With the NBA trade deadline (March 25) less than two weeks away, there’s been a lot of chatter about marquee names the Wizards should try to trade for. Netting a player like Nikola Vucevic, Kristaps Porzingis, or Myles Turner requires giving up a lot of assets.
The Wizards don’t have a lot of assets, to begin with, and they seem unlikely to trade the ones they do have. I just don’t see a scenario where Tommy Sheppard would be willing to part with Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, or this year’s first-round pick. And they have limited flexibility in terms of future first-round picks they would be able to trade.
That leaves them with younger players like Troy Brown Jr., whose value is probably at an all-time low, and veteran expiring contracts like Ish Smith, who is currently out with an injury. With the recent rumors of the team being open to trading Brown Jr., he seems like a likely addition in any potential deal. Based on their limited assets and their lack of depth at the small forward position, here are a few wings that might be more in the Wizards' price range.
Jeremy Lamb, Indiana Pacers
Lamb missed a good portion of the season due to injury but came on strong for the Pacers for a few weeks. Unfortunately for Lamb, he seems to have mostly lost his place in the Pacers rotation now that other guys are healthy. He’s played less than 20 minutes in six straight games. That might make him more expendable in the Pacer’s eyes and a more realistic candidate for the Wizards.
Lamb is a veteran wing who could knock down shots and use his nearly 7-foot wingspan to disrupt opponents. On the season, he’s averaging 11 points and 3.6 rebounds. He’s also making around 44% of his threes on 3.5 attempts. The Wizards are in desperate need of three-point shooters on the wing and Lamb could fill that need.
Indiana has two really small back-up point guards in Aaron Holiday and T.J. McConnell and McConnell is in the last year of his deal. Because of that, they might be interested in giving a bigger playmaker like Troy Brown Jr. a try out. Brown Jr. and Ish Smith’s contracts would be enough to make a deal work in principle.
Tony Snell, Atlanta Hawks
Snell is playing just under 20 minutes per game for the Hawks, who seem to be prioritizing playing their younger wings (what a novel concept). Snell is by no means a world-beater but he’s another long, veteran wing who hypothetically should be able to fill a 3-and-D role for the Wizards. Snell is shooting 57% from three on nearly three attempts per game and is around 39% for his career. As of March 11, Snell had hit 33 of his last 51 three-point attempts.
Atlanta likes to acquire young players who still have untapped potential and a bigger playmaker like Brown Jr. probably makes more sense for their roster. Brown Jr. and Robin Lopez’s contracts would be enough to match salaries. Although, I’m not sure Snell moves the needle enough for the Wizards to be willing to trade out Robin Lopez’s...intangibles.
Taurean Prince, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers are reportedly trying to trade Prince because they are still embracing their rebuild and prioritizing younger players. In 17 games for the Cavs, Prince is averaging 8.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. He’s also shooting nearly 41% from three on 4 attempts per game. He’s a big, burly defender who could at least offer some resistance against the bigger wings in the league. And he could even play some power forward when needed.
Once again, Brown Jr. and Lopez’s salaries would be enough to make a deal work. Given how little confidence Scott Brooks seems to have in Alex Len at this point, I’m not sure he’d be willing to part with Lopez. Which I honestly can’t believe I just typed. The teams could patchwork some salaries to fit if they wanted to make a deal. The question is, would Cleveland be interested in someone like Brown Jr. to sub in next to either of their relatively smaller guards.
Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves
Do you ever just have certain random players who you really like but can’t fully explain why? Full disclosure, Vanderbilt is one of those guys for me. I had a front-row seat for all four of his Summer League games in 2019 and really just like his energy, hustle, and grit. He played hungry and averaged like 12 points and 11 rebounds that week.
Coincidentally, he recorded 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks on February 27th against the Wizards. For the season, he is averaging around 6 points and 6 rebounds per game in about 19 minutes.
Unlike the other guys on this list, he is clearly more of a power forward. Although, I do think he has the lateral quickness to defend perimeter guys well enough. Unfortunately, he is not a three-point shooter at this point in his career either, which makes him less of a fit with this current roster.
But he would add some athleticism, toughness, and physicality to a roster that could really use any and all of those attributes. I think he would be a nice compliment off the bench next to Davis Bertans because he could do all of the dirty work things that Bertans doesn’t.
The main selling points are his age, 21, and salary, $1.7 million. He makes roughly the same amount of money as Isaac Bonga. Considering Bonga has almost completely fallen out of the rotation it might be time to move on and make a one-for-one swap. His teammate Jake Layman might also be worth making a call about.