I just don't see No-nuts Nonis having the balls to pull off a deal for Luongo, again unless it's an absolute no brainer like the deal he got from Florida (where ownership told the GM they had to move Luongo now, so get the best deal he could). Nonis just won't do anything to rock the boat and it's why he's a very average GM. At least with Gillis, love him or hate him, you know he's got the balls to pull off a shocker trade like the Hodgson one last year.
Actually I don't think that is what happened. Mike Keenan went rogue on that one. He had taken Luongo to arbitration the year before and had been refusing to give Luongo his big time contract. Keenan didn't think he had shown enough to be paid like a top 10 goalie in the league. Luongo had one more year before UFA. Ownership wanted Luongo signed. Luongo thought he had a deal, had begun construction of his home. Keenan decided that he wanted to impress upon everyone that he ran the organization and he also had a boner for Bert.
It was the opposite of what you sate. Keenan traded Luongo and even rushed making the announcement. Nonis wanted to wait until the draft floor to announce but Keenan wanted it rushed through and announced. He eventually lost his job because of stuff like that.
Martin was the coach at the time and his days in Ottawa were hampered by lack of consistent goaltending. He was in dream land having Luongo on his team and the thought of what it would be like to have a world class net minder back stop the club. He talked about this a few years later. He was in the camp to get Luongo signed long term when he heard about the trade.
So the coach wanted him, ownership wanted him, the fans wanted him, it was the GM that felt it was an unproven player playing hard ball and he needed to be shown how the NHL works. Listen to Keenan when he talks about it. He talks about how Luongo's head was a little bigger than his accomplishments.
At the time we gave up a washed up power forward, at the time a d'man who was thought to be top 4 and a back up goalie who had decent numbers for the Canucks.