When the Wizards were in the market for a sharpshooting forward heading into the 2019-20 season, a guy known as the ‘Latvian Laser’ obviously came close to the top of their list.
When Davis Bertans first arrived in D.C., he was highly touted for his long-range shooting ability, as he capped off his last season in San Antonio as one of the league’s top-three shooters from distance. And during his first season in Washington, Bertans made good on his resume, nailing 42.4% of his threes and scoring a career-high 15.4 points per game.
Since then, though, the marriage between Bertans and the Wizards hasn't been as fruitful. Washington inked him to a gargantuan five-year, $80 million deal—a deal he has not yet proven he’s worth. His 3-point accuracy has gone down since arriving in D.C., from 42% his first year to 40% last season and finally to a career-low 32% this season.
His total numbers have also gone down, as Bertans is putting up just 6.0 ppg, 0.5 apg, and 1.9 rpg while playing just over 15 minutes per game during the current campaign—all lows since the big man arrived in Washington.
The Wizards could decide to move on from Bertans altogether before the February 10 deadline, and per NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes, he's one Washington's most likely trade candidates. However, the issue isn’t so much that Washington will be losing him, but rather that Bertans’ $80 million deal will make him tough to move. Still, here are some potential and doable trade options for the Wizards.
Oklahoma City Thunder
If you’ve been following the NBA recently, you know the Thunder are stockpiling draft picks like they’re non-perishable goods during the apocalypse. From now through the 2028 draft, OKC holds 38 draft picks. Thirty. Eight.
So we’ve covered the fact the Thunder have assets they can lose in order to acquire shooting. Now let’s go over the logistics of why they would, and could, acquire Bertans.
Oklahoma City currently sits dead last in the NBA in 3-point percentage as they hit just 31.1% of their long-range shots. Plus, they’re the only NBA team that has active cap space, as they have over $24 million in their pockets to spend according to Spotrac.
The need is there (3-point shooting), along with the ability (cap space) to acquire Bertans. Washington will be fine letting go of Bertans as it’ll free up their own cap and allow other players like Corey Kispert to show off their own shooting ability over the next few years.
Trade Machine Suggestion: Bertans, Anthony Gill and Isaiah Todd for Mike Muscala, Aleksej Pokusevski, and OKC 2022 second-round pick
Washington and Detroit have already been spoken in the same breath regarding trade options heading into this season’s deadline, with Pistons forward Jerami Grant mentioned frequently as having a potential suitor in D.C. Washington could be on the end of a win-win deal as they can package Bertans and some other assets for Grant.
As with OKC, Detroit also sits favorably on the scale of cap space to three-point shooting needs. They are the second-worst team when it comes to shots from distance, and also hold the league’s ninth-most cap space.
Bertans, Grant and other assets could be on the move to satisfy both sides as Washington could acquire the forward that could finally set himself apart as a clear-cut starter for the squad.
Trade Machine Suggestion: Bertans, Rui Hachimura and WSH 2028 first-round pick for Jerami Grant
Though Boston isn’t exactly in a favorable position with their cap space, they have a need for some bench scoring. The Celtics put up the NBA’s third-least bench points per game and sit 22nd in terms of total 3-point shooting. Though their starting duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are one of the best one-two punches in the league, the Celtics could sure use a sharpshooter and a veteran to stabilize their young squad.
Washington also needs defense. Boston has the league’s seventh-best plus-minus—a list on which the Wizards sit at 23rd. Certain young Celtics could come to D.C. and immediately provide a defensive boost for a team that needs it in order to make a late-season push. Also, a young player with injury issues but loads of upside AND a family connection to the Wizards could be involved in the trade as well.
Trade Machine Suggestion: Bertans and Aaron Holiday for Grant Williams and Bol Bol
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland is one of those enigmatic teams. They have loads of backcourt talent in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, plus depth in the frontcourt with Jusuf Nurkic among others. A Friday trade which sent away Norman Powell and Robert Covington shook up the internet, yet they still are well out of a playoff spot with a 21-30 record. In fact, the Powell trade could even suggest the Blazers are in the infant stages of a rebuild, meaning they might want to offload some more talent.
One way the Blazers can climb over the hump is to trade away some assets for much-needed bench scoring—Portland only scores 30.2 points per game from non-starters. Add Bertans off the bench and their entire second unit could flow a bit easier. Plus, with this suggested trade, the Wizards could add depth behind Daniel Gafford at center and get further depth at forward
Trade Machine Suggestion: Bertans and Rui Hachimura for Jusuf Nurkic and Larry Nance Jr.