Anyone else remember what may have been my favorite Saturday Night Live skit in the 1990s, the Bad Idea Jeans commercial? It was a knock off of a Dockers commercial, with just quick shots of guys pants while you overhear their conversation, but for Bad Idea jeans they said things like, “Normally I wear protection, but then I thought, “When am I gonna make it back to Haiti?”
That brings us to the ongoing NBA rumor mill, where ESPN’s Chad Ford and numerous other national media have the Lakers trading Caron Butler and another part (Slava?) to Washington for a sign-and-trade with Kwame Brown. Count me in the group saying that if this goes down, it will be as if Mitch was wearing Bad Idea Jeans.
Kwame is all potential but has shown none of that so far. Last season the Wizards were 8.2 points better per 48 minutes with him OFF the court, mostly because he was weak offensively. The problem is the 6-11 power forward took 58% of his shots outside of 15 feet and shot just 32.8% on those. When he was closer to the basket, he shot 64%, and he drew fouls on 18% of his shots, making you wonder why he strayed so far from the lane so often. Defensively he is average against power forwards, his opponents PER was 14.4 and opponents shot 45.4% against him, all of which would be a step up for the Lakers. His rebounding, however, is unimpressive, a rebound rate of 12.8% (of available rebounds while he was on the floor) and 13.8% for his career, not great numbers for a power forward.
I’m not opposed to giving Kwame a shot with the Lakers, it’s just that Caron Butler would be too high a price. Butler had a PER of 16.10 (compared to 10.6 for Brown), and averaged 17.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per 40 minutes played. Those are solid numbers, proven numbers at the NBA level that likely will only get better considering Caron’s age. While Brown is all potential, Butler is a proven commodity.
Butler may be the Lakers most tradable asset, but because of that and his perceived trade value (which may be higher than his actual worth), the Lakers need to get more than just potential for him. They need to get something proven. Brown is not that. The Lakers front office is denying this trade is in the works, let’s hope that is the case, because it’s a bad idea.