Here is the second part of our roundtable on the Washington Wizards’ moves at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline. For Part 1, click here.
Let’s also review the questions that were originally by Osman Baig.
Did [the Wizards’ trades] change your opinion at all? They added a good player in Kristaps Porzingis (when healthy) and kept their recent picks plus their ‘22 FRP looks to be a lottery selection.
What are your thoughts on the other deals? The deal with Charlotte for Ish Smith seemed fine. The Wizards got back a 2nd rd pick and a young prospect that might be worth taking a flyer on. The Phoenix trade of Aaron Holiday was getting rid of a bad mistake. What would your next steps be?
And now, Part 2! I’ll start with Kevin Broom’s response from yesterday (since we did the whole roundtable in one place) and go from there.
Kevin Broom: Give Sheppard credit for taking a shot and not paying too much to do it. The Wizards didn’t want Dinwiddie or Bertans — and they both wanted out, as well — and Sheppard did a nice job of turning those two in Porzingis, who’s very good...when healthy.
That’s the gamble. One of the big reasons Dallas was willing to swap a guy as productive as Porzingis has been while on the floor is that he’s often hurt and unavailable. One of the other big reasons: he’s chronically unhappy and he gets on his teammates’ nerves.
I have no problem with this trade, even if Porzingis can’t stay healthy and the team loses. They traded guys they don’t want for someone with talent, who actually produces. In my PPA metric, he’s 22nd so far this season in per possession production. So he can play. Of course, he’s 77th in total production because of the health issues. If he actually stays healthy, the Wizards might be decent. If not, they were going to lose with Dinwiddie and Bertans, so I guess it doesn’t make much difference if they lose with Porzingis in street clothes instead.
Ben Becker: I think the Wizards had a reasonably good day.
Trading Trezz for a second always made sense with Gafford signed long term and Bryant being a younger version of Harrell in terms of offensive efficiency.
Moving Holiday for nothing but cash is fine in and of itself, but it emphasizes who silly acquiring Holiday was in the first place. If I was running the Wizards, I’d want to deconstruct the decision-making process that led to a mistake that had to be undone.
The Porzings trade is a low risk, medium-ish reward move that makes sense. As Kevin said yesterday, if KP spends the better part of the next two seasons in street clothes, then the Wizards will likely stink and get good draft picks to help them accumulate some talent. If he miraculously stays healthy, the Wizards could be decent — which might be fun — but they won’t contend for anything meaningful.
One interesting aspect to keep an eye on is that the final year of Porzingis’ deal is a player option. So if he has an excellent year next year, he may opt out in search of more guaranteed money rather than risking getting “Demarcus Cousins’d” by an injury during the 23-24 season. He’d likely have to stay really, really healthy though, because his injury history will give teams pause about giving him enough term to justify opting out.
I expect the Wizards to continue to rehab and showcase Thomas Bryant. If he can command more than a team that wants him can pay him with their version of the midlevel exception, the Wizards could sign-and-trade him and receive a modest asset and a trade exception in return. That scenario seems pretty unlikely given the current market for centers, but things can obviously change quickly.
One name to keep an eye on over the summer to fill the point guard void is Malcolm Brogdon. Like Porzingis, he’s been very productive when on the floor, but has a tough time staying healthy (were these guys born to be Wizards or what?). Indiana has found their lead guard of the future in Tyrese Haliburtion and Brogdon is likely to be available. He’s a solid all-around guard who can shoot and defend and would likely fit well with Wizards. While I’m sure the Wizards would like some draft lottery luck that would allow them to draft a high-level point guard, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the UVA alum end up in DC.
Albert: On the trades:
1. On the Smith for Trez trade: The Wizards needed to cut their center rotation regardless and Trez was on the last year of his contract. This is a good trade that sends him to his home state. And as for Ish, he is familiar with many of the players who returned from last year’s team.
2. The KP for Dinwiddie and Bertans trade: This trade is a steal, considering that Bertans fell out of the rotation and was underperforming, and Dinwiddie didn’t get with Beal. And it’s a steal, even given my concern of this trade being a “kick the can down the road” type of move regarding Beal’s future. KP’s biggest concern is his durability, but if he is playing more often than he is not, he will keep Washington competitive and could form a good duo with Bradley Beal.
3. Holiday for cash considerations trade — Meh. The trade exception will help a little IF they use the exception.
As a whole: The Wizards needed to rebuild and I haven’t changed my stance from the last roundtable right before the deadline. They didn’t trade Beal away, but they did get an All-Star player plus a draft pick without trading any of their own picks away. And if the KP trade doesn’t work out in terms of him playing as opposed to sitting on the bench due to injury, hopefully, Washington can get another high draft pick.