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Trading Steve Blake is Costly

Steve Blake earns a little more than $1 million this season. But the former Wizard and Maryland standout is clearly worth more than Steve Nash. Huh? You ask. How could a backup point guard with career averages of six points, three assists and 39 percent shooting be worth as much as the two-time league's most valuable player?

Okay, I know this might not even qualify as a ridiculous statement but before you get ready to have me checked into mental institution, let me explain: I'm not talking about basketball here. I'm talking about basketball economics.

Blake got traded today -- for the second time in less than a year - from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Earl Boykins and Julius Hodge. The Nuggets made the deal because they had to get a pass-first point guard -- and under the luxury tax threshold -- after dealing for Allen Iverson last month and the Milwaukee Bucks had to utilize its $4.5 injury player exemption for former Wizard Bobby Simmons by Friday.

Boykins is making $2.95 million and Hodge, $1.2 million, this season. In August, Blake was shipped from Portland to Milwaukee in exchange for Jamaal Magloire, who earns $8.3 million. Add up these deals and the players Blake essentially has been traded for in the past five months will earn $12.45 million. That's almost $2 million more than Nash will earn for the Phoenix Suns this season.

(Of course, Brian Skinner and Ha Seung-Jin were included in that deal between the Bucks and Trail Blazers to even out the salaries, but general manager Larry Harris made it abundantly clear that Blake was the player he most coveted. Skinner starts because the Bucks are running out of players. Ha isn't even in the league.)

So, Blake has got to feel pretty terrible and pretty awesome today. Terrible, because less than two years after leaving Washington -- where he spent the first two years of his career -- Blake is becoming a journeyman, having been shipped twice already. And, terrible, because during a season in which he was averaging career-lows of 3.6 points and 27.9 percent from the floor, he will have to remain a backup in Denver just as an opportunity to start had just presented itself in Milwaukee with Maurice Williams injured (Side note: What exactly are they putting in the cheese in Wisconsin these days? Bucks Coach Terry Stotts seems to lose another player each week. The former Wizard Simmons is out for the year with a heel injury. Charlie Villanueva is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Michael Redd is out at least a month with knee injury. Now Williams is out at least two weeks with a shoulder injury).

Blake should feel pretty awesome when he looks at what he's traded for - a former all-star center in Magloire (whom, despite the wishes of some writers to this blog, the Wizards should stay far away from!), a 5-foot-5 scoring machine in Boykins, who has tormented the Wizards throughout his career, and a former first-round pick in Hodge. Imagine what the Wizards could've gotten for Blake if they traded him instead of letting him walk in the summer of 2005?

By Michael Lee  |  January 11, 2007; 4:41 PM ET
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