With December 15 being the first day that players signed over the summer can be traded, we at SB Nation are taking a look at each team's situation and determining what kinds of players could be on the move. Here is BF's contribution, co-authored by Thomas and BNIE.
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The Wizards: buying, selling or both?
Magic 8 Ball says 'Ask again later.' There are two major factors likely playing into Washington's current market stance; the aging of current contracts and the saleability of their assets. GM Ernie Grunfeld masterminded a deal that sent Rashard Lewis and his soon to expire $14 million buyout clause to the New Orleans Hornets in return for $43 million worth of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, assuming they exercise their player options next season. The Wizards carefully hoarded cap powder vanished in a flash instead of a bang, and current team play is in the toilet. As a result, the large contracts on the books aren't expiring and Washington's young players aren't putting their best foot forward. Not many owners will okay a sale at low tide.
But forget that, the Wizards elected not to pursue James Harden. Turning down the opportunity to acquire a 23-year old statistical stud and Olympian is a questionable decision when you're trying to build a contender from a cellar that all but has your team's name blazoned on the door. And yet:
We will work free agency to add to the team. We will try to make astute trades to improve, but we also must develop cohesion, chemistry and structure around a system with so many new and young players in the rotation.
The right deal could come along, though at this point it would likely be akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. If the Wizards aren't going to blow the doors off for Harden, smart money is on them staying quiet.
But if they were buying?
The Wizards need help at every position. The team doesn't do anything at an above-average rate aside from defend perimeter players, so take your pick. A center who can rebound, block shots and move his feet on defense would be great. A small forward who can handle the ball, shoot and guard multiple positions would plug a lot of holes, too. And the Wizards could still really use a backup point guard, especially if Wall experiences any more setbacks.
Like a lot of bad teams, Washington's roster has a lot more quantity than quality. A blockbuster deal in which the Wizards flip a bunch of prospects for a major star is unlikely to happen due to the team's lack of widely-coveted young players. That said, a move in which the team swaps a couple of youngsters and a productive veteran to a contender with depth issues in return for a George Hill or Eric Maynor-caliber player isn't unrealistic. (Though maybe not those two specific players).
Washington's top priority right now is to acquire young players who will make life easier for Wall. A reliable pick and pop partner should be at the top of his wishlist.
So who specifically should they target?
Houston's Patrick Patterson or Marcus Morris could be brought in on the cheap. Ditto for Morris' twin brother, Markieff, in Phoenix. Even though they're not super-talented, any of them would balance out the roster by providing shooting and defensive rebounding at the four. Marcus Morris and Royce White for Jan Vesely would let Houston wash its hands of the White mess and shed a player that they don't have much of a need for, while Vesely could probably benefit from the change of scenery.
If Washington decides to be a little bolder, they could always see if Phoenix would be willing to bribe them to take Michael Beasley off their hands. Yes, he's a space cadet, but Beasley fits the current roster like a glove, and a deal of Beasley and Sebastian Telfair for Trevor Ariza works for both teams. Washington gets a stretch four and a backup point guard on an expiring deal while Phoenix gets a decent wing with only a year and a half left on his deal.
No article on hypothetical trade scenarios is complete without at least one deal involving the Los Angeles Lakers. Veteran power forward Antawn Jamison would give the Wizards a shot creator, a pick and pop player and a veteran presence in the locker room. In order to make a deal work, though, a few other teams might need to be brought in.
Do you agree that these are players the Wizards could consider, or do you think the Wizards should target other guys?