As anticipated, the Washington Wizards will cut ties with former No. 1 draft pick Kwame Brown, agreeing in principle with the Los Angeles Lakers to trade the forward for former Connecticut star Caron Butler and another player.
Arn Tellem, Brown's agent, confirmed yesterday that Brown would sign a two-year deal with the Wizards, who would then trade him to Los Angeles, in return for Butler, a 6-foot-7 forward, and guard Chucky Atkins or forward Devean George.
But the transaction, which will likely become official on July 22, marks the end of Brown's era with the Wizards. It began in 2001 when the team made the 6-11 forward from Georgia, the first high school player to be the NBA's first overall selection.
Unfortunately for both sides, Brown's selection was the peak, with the raw talent combining with scrapes on and off the court. Arrested twice for driving violations - once for speeding and the other time for drunk driving - he also clashed with former teammate Michael Jordan and ex-coach Doug Collins during his first two seasons in the league.
In his first season playing for Eddie Jordan in 2003-2004, Brown, 23, had his best season, averaging 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, topped by a 30-point, 19-rebound performance against Sacramento that season.
Last year, though, a foot injury suffered during the summer limited him to 42 games during the season, which ended with a suspension before Game 5 of the first-round playoff series with Chicago.
Overall, Brown finished his Washington career averaging 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds. After looking at several teams, the move represents a clean slate, according to Tellem.
"Leaving here will be bittersweet," said Tellem. "He made a lot of friends. He'll miss them and he appreciated the support, but he's looking forward to having a fresh start."
In contrast to Brown, who gets a new home after four seasons in Washington, Butler, 25, will play for his third team in four seasons since being picked by Miami as the 10th pick of the 2002 draft.
The 6-7 swingman was one of three players sent to Los Angeles last year in return for Shaquille O'Neal's trade to Miami. He averaged 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds last season and could be a replacement for guard Larry Hughes, who is headed to Cleveland.
Atkins, a 5-11 guard who played 82 games last season, is more likely to be the player accompanying Butler, according to reports.