Tuesday’s news that John Wall will miss at least six weeks due to a knee procedure comes at a bad time. Washington is just two games ahead of eighth-seeded Philadelphia, and only 4.5 games ahead of the ninth-seeded Pistons, who just acquired Blake Griffin to make a late push.
Given that, you might think the Wizards would be interested in trying to make a move before the trade deadline to keep things together while Wall recovers. However, it looks like that is not their focus, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Meanwhile, Wizards know what Wall’s loss means to short term, but remain determined to keep their 2018 first-round pick after dealing their firsts in three of the previous four years to fill holes on roster. A trade this year would have to involve a star, not a role player.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) January 30, 2018
Granted, “star” is a fairly nebulous term that gives Washington some wiggle room to make a deal if they really think they can get someone useful. That said, it seems clear Washington understands they don’t have much in terms of young assets at the moment and they would need a special offer to give up a chance to add young depth this summer.
The good news is the Wizards don’t need to worry about how missing the playoffs could drive away talent like they have in past years. John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter are all locked up for the foreseeable future, so they can play the long game here, especially in a season that isn’t shaping up to be their best campaign. They might as well take advantage of getting a higher draft pick than they expected so they can add a player who could potentially vault them to another level down the road.
There is still plenty of time for things to change between now and the trade deadline, but it looks like Washington has their priorities in order ahead of a trade deadline that’s already taken a lot of unexpected twists and turns.