The NBA trade deadline is still two months away, but teams are already starting to test the waters to see who might be available and what it would take to make a move.
In Washington’s case, they’ll be looking for ways to add some firepower to their bench, which has struggled most of the season. One player they’ve reportedly set their sights on in the early going is Will Barton of the Denver Nuggets, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.
Barton, a Baltimore native, missed a good chunk of the start of the season with an ankle sprain but has returned to form in recent weeks. He’s averaging 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 30.6 minutes of action for the Nuggets this season. His numbers are fairly similar to what he posted last season, when he emerged as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, but his long-term future in Denver has gotten murkier with Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, and Malik Beasley emerging as long-term options.
The Nuggets are well below the salary cap line, so they are in a position where they could take in a lot more money than they send out. The thing is, they’re pretty well stocked with big men, where most of the Wizards’ money is tied up. so that’s probably a no-go.
The deal that would make the most sense would probably be to send someone like Trey Burke (who has an expiring deal) or Tomas Satoransky (who was drafted ahead of Barton in 2012) to Denver. The Wizards would then need to throw some kind of pick in there as a sweetener for the Nuggets because neither player is at Barton’s level.
Unfortunately, we’re probably going to hear about this quandary with a lot of the Wizards’ trade targets this season. Washington has a very clear list of untouchables when it comes to upgrading their bench, but after that, there isn’t much left that other teams want except for the Washington’s future draft picks.
In other words, we might see another trade that looks like a lot of other trades in recent Wizards history. You know the pattern: The Wizards use a future pick to address a present need they didn’t properly address when they had a chance in the past. While they have had some success with those deals on an individual basis, it has also kept them from having more chances to draft players who could have developed into more beneficial long-term pieces for the team. One can only hope if the Wizards make a similar move this season, whether it’s for Barton or someone else, that they can get someone good enough to make Wizards fans forget about who they could have drafted with the pick they’ll give up.