Mike Bibby, we hardly knew you. The veteran point guard reached a surprising buyout agreement with the Wizards and is taking what's left of his talents to South Beach to join up with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat in the pursuit of happiness and championships.
In two games with the Wizards, Bibby played all of 29 minutes. In that time, he attempted nine field goals. To honor his contributions to the franchise, I'll offer one thought on this situation for each of those valiant shot attempts.
DISCLAIMER: Bibby only actually made one of his nine attempts. As this is an ode to Agent Double Zero's tenure in Washington, I too cannot guarantee that this column will be more than 11 percent successful.
1. First, let's put the narrative to rest that Mike Bibby is a hero. He sacrificed his entire 2011-12 salary, more than $6 million, to join a contender. This has aligned him with the core value of wins over money, a choice that sports fans reflexively celebrate. I agree with Mike Prada, who explained to me that it was a stand-up act because Bibby put his money where his mouth was. It's true -- the more common scenario features a player like Rip Hamilton, who would love to flee Detroit, but wouldn't dream of giving up any significant chunk of the $12.5 million he's owed annually through 2012-23 (salary according to ShamSports). But it's not like Bibby's a saint. He wanted to play on a good team, so he did. Bibby's act was refreshing, but it wasn't heroic.
2. At least one player could not believe what Bibby did. Cue Atlanta Hawk ex-teammate and current Wizard Mo Evans via The Examiner's Craig Stouffer:
"I don't even know if I can speak on that," Evans said. "As a guy who's come from undrafted to scratching, fighting and clawing to earn contracts, I can't even imagine having a contract that big in this league. So for a guy to give it back, I'm like, 'Bib, you could've given it to me. I'd play for it.'" Allow me to say, "Me too."
3. Financially, this is a gift for the Wizards. As Michael Lee of The Washington Post put it, Washington was essentially able to turn Bibby into an ever-valuable expiring contract (read his full story for more financial details). This was unexpected, but it fits neatly into GM Ernie Grunfeld's general plan, which seems to be acquiring young, cheap talent and clearing the books in the process. The move improves the Wizards financial flexibility next season. Now, that particular asset is only useful if it is used, and used well.
4. Let's be clear about this: John Wall's development is not going to suffer from this move. Sure, there is the opportunity to learn from example, but Bibby was not going to mentor the Wizards franchise point guard. And he clearly was not interested in playing 20 minutes a game as a backup on a lottery-bound team. His agent, David Falk, said as much to Lee.
"This is what he wanted to do. In his 13th year, he feels he's too old to be a on team that's not headed to the playoffs and too young to be a mentor."
If Wall ever needs to take cues from anyone, there are still veterans in the locker room like Rashard Lewis and Evans. Besides, Wall has been mature and professional since he arrived in D.C.
5. More minutes! If the Wizards want to develop their young talent, these guys will have to play. At the very least, it gives the front office a chance to evaluate players against NBA competition. These minutes could pay dividends down the line, and shelling out the rotation minutes for Bibby served no part of the rebuilding process. For more on the impact of playing time on player development, check out this piece from Prada at Bullets Forever.
7. Here are all two of his game logs via Basketball Reference. Ah, yes -- that's 8:1 assist-to-turnover ration. Never forget. (Click to enlarge.)
8. Wikipedia has chosen to memorialize Bibby's time in Washington with the following. Again, Never forget.
On February 23, 2011, Bibby was traded to the Washington Wizards, along with Jordan Crawford and Maurice Evans, in exchange for Kirk Hinrich, Hilton Armstrong, and a draft pick. On February 28, 2011, Bibby agreed to a contract buyout in which he gave up his following year's $6.2 million salary and was released by the Wizards. He played two games for the team.
9. Finally, we weren't the only ones who wanted to relive Bibby's glorious stop in Washington. Hats off to Comcast SportsNet: