As you all know by now, the Celtics acquired Jordan Crawford from the Wizards for Leandro Barbosa, and Jason Collins. The C's needed 2 minimum salary players to come up with enough salary to counteract Crawford's 1.2 million dollar price tag, and allow the trade to work. Therefore the injured Barbosa, and sparingly used Collins made a lot of sense.
However, according to Michael Lee, who covers the Wizards for the Washington Post, the deal originally included Chris Wilcox, not Jason Collins.
Jason Collins wasn't supposed to be in original deal but sources say Chris Wilcox refused to waive his Bird rights & forced BOS to try again
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) February 22, 2013
Wilcox signed with the Celtics as a free agent, and is in his 2nd season with the team, therefore granting him 'early-bird rights', and the right to reject any trade. Here's a quick write up on Early Bird Rights (named after Larry Bird of course).
For players, having Bird Rights means a lot more flexibility in contract negotiations -- in most cases, players stand to make much more money re-signing with their own teams, rather than leaving in free agency.
Restricted free agents who sign one-year contracts get veto power over trades because being traded would mean the loss of their Bird Rights.
In this case, Wilcox utilizing his Early Bird's had nothing to do with making more money (he was a minimum salary player this year, and surely will be again next year), but instead a preference to play the rest of this season playing games that matter for Boston, rather than games that don't for Washington.
There is also the fact that Wilcox currently holds the not-so-glamarous title of 'Most regular season games played by an active player without ever appearing in the playoffs', a title that would certainly remain intact had Wilcox agreed to the trade (unless of course he was waived by Washington, and then signed elsewhere). Instead, Wilcox exercised a right that he had earned under the CBA, and the Celtics turned to their other fungible big man - Jason Collins. Why not Fab Melo, you ask? Two potential reasons.
1. The Celtics are still digging the 'Fab Melo Project', and have seen enough out of him in Maine to think that he'll eventually amount to something. Therefore when Washington asked him to be thrown in, they said no.
2. Or..The Celts tried to include Melo, but Washington was so not into the 'Fab Melo Experiment' (so what I like coming up with nicknames about the Fab Melo era - sue me), that they passed on Melo, and his $1.3 million dollar price tag for next season, instead opting for Wilcox/Collins, who both expire after this year.
At the end of the day, whatever the reasons, Collins is gone, while Wilcox and Melo are here. Personally I was surprised to read that the Celtics would have rather parted ways with Wilcox than Collins. After all #44 has at least shown the ability to run the floor, and crash the boards effectively - things not exactly in J-Collins repertoire. But the C's apparently valued Collins 'defensive abilities', and size, over Wilcox's speed and athleticism.
It will be somewhat interesting to see if everything's peachy between Wilcox and the organization, as it's always awkward to go back to a company that basically tried to transfer you to the WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD. But I'm sure Wilcox prefers the awkwardness of returning to the C's, to the awfulness of playing for the Wizards.
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Grading the Crawford - Barbosa trade Mike Dyer 2/21/2013 10:36:00 PM Tweet