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Wizards trade options: The risk and reward of Serge Ibaka

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It’s February, which means the NBA trade deadline is right around the corner. Historically, most moves happen close to the trade deadline. Teams want to know what they have and evaluate how strong their assets are for as long as possible before making a deal. It’s no secret how it all works, the contenders try to make trades that give their team a better chance at the title, and everyone else makes trades to try to get future assets, draft picks, or cut some salary.

Every team has a number of options on the table. As Stan Van Gundy once said, “Everyone in the league is available for the right price!” With that in mind, let’s look at some players that could be available at the deadline, and what it would take for the Wizards to get them. First up: Serge Ibaka.

According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Magic want to trade Ibaka before the trade deadline due to concerns he will join another team in free agency this summer. Ibaka would be an upgrade at the starting power forward position. He would give the team better outside shooting than Morris, and offers better rim protection to compensate for Marcin Gortat. And since he’s on an expiring deal, he may not be incredibly hard to obtain.

The Wizards would probably have to throw in their first round pick, so they would need some assurance from Ibaka that he’d be willing to stay, and some assurance from ownership that they’d be willing to go into the tax to retain Porter and Ibaka in free agency.

If that falls into place, a potential idea could be something like this:

Wizards Receive: Serge Ibaka, Mario Hezonja

Magic Receive: Markieff Morris, Kelly Oubre Jr., Trey Burke, Wizards 2017 first round pick (Magic waive Damjan Rudez)

The Magic would happily take Morris’ cheap deal, Oubre, and the first round pick, plus Burke’s expiring contract would help them clear cap space for the future. Orlando gets younger, cheaper, and gets two players back who will be around past the end of the season.

The Wizards get an upgrade at the starting 4 position and improve their depth by adding Hezonja. Admittedly, he has been underwhelming (hence why the Magic are trying to shed his deal) but he could be an interesting reclamation project for Scott Brooks. At worst, he’s an expiring deal. If he’s anything more, he’s on an affordable rookie deal for the next two seasons.