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2018 NBA Trade Deadline: Seven potential players Wizards could trade for before deadline

2018 NBA Trade Deadline: Seven potential players Wizards could trade for before deadline

NBA trade season is officially underway.

Kicked off by the blockbuster trade between the Clippers and the Pistons, it's more likely than not that a flurry of other moves are about to follow.

The John Wall injury puts the Wizards' status as buyers in question, but if should they want to get some midseason help, here's who's worth taking a look at: 


Kemba Walker, PG, Hornets

2017-18 Stats: 22.1 PPG, 5.8 APG, 1.2 SPG

Contract: $12 million/year (UFA in 2019)

Why he would fit: This one's obvious. The Wizards are going to be without John Wall for several weeks, and Kemba Walker would slide in terrifically as the team's point guard in his Wall's absence. When John returns, Walker would be one of the best backup point guards in the NBA, and could even make for some dynamic 3-guard lineups with Wall and Beal.

Tyreke Evans, PG, Grizzlies

2017-18 Stats: 19.5 PPG, 5.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 39.2 3P%

Contract: $3.29 million/year (UFA in 2018)

Why he would fit: Another clear replacement for John Wall. Evans is a speedy PG (though, like most players, not as fast as Wall) who has been in the league for 8 years, so he brings some experience to the Wizards backcourt. Similarly to Kemba Walker, Evans would make an excellent backup even when Wall is healthy. The question is how much would the team be willing to give up for a rental?

Lou Williams, SG, Clippers

2017-18 Stats: 23.5 PPG, 5.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 39.4 3P%

Contract: $7 million/year (UFA in 2018)

Why he would fit: There was talk of the Wizards targeting Williams prior to last year's trade deadline, so it makes sense that they'd consider him again. Williams can light up the scoreboard and has experience coming off the bench, which will be very valuable to the Wizards once Wall returns, especially considering how much they've struggled to score with bench lineups in recent seasons. Again, the question is how much the team should give up for a rental who won't come cheap, but the fit in the Wizards backcourt makes sense.

Rodney Hood, SG, Utah

2017-18 Stats: 16.7 PPG, 1.7 APG, 0.8 SPG, 38.6 3P%

Contact: $2.3 million/year (RFA 2018) 

Why he would fit: The case for Hood makes even more sense after Wall's latest injury. Unlike Walker or Williams, Hood comes at a price that the Wizards can probably afford. By no means is he a perfect fit (realistically he couldn't be the primary ball handler), Hood could probably be had without parting with this year's first-round pick, something the Wizards seem keen on keeping. 

Marc Gasol, C, Memphis

2017-18 Stats: 17.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.5 BPG, .467 eFG%

Contract: $22 million/year (UFA 2020) 

Why he would fit: Because he's one of the league's premier centers and would realistically fit on most teams. Gasol goes into the "pipe dream" category, as the Wizards would probably have to move mountains to make this happen. Not only would it take the Wizards' first-round pick this year, but it'd probably take another first-round pick down the road, along with, like, half the Wizards' roster. The Wizards already have two centers on the other side of 30 under sizeable contracts, but Gasol would immediately make the Wizards an Eastern Conference favorite. 

DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers

2017-18 Stats: 11.9 PPG, 14.8 RPG, 1.0 BPG, .668 eFG%

Contract: $21 million/year (2018 UFA) 

Why he would fit: Two words: expiring contract. What makes Jordan more of an attractive asset than Gasol is the fact that he'll be an unrestricted free agent at year's end. It'd be the perfect move to make should the Wizards feel like they're in the prime of this team's championship window. The Clippers are reportedly not pleased with how the market has developed for Jordan so far, but with impending free agency looming large, they don't have the same leverage to demand a king's ransom in return. 

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Though not a big man, first round pick Troy Brown fills several needs for Wizards

Though not a big man, first round pick Troy Brown fills several needs for Wizards

The Wizards' selection of Troy Brown of the University of Oregon with their first round pick has been met with a strong reaction among fans, many of whom argue he doesn't play a position of need, that it was a luxury pick when other areas could have been addressed, most notably in their frontcourt. Big man Robert Williams of Texas A&M, for example, was still on the board. 

The Wizards, though, did address needs by picking Brown. And really, they arguably filled more pressing needs in the short-term than those at power forward and center.

Though the Wizards clearly need some help at big man in the long-term, as both of their starting bigs are on expiring deals, they need help immediately at both shooting guard and small forward. Brown, though he is only 18 years old and offers no guarantees to contribute right away, can play both of those positions.

Shooting guard is where he can help the most. The Wizards have one backup shooting guard in Jodie Meeks and he is due to miss the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season while serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Even when Meeks was available this past season, he only helped so much. He shot just 39.9 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three. Head coach Scott Brooks often chose to rely more on starter Bradley Beal than go to Meeks as his replacement. As a result, Beal logged the fourth-most minutes of any player in the NBA.

More depth at shooting guard will help relieve Beal of some of that workload. That would be great for keeping him fresh throughout the season and help him be at his best when they need him most in the playoffs.

The Wizards also have some urgency at small forward. It is their strongest position in terms of one-two on the depth chart, but they have no logical third option. That was magnified in the playoffs once Otto Porter got injured. They were left with Kelly Oubre, Jr. and had to trot out Tomas Satoransky, who has limited experience at the position.

Brown can play both shooting guard and small forward, giving them much needed depth. If he can play well enough to earn a rotation spot, the emergency situations the Wizards encountered last season could be avoided in 2018-19.

The Wizards still need to find long-term solutions at power forward and center, but they were going to need to find answers at shooting guard and small forward as well. Both Meeks and Oubre have one year left on their deals. Brown helps solidify the long-term outlook at wing.

Now, there's no denying the Wizards already had considerable talent at both shooting guard and small forward with Beal, Porter and Oubre. That begs the question of how much Brown can offer particularly in the first year of his career. But the Wizards would like to play more positionless basketball and to do that requires depth at wing.

The Boston Celtics have helped make positionless basketball famous and their roster shows that the one player-type you can't have enough of is similar to Brown. Boston has Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris. All are around 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8 and offer versatility on both ends of the floor.

The Wizards also now have four players of that size and with positional versatility in Brown, Porter, Oubre and Satoransky. They can roll out different combinations of those guys and possibly have an advantage on defense with the ability to switch seamlessly on screens.

In the age of positionless basketball, players of Brown's ilk have become major assets especially for teams that have many of them. There is such a thing as having too many point guards or centers because they can't coexist on the floor. Versatile wings, in most scenarios, can play together in numbers.

It's different but in a way similar to certain positions in other sports. In baseball, you can have too many catchers but you can't have too many talented pitchers and utility players. In football, you can have too many running backs or tight ends, but you can't have too many defensive linemen. 

Brown gives them options from a roster perspective in the long-term. Oubre has one year left on his contract and if he continues his trejectory with a strong 2018-19 season, he could price himself out of Washington. Brown could move up the depth chart as his replacement one year from now. The Wizards also now have the option to consider trades at the position given their depth.

The problem, one could argue, with drafting Brown over a Williams-type is that it limits their options at center in particular. Drafting Williams would have made it easier to trade Marcin Gortat, for instance, because they would have had depth to deal from. Now, it's more difficult to trade Gortat, whom they have shopped on and off for months, without a plan to replace him. Finding a Gortat substitute in free agency with the limited resource they have would not be easy.

But big man wasn't their only need and in Brown the Wizards may have found a solution at other areas where they clearly needed help.


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Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon will take time, much like Tomas Satoransky did


Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon will take time, much like Tomas Satoransky did

The first round of the NBA Draft played out expectedly for what the Wizards had planned for the night. In Troy Brown, they clearly got the guy they wanted all along, seeing as there were many interesting prospects they passed on to choose him.

The second round was a bit more chaotic. Team president Ernie Grunfeld said there were a few players picked just ahead of them at No. 44 that they had their eyes on. They contemplated trading up, but no perfect deals were presented.

So, they decided to think long-term, like really long-term. In choosing Ukrainian point guard Issuf Sanon, the Wizards understand it may be years before he plays in the NBA.

"We hope to have him developed in a few years," Grunfeld said.

Sanon, just 18, plays for Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia. He may stay in Europe into his 20s before he comes to the United States.

The Wizards have utilized the draft-and-stash model with other players. Their 2015 second round pick, Aaron White, has been playing in Europe for the past three seasons.

Sometimes those players never convey and contribute for the Wizards. But sometimes they do and Grunfeld pointed to a player already on their roster as a model to consider.

"We drafted Tomas [Satoransky] at an earlier age, he went overseas [and] he played at the highest level and it got him ready for the NBA," Grunfeld said.

The difference between now and then is that the Wizards have a G-League franchise starting this fall, the Capital City Go-Go. Because of that, it seemed more likely going into the draft that the Wizards would use the second round pick on a guy who can play there right away. 

Grunfeld, however, opted for roster flexibility. By keeping Sanon in Europe, the Wizards can have another open roster spot. They could either fill that spot, or leave spots on the end of their roster open as they did for much of last season.

"We want to preserve a roster spot, so just because you draft someone in your second round, if you sign him, he still has a roster spot even if you let him play for the GoGo," Grunfeld said.

Sanon may have a bright future. He is a 6-foot-4 point guard with impressive athleticism who doesn't turn 19 until October. He said he models his game after Russell Westbrook, as a guard who can score the ball. More will be known about him once he plays for their summer league team in July.

The Wizards passed on several interesting prospects to pick Sanon. Still on the board were Keita Bates-Diop of Ohio State, Hamidou Diallo of Kentucky and Svi Mykhailiuk of Kansas, three players they brought in for pre-draft workouts. But instead, they went with a long-term investment, hoping they found the next Satoransky.


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