The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly eyeing to trade for sharpshooting All-Star Caron Butler in the hopes of forming their version of a Big 3 with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Beal.
The Wizards have not spoken about the issue nor have they stated in the past that Beal is available in the market. However, Beal is one of the highest-paid players in the league and the Wizards are one of the worst teams in the NBA. Beal’s backcourt partner John Wall is expected to return next season but there have been rumors of the team breaking up the duo next season after they have failed to take the Wizards to the next level.
To gauge Washington’s willingness to trade a superstar, let’s take a look at the biggest traded in the history of the Washington Wizards franchise. The Wizards are a franchise that has not been shy in trading their best players, even if sometimes things didn’t work in their favor.
Elvin Hayes for Jack Marin
The Baltimore Bullets acquired Elvin Hayes from the Houston Rockets for Jack Marin in the summer of 1972.
Hayes teamed up with Wes Unseld in Baltimore to form one of the most intimidating frontlines in NBA history. Hayes averaged 18.4 rebounds per game in 1974, the third-highest since Wilt Chamberlain retired. He and Unseld led the Bullets to three appearances in the NBA Finals, winning the title in 1978. That championship stands as the only one in franchise history and it makes this trade as the biggest in the history of the organization.
Hayes was a 12-time All-Star and a six-time All-NBA Team member. His jersey #11 was retired by Washington and he was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2006. Hayes averaged 21.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per game in nine seasons with the Bullets.
Moses Malone for Cliff T. Robinson and Jeff Ruland
In 1986, the Washington Bullets orchestrated a big trade that brought three-time NBA MVP Moses Malone, Terry Catledge, and two first-round picks from the Philadelphia 76ers for Cliff Robinson and Jeff Ruland.
Malone was already past his prime when he arrived in Washington but despite being in the twilight of his career, he still averaged 22.2 points per game in two seasons with the Bullets and was named as NBA All-Star in both seasons. Malone ranked 9th in the NBA in both scoring and rebounding during his first season in Washington and recorded 55 double-doubles during his final season with the Bullets.
Catledge played three seasons with the Bullets and he averaged 11.4 points per game in Washington. Meanwhile, one of the drafts picks became Harvey Grant ( Horace’s twin brother ) who eventually became a starter for Washington.
Mitch Richmond for Chris Webber
The third-biggest trade in Washington Wizards history happened after the 1998 season when the team sent then-25-year old superstar Chris Webber to the Sacramento Kings for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe.
Webber was the #1 pick in the 1993 NBA Draft and he was traded to Washington after winning 1994 Rookie of the Year honors in Golden State. Webber was the leading scorer in each of his four seasons with the Wizards and he made his first All-Star appearance there.
This was a trade that didn’t go the Wizards’ way because Webber was still on the way up while Richmond and Thorpe were already in their 30s. Webber would go on to help Sacramento become a contender in the West while Richmond saw his scoring average fall below 20 points in each of his three seasons with the Wizards. Thorpe played in just one season in D.C.
Chris Webber for Tom Gugliotta
Although the Mitch Richmond trade panned out, the trade that brought Chris Webber to Washington in 1994 turned out to be a gem. In that deal, the Wizards sent Tom Gugliotta and three first-round picks to Golden State for Webber’s rights.
Gugliotta had a disappointing one season in Golden State while the draft picks eventually became Tod Fuller, Vince Carter, and Chris Mihm. Carter was traded for Antawn Jamison who didn’t become a star in Golden State.
On the other hand, Webber would become Washington’s best player and was the star of the franchise’s 90s teams. He would average 21.9 points and 9.7 rebounds in four seasons in D.C., leading the team to one playoff appearance where they were ousted by Michael Jordan’s Bulls.
Rashard Lewis for Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas was a nice free-agent find for the Washington Wizards. After winning the Most Improved Player award in 2003, Arenas became a three-time All-Star in Washington. Agent Zero became one of the league’s biggest stars and top scorers, even leading the league in scoring in 2006.
However, controversy and a declining production led the Wizards to trade him in 2010. Finding a trade partner was difficult because of Arenas’ huge contract. But they eventually found a dancing partner in the Orlando Magic who also wanted to unload a bad contract in Rashard Lewis.
Both players were former All-Stars and were already past their best years when this trade happened. But The Wizards gave up their best player to save the organization from a collapse. Lewis never lived up to his salary but Arenas’ departure paved the way for the arrival of John Wall who is now the team’s superstar.
Harvey Grant and Rod Strickland for Rasheed Wallace
The Wizards selected Rasheed Wallace with the 4th overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft but after making the All-Rookie second team during his maiden season, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for Harvey Grant and Rod Strickland.
This was another big trade that didn’t work the Wizards’ way as Wallace would go on to become a force in Portland while helping the team make the playoffs in all of his eight seasons with the Blazers. Wallace helped the team make two appearances in the Conference Finals.
On the other hand, Grant was in his second tour of duty with Washington and it didn’t rejuvenate his career. He lasted only three seasons in the Nation’s Capital. Meanwhile, Rod Strickland played five seasons with the Wizards and he put up 15.5 points and 8.9 assists per game in Washington but the Wizards made the playoffs only once during his term.
Jerry Stackhouse for Richard Hamilton
Richard Hamilton was coming off his first 20-point season in the NBA when the Washington Wizards decided to ship him along with Hubert Davis and Bobby Simmons for Jerry Stackhouse, Brian Cardinal, and Ratko Varda in 2002. This trade ended up benefiting the Pistons more than the Wizards.
Stackhouse average 21.5 points per game in his first year with the Wizards and became the only teammate of Michael Jordan to ever average 20 points per game while playing an entire year with MJ. However, knee injuries slowed him down and his production decreased every year after that.
On the other hand, Hamilton would blossom into a star in Detroit. He would help the Pistons make six straight appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals. Detroit would make two appearances in the NBA Finals, winning the title once in 2004 when they upset an All-Star laden Los Angeles Lakers team led by Kobe, Shaq, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton.
Antawn Jamison for Jerry Stackhouse and Christian Laettner
The Wizards didn’t hold on to the injury-prone Stackhouse for too long, trading him after two seasons. The team decided to trade Stackhouse, Christian Laettner, and the #5 pick of the 2004 draft to the Dallas Mavericks for Antawn Jamison.
The 5th pick turned out to be Devin Harris who had three stints with the Dallas Mavericks in a 15-year NBA career. Stackhouse and Laettner were never really difference makers and they were already past their primes when they left D.C. so this wasn’t a big loss for Washington.
On the other hand, Jamison joined Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler in a new era for the Wizards. Jamison averaged 20.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in six seasons with Washington. He helped the team make the playoffs four times before he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010.
Caron Butler for Kwame Brown
Kwame Brown was one of the most disappointing #1 overall picks in the NBA draft and one of the few top picks selected straight out of high school. Brown was a flop after the Wizards picked him first overall in 2001 and after Washington finally had it with him, they sent him to the Lakers in 2005 for Caron Butler.
Brown continued to struggle in Los Angeles and he would end up as a journeyman. In that trade, Washington also sent Laron Profit to the Lakers but he played just one season with the Purple and Gold, which turned out to be his last in the NBA.
Butler would become one of the key players during four playoff runs in five seasons with the Wizards. Butler joined Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison to form a “Big Three” that would be disbanded in 2010 when Butler was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Butler won his only NBA title with Dallas in 2011.