I've heard more than once there isn't much difference between the No. 3and the No. 8 pick in this year's draft. While there are no clear franchise caliber-candidates, all it takes is one team falling in love with the right player and a trade is born. The Wizards will entertain trade offers, it only remains to be seen how serious those offers are. Let's take a look at how some of those offers might appear.
I give you the 2012/13 Atlantic Division winner, the New York Knicks:
- It's tough to see a trade here, post-lottery. New York has a TON of salary on the books through the next two seasons, even if they let J.R. Smith walk. So while it's easy to point to Iman Shumpert as a easily targetable asset, keep in mind New York likely values him more than you think. That said, if they could actually trade him for the No. 3 pick in any draft, it's a no brainer. Don't see that happening on the Wizards' end.
- The Knicks pick 24th in the first round. That wouldn't set Wizards Nation on fire, but one name of note in the neighborhood is Allen Crabbe, already on the Wizards radar.
- So, Jason Kidd might be an interesting backup PG for John Wall, eh? Ease the pain of re-signing J.R. Smith for New York? The Wizards would have to send some salary back, and chances seem best Trevor Booker is the name both parties would settle on. Figure also on one of those second-round picks headed to New York.
THE ABSOLUTE BEST TRADE THEY COULD OFFER: Iman Shumpert, the 24th pick and Jason Kidd for the 3rd pick, the 54th pick and Trevor Booker. Not a fan of this scenario.
Finishing number two in the Atlantic Division, the Brooklyn Nets:
- Let's just say it wouldn't take Garry Kasparov to beat the Brooklyn's strategic masterminds at a game of chess. The twin moves of acquiring Joe Johnson's albatross of a contract and dumping the lottery pick that became Damian Lillard for Gerald Wallace means their cap situation is even worse than their cross-town cousin's.
- How do you feel about Marshon Brooks? C.J. Watson? Me, neither. ANDRAY BLATCHE?
- The Nets draft 22nd, a few ticks above the Knicks.
The Nets don't have particularly desirable veterans, young players, or draft assets, so unless you want to make a convincing argument to dump Nene's remaining money for Kris Humphries (good luck), I'm not going to bother penning a trade for the Nets.
Finishing third and staring into the possibility of a rebuild are Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics:
- Good lord, can you imagine Ainge trading into the top of another draft to kick off a rebuild? Ah, the hyperbole.
- Avery Bradley is a serious trade chip. Having this guy behind John Wall and Bradley Beal is probably not a situation he'd choose, but that backcourt rotation would look mighty solid. Still, Bradley doesn't bring enough value by himself.
- The Wizards likely passed over Fab Melo when they traded Jordan Crawford away for the expiring deals of Jason Collins and the rights to Leandro Barbosa. Does Ernie Grunfeld covet Jared Sullinger? Tough to see how he'd want to bring in a young power forward with back problems and defensive issues.
- Jason Terry and Courtney Lee make too much money for too long for too little impact. Pass.
- Jeff Green! Just kidding, Mike.
- Boston picks 16th this season. With Kelly Olynyk measuring out so poorly at the Combine, it's tough to see how potential Wizards target Steven Adams falls this far. But maybe Ernie takes the risk.
Definitely nearing reasonable offer territory, but Danny Ainge didn't get this far by offering the equivalent of Avery Bradley and the 16th pick for the No. 3 pick. Historically, Ainge gets a ton of value of mid- to late-first rounders, so who knows?
- BONUS ROUND: Kevin Garnett.
Kevin Garnett, the 24th pick and the Celtics 2015 pick Top 8-protected pick for Emeka Okafor and the No. 3 pick. Not a fan, obviously. This draft is about the next ten years, not all-but-guaranteed playoff appearances the next two.
Atlantic Division's fourth place finisher is sometimes-almost rival, the Philadelphia 76ers:
- This team has plenty of salary coming off the books. On the other hand, that's a lot of cap holds and there are only eight players under contract. Let's explore sign-and-trade a bit. Who thinks Nick Young is coming back to D.C.? Andrew Bynum might be worth it just to watch everyone's head explode. Dorell Wright might cost more than Martell Webster. Nothing too attractive here.
- As for players under contract, the Wizards still need a legit power forward, so a prospect like Arnett Moultrie garner some interest from the Wizards front-office. But Ernie Grunfeld loves his hybrid players, so I'm betting any potential trade package with the 76ers involves Thaddeus Young and a lot of contract left to chew on.
- The Wizards might help themselves a bit by picking up Moultrie or Lavoy Allen, an underrated backup center.
- The 76ers pick 11th, and I know you're all dying to draft Rudy Gobert. Still, some interesting talent could fall a bit, and the Wizards could conceivably find immediate help at that spot. C.J. McCollum, anyone?
Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen and the 12th pick for Trevor Ariza, Kevin Seraphin, the 3rd and 56th picks. A lot of factors in play here. Seraphin's inclusion would be worst-case scenario. If Trevor Booker or Chris Singleton, also include the 38th pick in favor of the 56th. The deals are starting to get more interesting, but it still feels like sacrificing too much future potential for immediate bang.
Rounding off the Atlantic Division are the Toronto Raptors:
- First thing's first, no first rounder. #traded
- This team's salary situation is poor, with massive contracts in place for Rudy Gay and Andrea Bargnani. No to Kyle Lowry. Landry Fields is overpaid. DeMar DeRozan doesn't fit next to John Wall or behind Bradley Beal.
- Amir Johnson would raise an eyebrow and Jonas Valanciunas would get my attention. That's immediate bang and future potential at a position of need. But that's also a lot of salary that needs to head back the other way. Okafor would provide cap relief ... but Johnson is on a VERY cap-friendly deal. Valanciunas is still on his rookie deal. But how tempting would a Lowry-DeRozan-Fields/Porter-Bargnani-Okafor experiment be? In Toronto, I mean. Come on, you guys. Did I mention he missed significant time this past season?
- Meanwhile, at shooting guard, I don't think the Wizards would be remotely willing to consider a package built around Terrence Ross. Also, if Valanciunas is in play, Ross is off the table.
Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and a top 12-protected 2015 first rounder for Emeka Okafor, the 3rd and 38th pick. This feels like the type of deal Ernie Grunfeld will aim for if a suitor comes a-ringin'. Veteran help for John Wall and a serious future asset to appease Ted and the Ten Point Plan. There would need to be more salary coming in to offset Okafor's deal, could easily see Fields tagging along. But Toronto values Valanciunas so I don't see this happening.
Personally, I can't really find any knock-my-socks-off offers coming out of the Atlantic Division for the No. 3 pick in a straight up two team swap. Mostly, they just don't have the assets. The trajectory of Washington's rebuild hangs in the balance and with what I've considered so far, I expect Ernie to sit tight.
Coming up next: The Central Division.