That Jared Dudley won't join his new teammates until the 2015-16 already has started isn't that big of a deal for the veteran. That he had to have back surgery to repair a herniated disk, however, is somewhat concerning.
Point: Martell Webster had a lower back procedure last summer kept him out six months. He never was the same and was a far cry from the form he showed two years ago when he had a career season.
Counterpoint: Dudley's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told CSNwashington.com on Tuesday that this was his client's first back surgery. Webster has had three with the first two coming in Portland and Minnesota. Dudley's surgery, another person with knowledge of the situation told CSN, was to his L5-S1. While Webster has had surgery to that exact area in the past, that's a different spot than Webster had repaired last season. Look around the NBA. Ryan Anderson has had bulging disks and is playing just fine. J.J. Redick has avoided surgery for his and misses time because of it.
Point: The Wizards needed a veteran to replace Paul Pierce as the starting small forward and this loss is major.
Counterpoint: Otto Porter is projected to start -- though no one will admit that publicly -- and not Dudley. And if he slips up Alan Anderson is there. Rookie Kelly Oubre is an option though he won't log heavy minutes. Also, Webster still is there though he seems the last choice among this group until proven otherwise. This is a deep position. It's more important for Dudley to be healthy late in the season, when the pressure is greater and wins mean more, than in the first two months. Although Pierce played early, he basically was on cruise control until after the All-Star break.
Point: The Wizards shouldn't have traded for an injured player.
Counterpoint: All parties involved knew about Dudley's problem before the deal was consummated. He could've attempted to play through it but since it's July the determination was that it's better to handle now rather than have it recur all season and have Dudley unavailable for the stretch run. Injuries must be disclosed before transactions are made between teams. See what happened between Portland and Minnesota when Webster's was not. Dudley isn't damaged goods. Since he came into the league in 2007, he hasn't played fewer than 65 games in a season. He has played all 82 twice and four other times he has played at least 72.
Point: The Wizards should've acquired another player if Dudley wasn't healthy.
Counterpoint: First, name that player who could play both forward spots with experience, shoot with 40% accuracy from three and who is good in the locker room for $4.3 million? Dudley was acquired with a traded player exception, a mechanism that allows a salary-cap strapped team to get an asset without giving up anything. It also requires a team such as Milwaukee, which wanted to free up money after signing Greg Monroe and Khris Middleton to huge contracts, to give up that player for what became a top-55 protected 2020 second-round pick that may never come to fruition (same deal as the Celtics got for Kris Humphries). That second-round pick for Humphries was top-49 protected and the Wizards kept it to select Aaron White last month. Dudley basically doesn't cost anything and the pick is five years away.
Point: Even if Dudley heals quickly, his acclimation to his new team will be delayed because of the injury and sets him back.
Counterpoint: His conditioning won't be all the way there no matter how much he trains individually but Dudley will be with the team during training camp. He'll be able to do non-contact drills and participate in film sessions. Dudley is one of the sharper players anyone will ever talk to -- and when a microphone is put in front of him that will be evident. Quickly grasping the concepts, especially for a wing who played with Steve Nash and for Mike D'Antoni's small-ball juggernaut Phoenix Suns, won't be a problem.