The NBA’s annual trade deadline ends at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 8. The Washington Wizards are expected to be sellers, but to a point.
Players expected to be on the trade block include:
- Tyus Jones
- Delon Wright
- Landry Shamet
- Daniel Gafford
- *Kyle Kuzma*
Out of those four, Jones appears most likely to get dealt. The NBA’s leader in assist-to-turnover ratio each of the last four years has enjoyed a career-best season, averaging 12.2 points and 6.3 assists on nearly 40% shooting from three.
Several teams are expected to be suitors for Jones, a career-backup PG that could boost a contenders bench come playoff time. As reported by Mike Scotto of HoopsHype, the teams reportedly interested in Jones include:
- Los Angeles Lakers
- San Antonio
Washington’s asking price remains firm at a first-round pick, preferably beyond the 2024 draft. However, teams have been hesitant to meet that price, offering a slew of second-round picks, as well as salary-filling contracts, for Jones’ services.
Winger and Dawkins will likely hold out for a first-rounder as long as they can, but with Jones’ upcoming free agency, the Wizards new front office may have to settle for whatever they can get.
Signed to a two-year, $16 million deal two offseasons ago, Wright has been terrific defensively ... when healthy. Delon missed a chunk of games to begin last season and did the same again this year.
For contending teams in need of perimeter defenders, Wright is the perfect addition. His on-ball defense can keep opposing guards in check, especially for teams that struggle defending the three-point line. Unfortunately for the Wizards, injuries have depleted Wright’s value a bit.
The expected return for the defensive stopper is a second-round pick, two of them at best, plus some salary filler. Similar to Jones, Wright is an unrestricted free agent this summer that doesn’t fit Washington’s timeline. It’s in the best interest for both parties to move on. Doing so now not only allows Wright to chase a ring, but also allows the Wizards to get some value in return.
Teams interest in Delon Wright include:
Report on Shamet’s availability have been radio silent thus far, but that doesn’t mean the sharpshooter won’t get dealt on Thursday. Shamet’s making just over $10 million this season, with the next year of his deal non-guaranteed. Shamet is only 26 years old, so should the Wizards hold on to him, it wouldn’t be farfetched to say they might pick up his contract for next year.
However, contending teams always welcome more shooting, and Shamet does that at a high level while handling his business defensively. There’s a reason Shamet’s been traded four times in his five-year career, all to contending teams for the most part.
I’d expect his value to match Wright’s. A second-round pick and possibly a young player should entice Washington move on from Shamet, who’s played well in a bench role this season.
Where this deadline can swing is at the center position, where Daniel Gafford has drawn interest from several contenders. Big men are at a premium in today’s NBA, especially in an Eastern Conference loaded with Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis, Bam Adebayo and Brook Lopez.
For a couple of Eastern conference teams, namely the Sixers and Knicks, injuries have depleted their previously strong front-courts. Joel Embiid was just diagnosed with a knee injury expected to sideline him for a month or two, while New York’s Mitchell Robinson could return at a similar date after recovering from his injury. With their championship windows open, trading for a center while their big men heal makes sense.
Now, the Wizards keeping Gafford is still very much an option and likely what happens. The 25-year-old is in year 1 of a three-year, team-friendly deal making just $13 million per season. Holding on to Gafford as the starting center of the future wouldn’t be the worst idea, even if you could take back a significant return.
The Wizards asking price will likely be a first-round pick, and I don’t believe they’ll settle for anything less, a bit different from their approach on Jones.
Teams expected to show interest in the Wizards big man:
- New York
One deal that’s surfaced amongst Wizards and Knicks Twitter sends Gafford to New York for Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier and a 2024 first-round pick (via NYK). A trade with Philly would likely include one of their backup center (Mo Bamba or Paul Reed), as well as a young player like Jaden Springer to compliment the first-round pick they include.
Kyle Kuzma, because other teams want him, though the Wizards don’t want to let him go
Kuzma’s name was encircled with asterisks in the beginning of this article, and for good reason. Kuz is easily the most polarizing trade asset the Wizards have, generating a ton of interest leaguewide. But he is probably not going anywhere.
Washington’s asking price has remained multiple first-round picks, as reported by Mike Scotto of HoopsHype. Competing reports pushed back a bit on the asking price, stating that it’s only a first-round pick and maybe a young player. No matter what you decide to believe, Washington’s relationship with Kuzma is strong.
It would be bizarre for Kuzma to take meetings with multiple teams in free agency and to re-sign with the Wizards, just for them to turn around and deal him seven months later. I think Kuz wants to be in D.C. long-term to see this rebuild through, and so does the Wizards brass.
Adding merit to this solid relationship, ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said on The Woj Pod that the Wizards are not trying to trade Kyle Kuzma.
“They’re not trying to trade (Kuzma). He’s happy. (The Wizards) love Kyle Kuzma. He really likes that organization,” Woj said. Albert Lee has more below.
Although desperate teams like the Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks could offer multiple firsts and young assets to the Wizards for Kuzma, this move is unlikely.
Let me know your predictions for the Wizards at Thursday’s trade deadline in the comments below!