trade. Memphis is sending a second-round pick to New Orleans.

To make room on the roster, the Wizards released second-year point guard Dee Brown, who had signed only a partially guaranteed deal this past summer.

"This trade strengthens and energizes our backcourt by giving us a veteran guard in Mike James who can help us immediately with his stability and scoring ability and a young guard in Javaris Crittenton who can help us now and in the future with his athleticism," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement released by the team. "We're excited to welcome both players to Washington, but we're also appreciative of what Antonio did for this team during his three-plus years here and we wish him the best."

For James, a seventh-year veteran with career averages of 10.6 points and 3.6 assists, Washington will be his 10th stop and the ninth NBA team he has played for (twice he played for Houston). In 2005-06 he had a career season, averaging 20.3 points and 5.8 assists for Toronto. He also played with the Detroit Pistons to close the 2003-04 season, when they won the NBA championship.

Crittenton, meanwhile, will be playing for his third NBA team before he celebrates his 21st birthday (which is Dec. 31). He left Georgia Tech after just one college season, and the Los Angeles Lakers selected him with the 19th pick in the first round of the 2007 Draft - just three picks after Washington selected Nick Young out of USC. The Lakers dealt him later that season - along with Kwame Brown, Aaron McKie, Marc Gasol and two first round picks - to the Grizzlies for Pau Gasol and a second round selection.

In seven games this season for the 6-15 Grizzlies, Crittenton averaged 6.3 minutes and 2.7 points; no one on the active roster had played less than the second-year guard. He was stuck in a bit of a logjam in the backcourt, especially with the arrival of rookie O.J. Mayo. Brown, the player Washington released, averaged more than twice as many minutes and played in 17 games - starting 11 - but contributed similar scoring numbers.