- The Washington Times - Friday, July 15, 2005

Kwame Brown’s controversial career with the Washington Wizards came to an end late Wednesday night when the team agreed in principle to send him to the Los Angeles Lakers for Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins.

Although neither team is permitted to comment on the deal until a moratorium on trades and free-agent signings is lifted July 22, a league source with knowledge of the negotiations said the trade is set. Brown, a restricted free agent, is believed to be prepared to sign a two-year deal worth between $6 million and $7 million annually. The Lakers will have an option for a third year.

“Kwame will be leaving Washington with some bittersweet memories,” said Brown’s agent, Arn Tellem. “Our intentions are to sign with the Wizards and then be traded to Los Angeles as soon as we are permitted.”

Butler, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound swingman who was the No. 10 pick in the 2002 draft after two seasons at Connecticut, is a capable player who could help fill the void created by guard Larry Hughes’ decision to sign with Cleveland. However, this deal is as much about the departure of Brown, who no doubt will be regarded as the biggest bust in franchise history.

The first high school player taken with the NBA Draft’s top pick, Brown often was the subject of brow beatings from Michael Jordan and coach Doug Collins during a lackluster rookie season. He averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 2001-02. Those numbers improved to 7.4 and 5.3, respectively, in his second season..

A breakout season seemed imminent last year after Brown upped his averages to 10.9 points and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds in 2003-04. However, Brown suffered a broken right foot in a pickup game before the start of training camp and never got completely healthy, appearing in just 42 regular season games. Brown’s scoring dipped to 7.0 and his rebounds fell to 4.9 as the Wizards reached the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

But while his play was never better than mediocre — save for some bright moments in the second half of his third season — Brown drew more attention to himself with other failings.

Brown appeared in just three playoffs games last season before he was suspended for missing a practice and Game 4 of the first-round series against Chicago. At the time, the Wizards said a stomach virus caused Brown’s absence. Later, it was learned Brown had not been excused from either the practice or Game 4.

Earlier in the season, Brown received a one-game suspension when he did not join his teammates during a huddle.

In Jordan’s final season (2002-03) with the Wizards, Brown cursed Collins in Phoenix following a blowout loss to the Suns.

In August 2003, Brown was arrested in Georgia for driving under the influence after failing a roadside sobriety test at 3 a.m. In April 2002, Brown was charged with driving 120 mph in a 60 mph construction zone in Georgia.

Last season, Butler averaged 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Lakers. He began his career with Miami, but was sent to the Lakers last summer as part of a package for Shaquille O’Neal.

Atkins, 30, started all 82 games at point guard in his only season with the Lakers, his fourth team since joining the NBA in 1999-2000. He averaged 13.6 points and 4.4 assists. Both players are in the final year of their contracts.

Note — Wizards assistant coaches Phil Hubbard and Tom Young received two-year contract extensions earlier this week.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide