The Wizards have been tied to Ryan Anderson more than any other name discussed in trade rumors this season. But as we get closer to Thursday's trade deadline, it's looking like the Wizards are starting to back away, according to Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical:
The Pelicans are struggling to get back significant value in a trade for Anderson. Washington has talked with New Orleans on a deal, sources said, but paying Anderson the $16 million-plus he can get on the market this summer would preclude the Wizards from clearing the max salary space it needs to pursue Kevin Durant.
The issue for the Pistons – and several teams around the league interested in Anderson – remains this: How much will it cost to re-sign Anderson this summer in free agency? With Harris, the Pistons have cost-certainty on the three-years, $48 million on his deal through the 2018-'19 season.
Here's the thing: Trading for Ryan Anderson doesn't necessarily preclude the Wizards from going after Durant. They could hold on to his Bird rights until Durant makes a decision and go from there. If KD signs with Washington the Wizards can renounce Anderson and move along, otherwise they can work toward a new deal, assuming Anderson waits until Durant sets the market, which he probably will.
Then again, the only advantages to having someone's Bird Rights are offering a fifth year (which seems excessive for Ryan Anderson) or going over the cap to re-sign him (which won't be an issue since the Wizards will be well under the cap this summer). So why give up an asset like a future draft pick or Kelly Oubre if it doesn't improve your odds of keeping him beyond this season?
Perhaps you can justify the trade if you feel like bringing in Anderson would be enough to ensure the Wizards make the playoffs, but even that's a stretch. Washington needs to win 60 percent of their games from here out just to have a shot at eighth seed, and Anderson won't do much to help the Wizards' 21st-ranked defense.
For as much as he might be able to do to make the Wizards better on the offensive end, there's no need for the Wizards to make a move now. Washington can hold on to all their young players and still be in position to sign Ryan Anderson this summer, hopefully at a price that's a little more palatable than what he's hoping to get at the moment.