The NBA trade deadline talk will heat up each day between now and the Feb. 23 deadline at 3 p.m. ET, but a two-month hot streak has the Wizards in no hurry to do anything, league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com, while Ian Mahinmi tries to work his way back onto the court.
Mahinmi had platelet-rich therapy on both knees Dec. 20 after missing all but one game after left knee surgery and tendinitis in the right one that developed. His recovery is projected to take six weeks, which would line him up to return next week.
His absence has required Jason Smith to log more minutes in his place, and while the Wizards have their ears open it's seems unlikely that they'll make any quick decisions.
For instance, the Orlando Magic are trying to move Serge Ibaka and his $12.5 million salary, according to Sporting News. Ibaka, however, is a free agent this summer where he can earn a hefty raise with the salary cap going up again. Otto Porter, who is having a career season as the NBA's top three-point shooter in accuracy, is a higher priority for the Wizards anyway.
Like this time last season when the Wizards were in desperate need ot a "stretch" power forward with Ryan Anderson available at the deadline, they weren't giving up assets to the New Orleans Pelicans (namely draft picks) for a player who wouldn't be obligated to return. That's why they opted to deal for Markieff Morris instead because he only cost $8 million per yaear on average and was locked in through 2019. Giving up a pick to acquire him with that cost certainity and knowing he'd return made him the better option.
The 2017 draft is considred to be a much deeper draft which makes the picks more valuable.
The Wizards, other league sources said, believe that Mahinmi has a chance to play before the All-Star break that begins after a Feb. 16 road game at the Indiana Pacers. That's eight games, starting Tuesday vs. the N.Y. Knicks, but Mahinmi has to go full-contact practice before he can play.