Dismantling the Washington Wizards
It's no secret, the Washington Wizards are trash. Aside from beating the Hawks in the first round of the 2017 playoffs the Wiz have failed to find any success with this iteration of the team. It has seemed clear to the rest of the league that Washington's ceiling with Wall and Beal had been hit and that any meaningful improvements were out of reach with this backcourt duo due to the ugly cap situation they'd built themselves. It had become apparent that anything short of shipping out one of their two biggest stars would find them sitting stagnant in the moderately successful mid playoff tier of the eastern conference. To some franchises that may be an acceptable truth but after the way the Wizards have started the season even Ernie Grunfeld couldn't hide from the truth.
Earlier this morning ESPN's Adrien Wojnaroski reported that Washington's front office is finally willing to make a deal. Not just their usual draft pick for veteran rental deal, the Wizards are making it known that no one is off limits. About time. Making players like Bradley Beal, John Wall and Otto Porter Jr. available means Washington's seemingly unreachable breaking point has finally come. Now that they've seen the light, where do they go from here?
Well, first of all, good luck dealing John Wall. The often injured and out of shape point guard is signed to one of the most undesirable contracts in the league. In 2022/23 he'll earn almost 47 million dollars and to be honest, I don't think he's worth that right now, let alone when he's 32 years old. On top of that he has a 15% trade kicker meaning that if the Wizards were to ship him out they'd be hung with a lovely little bill of roughly 25 million. Maybe signing a declining star to a contract of over 169 million wasn't that smart. A deal for Wall may even end up costing them a pick to compensate for that mammoth salary. Luckily the NBA still has a few... less smart front offices and there might just be a Blake Griffen-esque deal to be done.
If the Wiz really hope to fire up a rebuild their best bet lies in a Beal deal. Bradley Beal has value around the league as a younger option on a much friendlier deal and could easily score the Wizards a pick or two. A deal with the Lakers for Brandon Ingram and Kuzma or Ball could work or maybe a wealth of picks and Jaylen Brown from the Celtics? Either way it'll be a 75 cents on the dollar sort of deal. Maybe they even use him to get off of the remainder of Ian Mahinmi's crippling 4 year, 64 million dollar contract. Regardless, Beal is averaging 21.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists on the season, so there will be plenty of interest.
I won't bother getting into the rest of the roster. I'll just say that Washington needs to commit to the process. If they're going to tear it down they need to do it fully and completely. It's time to abandon this toxic team and perform a cultural reset. Take a bucket of bleach to that locker room and start fresh. However, if the recent past has taught us anything it's that this team isn't exactly an example of competent management and the reconstruction of the Washington Wizards will likely be a long and bumpy road. One that will be easier to travel after lightening their load.