According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling rejected a trade for Trevor Ariza of the Washington Wizards. The reported deal would have seen Caron Butler end up with the Wizards.
By declining the trade, the Clippers made a terrible mistake by not trading for Ariza.
The deal was in place until Sterling turned it down this past Thursday. This came against the wishes of the Clippers staff.
The long-term future played a major role in this decision.
The Clips stood pat, but not by their basketball people's choice...sources indicated that Clippers owner Donald Sterling nixed the deal Thursday morning, not wanting to gamble on the team's chemistry being affected in any way down the stretch.
Understandable, but still the wrong move.
Trading Butler would have damaged the Clippers' impenetrable locker room bond. With that being said, it would have been a significant basketball upgrade.
That's far from a slight on Butler—it's simply a basketball reason.
Butler Said Yes
Per David Aldridge's previously alluded to report, the Los Angeles Clippers had a deal in place to acquire Trevor Ariza. This would have sent Caron Butler to a much worse team, but that's not quite as bad as it seems.
Butler would have welcomed the trade.
L.A. and Washington had a done deal Wednesday night that would have sent forward Trevor Ariza to the Clippers in exchange for Caron Butler...Butler, who still has an offseason home in the D.C. area...didn't have a problem returning to a non-Arenas Wizards locker room...
So why not execute the deal?
Butler's departure would not have come with quite the uproar that Donald Sterling may have expected. In fact, Butler would have accepted the deal with open arms.
Upon completing the trade, the Clippers would have significantly improved their perimeter.
Athletic Perimeter Defender
The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the league's elite defensive units. They rank fourth in scoring defense and fifth in opponent field-goal percentage.
Unfortunately, the Clippers are also 23rd in opponent three-point field-goal percentage—a direct result of their current perimeter makeup.
LAC lacks the length and athleticism along the perimeter to defend three-point shooting wings. This could be an especially devastating disadvantage should the Clippers run into Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While Trevor Ariza may not be an elite defender, he's a high-quality athlete with exceptional length—you know, their most significant defensive needs.