The new regime's cautious trade deadline approach

It was this time last year Washington traded away former 9th overall pick Rui Hachimura to the Lakers for 3 second round picks (‘23, ‘28, ‘29) and Kendrick Nunn. In what was on face value a middling return for a player some would hope to be a vital rotation piece for the future. One made likely of desperation, when possible, contract negotiations would be tough. And the sentiment only got worse when Hachimura became a vital member of the Lakers deep postseason run.

I mention this to reflect upon the supposed quietness of this year’s trade deadline. The longer I mull over the decisions or lack thereof, I feel better how the front office was more deliberate with their moves, thus getting a bigger return. From the two in-season trades:

WSH traded:

-Daniel Gafford

-Mike Muscala
-Danilo Gallinari

WSH received:

-Marvin Bagley III
-Isaiah Livers
-Richaun Holmes
-’24 FRP (est. #24-30 range)
-’25 SRP
-’26 SRP

All in all, this would be a great return for a few vets WSH got as salary filler and fan-favorite Gafford. I would argue Bagley has more upside than Gafford. And despite the low selection, there are plenty of example over the years of productive players within the range:

-Jimmy Butler
-Kyle Kuzma
-Jordan Poole

-Cam Thomas

-Desmond Bane

-Immanuel Quickley

-Keldon Johnson

-Robert Williams

-Anfernee Simons

But as to why WSH didn’t make more moves at the deadline could be driven by two underlying factors: salary cap and access to draft capital.

Like last offseason, it is likely the biggest trade deals will take place at the start of the next offseason. Contracts expire, options are picked up, and draft compensation are unlocked. Washington is expected to be under the salary cap and still have players (Jones (as a S&T), Shamet, and Kuzma) as tradeable assets.

As much as the front office is clowned for hoarding second round selections as of lately, they have taken a firm position to only take on long term bad contracts, limiting their cap flexibility for better draft compensation and prospects. And so far, I’m more encouraged by the new front office's deliberate approach towards rebuilding than a panicked one.

If last year is any indication, the big deals will come at the start of the next offseason. For now, the steady approach netted the franchise an additional first round pick with the likelihood of maybe more in the future.

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.