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Deal of the Day: Revisiting an earlier Wizards and Celtics trade idea

In today’s trade deal of the day, the Washington Wizards trade the No. 9 pick and Moritz Wagner to the Boston Celtics for the No. 14 and 26 picks and Robert Williams.

Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

In Deal of the Day, salary cap rules may be bent but hopefully not broken. As we get closer to the draft I’ll be adding a layer to the Deals, revisiting a version of a previous deal or building a second trade on an earlier scenario. So if there’s one specific Deal you liked as a starting point let me know.

Today’s Deal: Revisiting the Celtics Roster for Backup Front Court Help

One of the first “fronted” Deals involved trading #9 and #37 for Boston’s three first round picks (FRP), #14, #26 and #30. The assumptions being that (a) Washington’s clear number one player on the board was gone, (b) Boston wasn’t waiting any longer to grab theirs, and (c) they aren’t going to use all three of these picks.

The other guiding principle here is that the Wizards lack the assets to make up all the ground lost to the developmental/bounce year in one off season WITHOUT using their lottery pick in a trade of some kind. MLE and BAE aren’t enough and sign-and-trades are notoriously difficult to pull off.

Inner Monologue: Do you use FRP to say first round pick? I haven’t but it’s growing on me. Does anyone use “1st’s” or is it just ‘1’s’? Or is it “firsts”? We should all decide which we prefer... Maybe a poll for another day. {Editor’s Note: AP Style says it’s “firsts.”}

This Deal is not That Deal. We’ve learned and grown so much from those early days!

With Onyeka Okongwu off the board, the Washington Wizards trade their first round pick, #9 overall and forward/center Moritz Wagner to the Boston Celtics for F/C Robert Williams and two of their three first round picks, #14 and #26.

I added that first line as a wink, then as I’m editing Jonathan Wasserman reportedthe Washington Wizards are hoping USC’s Onyeka Okongwu falls to them at No. 9. If he isn’t there, they’d be interested in trading the pick.


In my most recent mock draft Boston used the same pick swap to move into the Spurs spot at #11 and select RJ Hampton. In this scenario they move into #9 to get ahead of the Phoenix Suns. The Celtics select PG Killian Hayes at #9. More of the Wizards re-draft below.

Why do the Celtics do the deal?

After reaching the Eastern Conference Finals the Celtics find themselves loaded with talent but short of their goal, with contractual decisions like Gordon Hayward keeping them in flux. No one expects them to use all three FRPs. The question becomes who to target. In this scenario they take their PG of the future in smooth 6-5 lefty Killian Hayes. Kemba Walker can’t play forever.

They also swap one head scratch-inducing player for another, getting Wagner for Williams. That’s right, the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft is traded for the 27th overall pick in 2018. Twenty-three year old bigs trading places. Wagner provides even more charge-drawing to the Celtics reserve unit with some hope for regaining his shooting. Let the bodies hit the floor.

Why do the Wizards do the deal?

Williams provides the Wizards with a reserve center who can catch lobs, defend the rim and rebound at inconsistent intervals while missing games with soft tissue injuries. It’s a not so subtle shift in strategy for the center depth chart that still leaves room for a veteran with the MLE.

Hey, remember how the Wizards reportedly like 10-15 players at the top of the draft? Yeah, Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard said that after they were locked into #9. Can we trust any GM or take him at face value? I tend to give the front office the benefit of the doubt until their deeds stop matching their words. In a recent piece in The Athletic focusing on sports agent feedback, Sheppard was highly regarded for his honesty in discussions.

What if that really means they like four to five players at 9 and if they’re gone they like a few at 15? For this scenario they want an extra pick and Williams. Time for a quick re-draft in my mock.

9. BOS: Killian Hayes

10. PHX: Precious Achiuwa

11. SPR: Patrick Williams

12. SAC: Devin Vassell

13: NOP: Tyrese Maxey

14: WAS: Aaron Nesmith, G/F Vanderbilt

The Wizards move down and still land the draft’s best long range bomber. Nesmith shot a blistering 55.8% (29/52) on three pointers attempted from beyond 23 feet according to Synergy, hat-tip to sheedali for the 23 feet-plus stats.

There’s an angle on drafting Nesmith that could infuriate some of the Bullets Forever community. He’s the most ready to play now. In a draft known more for teenage potential, taking a player in part because he’s more ready now isn’t always the best path. Not a scarlet letter but no big swing, no Hampton or wildcard like Tyrell Terry.

Nesmith comes after preparing at Vandy under head coach Jerry Stackhouse. That’s former Grizzlies assistant, Raptors assistant and G League Champion and Coach of the Year Jerry Stackhouse to you and me. Coach Stack probably ran more plays to get Nesmith open threes than the Wizards ran for Troy Brown, Isaac Bonga, and Jerome Robinson combined last season.

It’s not just having an advanced understanding of NBA sets that gets Nesmith this spot. He’s also shown footwork beyond his years. He arrives a proper marksman.

He even got a head start defensively. The Commodores employ a “no middle” scheme. Nesmith didn’t go into great details while describing it to Mike Schmitz. From what I heard, it’s literally channeling everything to the sidelines. It sounds a lot like the concepts Wizards assistant coach Mike Longabardi brought over from his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

At 6-6 with a 6-10 wingspan a lot will be asked of Nesmith defensively. That’s not what he is known for as of today but the pieces are there. Meaning the Wizards could still be in the market for a “wing stopper” in free agency.

Just because 14 isn’t a big swing doesn’t mean they’re done swinging. At 26 the Wizards select 6-7 Argentinian play-making guard Leandro Bolmaro. He’ll play at least one more year for Barcelona before coming to the NBA. His head coach this season will be rising star Šarūnas Jasikevičius. Neat. Maybe he comes to DC with Bolmaro after Brooks’ contract expires. When you have a shot at Manu Ginobili 2.0 you take it.

At 37, the Wizards finally find a developmental point guard who can shoot the lights out in Cassius Winston. The Michigan State point guard shot 41% from 23-plus feet and took twice as many as Nesmith did from that rangein his injury shortened season.

Still have the MLE and BAE to use if we can fit them in after Bertans’ extension. The luxury tax threshold is expected to be $132mm, give or take:

  • John Wall - Troy Brown Jr. - Ish Smith - Cassius Winston
  • Bradley Beal - Jerome Robinson - Garrison Mathews (RFA)
  • Isaac Bonga - Aaron Nesmith - Admiral Schofield
  • Rui Hachimura - Davis Bertans (UFA)
  • Thomas Bryant - ___________ - Robert Williams - Anzejs Pasecniks (camp guarantee)


Swap Mo Wags for Robert Williams and picks?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Yeah I like it.
    (133 votes)
  • 40%
    Nah, stay at 9 and pick BPA even if thats Nesmith. There’s no time to wait for a Euro stash.
    (89 votes)
222 votes total Vote Now

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