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Wizards have investigated a DeAndre Jordan trade, according to report

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Washington Wizards v LA Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Zach Lowe of ESPN reported Monday evening that the Wizards have looked into a trade for the Clippers’ big man:

The Wizards have investigated the market for Jordan without gaining any traction, sources say.

The Wizards are reportedly “determined” to keep their first round pick this season unless they can acquire a star, and Jordan would certainly meet those qualifications. Now that DeMarcus Cousins is done for the season, DeAndre Jordan clearly stands out as the best center who could be available at the NBA Trade Deadline. He’s been named All-NBA in each of the past three seasons and has been among the league leaders in field goal percentage and games played in recent years.

As we’ve written before, Jordan is a logical trade target for the Wizards who would fit in seamlessly with what the team is doing. However, there are challenges putting together any kind of trade package for a 29-year-old center who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, given the Wizards’ cap sheet and lack of young players.

Lowe suggested a couple of ideas in his piece:

A package of Marcin Gortat, Jason Smith (perhaps heading to a third team), Kelly Oubre and a first-round pick has long been my favorite realistic Jordan package. Oubre is up for an extension after this season. Washington will have trouble paying Oubre, Bradley Beal, John Wall and Otto Porter.

Of course, they’d also have trouble paying Jordan, Beal, Wall and Porter. (They could trade Porter, but it’s unclear if the Clippers have any interest.) Interest leaguewide would be higher if Jordan signaled he might opt into his deal for next season, but that hasn’t happened, sources say. The salary mechanics between Washington and LA are tricky; the Wiz are over the tax, the Clippers barely under it.

He brings up a good point about how costly a core of Wall, Beal, Oubre, and Porter could be, but at the same time, last summer showed teams have a better chance of getting a good deal on the restricted market than the unrestricted market. Just look at what happened to Nerlens Noel last summer.

Plus, teams will certainly take note of how Washington tied up Brooklyn’s cap space for almost a week after the team signed Otto Porter to a max offer sheet last summer. The threat of doing that again could scare off suitors for Oubre when he hits restricted free agency in 2019.

On the other hand, if Washington trades for Jordan, they’re effectively committing themselves to give whatever it takes this summer to keep him and justify the trade. So not only would a Jordan-Oubre trade sacrifice youth, but it would also sacrifice leverage in salary negotiation.

Besides, trading away Oubre could have a damaging effect on what the team is doing right now. He’s been part of some of the team’s best lineups this season. The downgrade from Oubre to Morris or Scott in late game lineups may not even be worth the immediate upgrade from Gortat to Jordan, especially once you factor in his improved, but still questionable free throw shooting.

It’s anyone’s guess how the trade market will change between now and Thursday’s deadline, but it could certainly take both Oubre and the team’s first round pick to beat out whatever offers other teams make. That said, giving up a first round pick for the fourth time in five seasons, plus the one player the Wizards used a first round pick on in the last five years, would be quite the Pyrrhic victory.


UPDATE: There are multiple reports that Washington’s interest in Jordan, like many other teams, is tied to him opting-in to the final year of his deal, rather than pursuing free agency this summer.