"What happened last night was unfathomable. I've never experienced this before," Wallace told reporters.
The agreement would have sent Ariza and two Grizzlies second-round picks to the Wizards, Washington's Kelly Oubre Jr. to Memphis, and Washington guard Austin Rivers and Memphis forward Wayne Selden to the Suns, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
But it unraveled, as the Grizzlies believed the agreement also included MarShon Brooks, and the Suns insisted Dillon Brooks was involved, sources told Wojnarowski. Both Brookses are Memphis swingmen and their stats aren't that different, but MarShon is a 29-year-old journeyman, while Dillon, 22, started 74 games as a rookie last season.
Wallace said on Saturday that Dillon Brooks was not involved in the trade. He also told the media that someone from the Suns or Wizards leaked the deal while the Grizzlies were playing the Miami Heat.
"That forced me to do something I've never done in 30-plus years working in this league with seven teams, is to drag two players out of a locker room and tell them they've been traded and then eventually have to come back and tell them, 'Oh, no, you haven't been traded,'" Wallace said.
"We ask a lot of these guys and we try to communicate with them at all times," he added. "We do not want them to know about trades from another party; we want to be the ones that tell them. We were forced to come in at that time and say something. That put us in a very difficult situation."
Phoenix privately insisted that it had direct conversations with Grizzlies officials on Dillon Brooks -- not MarShon -- which Memphis flatly denied, according to Wojnarowski's reporting. The Grizzlies insist that they negotiated the deal through Washington general manager Ernie Grunfeld and that there had been a miscommunication to Suns interim general manager James Jones on Memphis' assets in the deal. Washington says it believed the deal included Dillon Brooks, not MarShon Brooks, Wojnarowski reported.
MarShon Brooks said his family became aware of the trade through social media before he was informed by the team. He said his mother was trying to mouth the words to him from the crowd during the fourth quarter of Memphis' Friday night home game against the Heat.
"I'm not frustrated with the situation. It is what it is. It's a business," he said. "I understand that, we all understand that. I've just got to be ready to play a game. We've got a quick turnaround. I don't really got time to feel bad or feel any type of way. I'm just going out there and compete with my brothers."
The Wizards resurrected the deal and ultimately acquired Ariza from the Suns for Oubre and Rivers, sources told Wojnarowski.