The Washington Wizards are expected to get Monte Morris and Will Barton from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium on Wednesday.
Denver is nearing trading Monte Morris and Will Barton to Washington in deal for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 29, 2022
Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington confirmed that the move has happened, and an announcement will happen soon.
Can confirm @WashWizards have traded for Monte Morris and Will Barton from Denver. The Nuggets will receive KCP and Ish Smith. Wizards got their starting PG and a two way player in Baltimore native Barton. First reported by @ShamsCharania— Chris Miller (@cmillsnbcs) June 29, 2022
Assuming the trade framework holds up, the most important piece of the deal is Morris, a 6’2 point guard. He was Denver’s starting point guard last year. He averaged 12.6 points and 4.4 assists per game and shot 48.4 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from the three point line (he made an average of 1.7 threes per game). Morris’ usage rating was 17.4 percent last season, which shouldn’t interfere too much with Bradley Beal, who had a usage rate of 30.8 percent last season. Either way, the Wizards will have a starting quality point guard who is a good three point shooter without forcing their franchise player to take a step back.
Barton, a 6’6 swingman, is a 10-year NBA veteran and a Baltimore native. He averaged 14.7 points and 3.9 assists per game for Denver last season in 71 appearances. He made 36.5 percent of his threes (2.2 makes per game) and is the Nuggets’ all-time leader in three pointers made, in large part because he has been in Denver since 2015. The Nuggets were 48-34 in the 2021-22 NBA season and made the first round of the NBA playoffs.
There are two takeaways from this trade. First, it’s clear that both Barton and Morris appear to be starters this fall for the Wizards, given that they had similar roles on a much better team for the last few seasons. In addition, Barton’s arrival, in particular, could mean that the Wizards are willing to trade more of their players who can play the small forward position, like Deni Avdija or Kyle Kuzma.
Second, this move was likely done to put Wizards head coach Wes Unseld, Jr. around players whom he has worked well with in the past. Barton and Morris have played for the Nuggets when Unseld was an assistant from 2015-21.
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