If you watch HGTV, you know the biggest enemy of any home renovation is repairs. You see a couple kick off a renovation with big dreams of a fancy new kitchen, but once they start tearing down walls they run into plumbing issues and wiring problems and rotting wood. That full kitchen renovation winds up being new cabinets and one of those hypoallergenic, hands-free trash cans. At the end of the day, the couple is happy things are better than when they started, but still disappointed they couldn’t do more with their renovation budget.
This is the story of the Wizards at the 2017 trade deadline.
Washington got better thanks to Wednesday’s trade. Bojan Bogdanovic gives the team a solid scoring threat off the bench who can take some of the scoring burden off Trey Burke, Tomas Satoransky, and Kelly Oubre. Plus, as Ben Standig pointed out, the move will give the Wizards more opportunities to rest Otto Porter as he plays through lingering hip issues.
However, when you compare what the Wizards got for their first round pick to what other teams got for their late firsts, you see a discrepancy. In December, the Cavaliers traded their 2019 first round pick to acquire Kyle Korver. Last week, Toronto traded their first round pick to get Serge Ibaka. On Tuesday, the Rockets used their pick to get Lou Williams. The Wizards wound up with Bogdanovic, a fine player in his own right, but a tier below the other players.
That isn’t to say the Wizards got bad value for the pick they traded to Brooklyn. It’s fair once you factor in the benefit of moving Andrew Nicholson (who still has $19.9 million owed to him after this season), Washington’s ability to match any offer Bogdanovic gets this summer, the intriguing potential of Chris McCullough, and the trade exception the Wizards picked up. It’s a win-now move that offers some potential long-term dividends.
What’s unfortunate is that the Wizards couldn’t fully capitalize on an opportunity to improve their chances at a deep playoff run this season. Cleveland is weaker after Kevin Love’s injury, Boston didn’t cash in any of their assets to make a run this season, and Toronto has to show they can get back to last year’s form. Washington missed an opportunity to make a real power play in the Eastern Conference.
Instead, Washington will have to settle for modest improvements this season and hope getting rid of two of their most unproductive players will put them in a better position down the road. Playing the long game here isn’t ideal, but as anyone who has gone through a renovation can attest, they usually take longer than anticipated to get what you really want.