Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Washington Wizards will go into the offseason searching for an answer at point guard. Who’s worth keeping an eye on between now and the offseason on the trade market? Here are some possibilities on the trade market ... this summer! Obviously, they can’t be traded right now because this season’s deadline ended on Feb. 10. But again, it’s never too early to look ahead.
Rumored to be available
Malcolm Brogdon, 29.
His extension is for $22.6 million next year, then $21.6 million and $23.4 million in the next two years until his contract ends in 2024-25. He’s already 29 and doesn’t regularly play enough anymore. Brogdon’s averaging 58 games per season going back three years before this one. He’s highly effective in the time he’s out there, using his strength to muscle his way to the basket. He’s (allegedly) available because Indy added Tyrese Haliburton at the deadline.
A Brogdon package from the Wizards would likely have to include KCP or Kuzma, one of Washington’s rookie-contract forwards and possibly a second-round pick. I think KCP is the more likely piece given his low guarantee next season.
Kemba Walker, turns 32 this May.
He was trade-dumped on OKC then bought out. I’m glad he got to have some moments in MSG as a Knick. That’s a cool story. I hope there is another chapter for him. Knicks Head Coach Tom Thibodeau may not agree with me. Don’t think Washington is going to be an option. Time to chase that ring.
Marcus Smart, turns 28 next month.
He’s having a good defensive year while putting up 12pts, 5 assists and 4 rebounds per game. Boston extended him to the tune of 4 years and $76.5 million through the end of the 25-26 season, plus a trade kicker.
Yowza! THAT is a commitment for a point guard shooting 31 percent from 3 this season and 32 percent for his career. He affects winning in so many other ways, evidenced by his 4.80 Wins Added. That’s higher than All-Stars Darius Garland (4.2) and LaMelo Ball (3.9).
Smart is famous for being the least available-available player on the Celtics. Oh, sure they’ll listen… and then decline offers for him. What’s changed? The Celtics acquired Derrick White from the Spurs. They do a lot of the same things but White’s contract is a bit more manageable with three years after this one and $52 million remaining. Could they be setting the table to flip Smart for a player and a first round pick after the draft order is settled?
Mike Conley, 34
Conley has 3 years and $68 million left from his most recent extension with the Jazz. I don’t think the front office is looking for a PG who may be over-the-hill, despite Conley being named an All-Star last year. He’s still playing efficiently with 14-5-3 on 28mpg. Another year over 41 percent from deep on 6 takes per game. 5.0 Wins Added. Durability is a concern though. He only played 98 games in the two seasons before this one.
I don’t think the Jazz are shopping for him though. Could they be looking to rearrange some salary outside of their biggest guns in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert? I could see a retooling in Salt Lake City.
Jrue Holiday, 31
Brainstorming has its drawbacks. It leads you down paths that end with a scenario where the Bucks fail to win back-to-back titles. Because of that, they look to break up some pieces and retool. It’s super unlikely. Even if Holiday was theoretically available he’s the type of talent that the Wizards may not have a good enough offer for.
D’Angelo Russell, 25.
He’s making $31.3 million next season, the last of his contract. He’s on this list because he’s eligible for a contract extension this summer. When the time comes he can command 30% of the salary cap. Rough math alert, his extension could be as high as 5 years, $209M. Russell’s play has put him in line to land that deal. 19-7-4 per night and 3.1 Wins Added despite being slightly negative defensively.
New owners or not, that’s a hell of a investment. It’s the kind of number that makes general managers look around at their options. Most likely they keep him locked up during his prime. Seeing as Minnesota is currently in the playoffs this story has a few more chapters before it's written.
Elevating a known quantity
Monte Morris, 26.
Owed $9 million in the 2022-23 season and $9.66 million in 2022-23. Morris was drafted by the Nuggets in 2017. That season was Wes Unseld Jr.’s’ third with Denver and second as the lead assistant to Michael Malone. If anyone knows how to do what Wes wants to do, it’s someone with four years of experience playing for him. This feels like a basketball version of the Head Coach-QB relationship in football. Besides age, Morris is a good shooter. He’s shooting 37.5 percent this season and 39 percent for his career from three point range. He’s shooting 39.6 percent on catch and shoot 3’s.
Monte has started 51-of-52 games this season. He’s currently fourth on the Nuggets in minutes played. Doesn’t sound like a guard available in a trade. When Jamal Murray returns, Morris’ minutes are bound to decline. Is that enough to make him available?
Decisions, decisions, decisions
Coby White, 22.
$7.4M salary in 2022. $9.9M Qualifying Option in 2023 as a RFA, if he isn’t extended.
Coby (Tar Heel) is eligible for an extension this summer. He’s slid into a reserve scoring guard role for the Bulls this year after starting 54 games last year. Chicago invested heavily in the point guard position last offseason signing Alex Caruso and sign-trading for Lonzo Ball. Zach Lavine will get his bag this summer. Is there $20M left for another guard? If not, could a swap of young recent lottery picks work for both sides?
The last time Chicago was in this position it was with Lauri Markkanen. They took him all the way to restricted free agency before engineering the trade that sent him to Cleveland in exchange for Derrick Jones Jr and a 1st round pick so they may not be interested in dealing just yet.