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Wizards open to trading down in 2018 NBA Draft to shed salary, according to report

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NBA: Playoffs-Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards are getting primed to make a pick in the first round in the NBA Draft for the first time in three years and only the second time since 2013. However, that pick might be coming later in the first round than initially expected, according to Ben Standig of The Sports Capitol. He’s reporting the Wizards are open to trading down to get off one of their expiring deals:

The Wizards have five players with expiring contracts, including starters Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris. Gortat’s $13.56 million salary for the 2018-19 season dwarfs the other expiring deals. The hefty figure counts among the reasons why the 34-year-old center is considered a likely trade piece.

There are a few of things to keep in mind here.

  1. The Wizards can’t do anything to lessen their luxury tax bill for the 2017-18 season. The books are already closed. The only thing they can do is change how much they’re paying for the team in 2018-19 and beyond.
  2. There are a few teams with cap space behind the Wizards in the first round, if Washington is simply looking to simply reduce their payroll. The Suns have the 16th overall pick. The Hawks have the 19th, 30th, and 34th overall picks. The Pacers have the 23rd overall pick. The Nets have the 29th overall pick.
  3. The Wizards don’t necessarily have to unload money, they could just try to make a deal to get a player back who provides better bang for the buck, and that could still be a worthwhile move if it works out.
  4. Note that the Wizards are looking to trade down not out of the first round. In a vacuum, there’s nothing wrong with that strategy. If they can get off money and still get someone they like later in the first round, that’s a win-win, but it’s also easier said than done.

Beyond that, it’s hard to know how to feel until a deal is on the table. Only time will tell if a move is fueled more by trying to get rid of bad money, or an opportunity to get a good player later in the draft and get their payroll in a better spot in the process.