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Wizards reportedly open to dealing first round pick

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According to multiple reports, the Wizards are shopping around their first round pick, but making a move to improve the team won't be easy.

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The Wizards are in win-now mode, but they're not in win-now mode. They want to get better, they're willing to sacrifice future assets to get better in the short-term and strengthen themselves for this year's playoff run. At the same time, they're not willing to give up lots of long-term cap space, because they have to keep options open when the world's greatest subliminal messenger hits the free agent market.

The bigger issue is, they've leveraged almost every young player to get to where they are at the moment. They don't have young pieces on the roster they can offer up to other teams. Wall and Beal are untouchable, Seraphin has to consent to any trade he would be involved in, and Porter's value is still undefined. That means the only assets the Wizards really have to put in play to upgrade this year are picks, and as you'd expect, it appears the Wizards are open to making a deal, according to CSN Washington:

They're willing to trade a first-round draft pick. To make any sort of trade of significance, for a player with the talent of an Arron Afflalo for instance (only using this name as an example), the Wizards will have to part with one. They are, CSNwashington.com was told by a person with knowledge of the situation Tuesday night, which makes them a stronger player in the market.

And the Washington Post:

The Wizards are willing to move their first-round pick in the upcoming draft for the right piece, but are balking at asking prices. They aren’t interested in Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic and have reached out to the Denver Nuggets about swingman Wilson Chandler but consider their demands too steep.

The words "first round pick" always sound enticing, but now that teams have a better idea of where the Wizards' pick will likely land this season (17-22 range) it's harder to sell the promise of a big name prospect in return. Here's a short list of some of the players teams have dealt first round picks for in that range in previous years:

  • Marcin Gortat in 2014
  • Chase Budinger in 2012
  • Jordan Hill in 2012
  • Lamar Odom in 2011

But remember, the Wizards can't just send out first round pick without sending out someone else out in the deal as well. They have to make salaries match under CBA and they have to keep the team under the luxury tax. So instead of just making a straight player-for-pick swap, the Wizards have to offer a pick, and a lesser player, in exchange for a better player. Whether the team tries to go after Dragic (a terrible idea, considering he's a free agent at the end of the year, and he wants out of Phoenix so he won't have to share PG duties), Afflalo, Chandler or Kevin Martin they'll have to send the right package of players back to make salaries work and still offer enough talent to allow the first round pick to bridge the gap.

Finding a happy balance that appeals to the Wizards and a trade partner won't be easy, which is why a significant trade before Thursday's deadline still seems highly unlikely. While the Wizards' willingness to part with a first rounder shouldn't be surprising, given their current circumstances, but it's going to be difficult to find a deal that works for both sides.