The deal that would have sent Trevor Ariza to Washington and dropped Austin Rivers in Phoenix to start opposite Devin Booker died after confusion between the Grizzlies and Suns, who reportedly did not communicate directly in negotiations.
After days of rumors surrounding the Lakers, Rockets and who knows how many other teams, in fact it was Washington that lined up to take in Ariza, a player who helped lead them to the first playoff appearance of John Wall’s career in 2014. Washington’s malaise overlapped with the Suns’, just not in the way any of us would have guessed.
The Grizzlies jumped in on the trade to facilitate by taking in Kelly Oubre Jr. from the Wizards and send two reserve guards to Phoenix. The problem was WHICH reserve guards.
For about 15 minutes, reports from Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro and The Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington — two longtime insiders — were at odds. Memphis would send former Kansas standout Wayne Selden to Phoenix in the deal, but Gambadoro reported the second player to be DILLON Brooks, whereas Herrington had MARSHON. The two writers presumably got their information from the teams they cover, which proved to mean the teams themselves were mixed up.
Moments later, ESPN reported the trade was “in jeopardy” and then “in peril” due to the Brooks miscommunication between the Suns and Grizzlies.
Deal's suddenly in peril. Memphis and Phoenix didn't communicate directly on trade, using Washington as a conduit in coordinating the 3-team deal, sources tell @ZachLowe_NBA and me. Grizzlies believe they were trading MarShon, but somehow Suns believed it was Dillon.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 15, 2018
Another report from David Aldridge of The Athletic stated Suns owner Robert Sarver stepped in to nix discussions with the Lakers earlier in the week. Perhaps this mess could have been avoided after all.
For now, the deal is dead.
However, a trade centered around Ariza for Rivers and one of Washington’s smaller pieces (either Thomas Bryant or rookie first-rounder Troy Brown) still would from a salary perspective. The Suns and Wizards could work something smaller or find a different third team so that Washington can unload Oubre.