A proposed multi-team NBA trade centered around veteran forward Trevor Ariza fell apart on the verge of completion Friday night due to confusion over which of two players with the same last name would be involved in the swap.
The trade had to be reconfigured early Saturday as a straight two-team deal, completing a bizarre 15-hour news cycle: The Washington Wizards -- a floundering team in need of reinforcements -- acquired Ariza from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for young guards Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers, according to ESPN.
The originally reported three-team deal was set to send Ariza from the Suns to the Wizards and Oubre from the Wizards to the Memphis Grizzlies. In addition, the Suns would have received Rivers from the Wizards and two role players from the Grizzlies, plus some minor draft picks being exchanged.
But which two Grizzlies role players?
One was Wayne Selden, that much was clear. But that's where it got interesting, or hilarious, or downright inept, depending on your point of view:
That's right. The Grizzlies thought they were trading MarShon Brooks (a 29-year-old journeyman averaging 7.1 points per game), and Grizzlies reporters were hearing MarShon from their sources. The Suns thought they were receiving Dillon Brooks (a 22-year-old second-year pro averaging 6.8 points per game), and Suns reporters were hearing Dillon from their sources.
ESPN reported the Grizzlies and Suns never communicated directly, using the Wizards as a go-between. Hence the disastrous game of telephone.
NBA players got a laugh out of the snafu:
Memphis GM Chris Wallace later said: "We were floored to learn of the reports involving Dillon Brooks in the reported trade. We never discussed Dillon as part of this trade with Washington – which was the only team we spoke with concerning this proposed deal.”
The Wizards, in a disappointing 11th place in the Eastern Conference, eventually were able to secure Ariza over multiple other suitors, including the Los Angeles Lakers, who were known to be interested.