Wizards mock trades 2.0: Turner instead of Sabonis?


After we presented you five mock trades the Wizards could consider as they approach the 2022 NBA trade deadline, we are back with five more after a few more teams have shown their cards.

Once again, they range in magnitude. One would represent a fairly sizable trade while the others are perhaps more realistic and of the mid-level variety.

These are vague approximations of what a deal could look like. They have been verified using ESPN's endlessly fun trade machine, but it's always guesswork coming up with these types of hypotheticals. Even league executives themselves don't know exactly what will get a deal done until they hear a 'yes' on the other end of the phone.

With that in mind, let's have at it...

Wizards get: Myles Turner
Pacers get: Rui Hachimura, Aaron Holiday and a top-6 2028 first round pick

The reasoning here would be simple. Wizards team president Tommy Sheppard calls up Kevin Pritchard, his counterpart in Indiana. They talk Domantas Sabonis, but Sheppard either isn't able to or isn't willing to meet the price tag, a very distinct possibility. So, Sheppard asks what about Turner? Turner is less-accomplished than Sabonis, without two All-Star nods on his resume, but because of that he would likely come cheaper and he's also arguably a better fit for the Wizards' immediate needs. Turner is also, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, being discussed in various deals, along with Sabonis.


Turner also has one less year on his contract, which could keep the price lower and give Indiana more incentive to deal him. If the Wizards could land him, they would get the best shot-blocker in the NBA (shot blocker, not rim protector), a guy who at 25 years old is leading the league in blocks for the third time in four years. He's also a better 3-point shooter than Sabonis. The Wizards, meanwhile, count paint defense and outside shooting as their biggest weaknesses. Now, Sabonis is better than Turner is, but given the likely very steep price tag, there are many reasons for them to target Turner instead. A league insider just the other day told NBC Sports Washington that he thinks the Wizards have three good No. 2 centers but need a starter. Imagine Turner as the starter with Daniel Gafford backing him up. You can build a good defense with that rotation as your anchor.

Wizards get: Mo Bamba
Pacers get: Thomas Bryant and a 2027 second round pick

Bamba is starting to emerge in Orlando as a shot-blocker, rebounder and 3-point threat. But given he struggled his first three years, and the current direction of the Magic, it wouldn't be surprising if they opted not to re-sign him long-term. Bamba, meanwhile, would give the Wizards another young big man alongside Gafford who could develop into a top-shelf rim-protector someday. Bamba also offers potential as a shooter, which helps him remain an intriguing prospect despite how his career has transpired so far.

In this scenario, the Wizards would give up Bryant, who is probably better than Bamba at this point, plus other assets. But they would be trading offense for defense, hoping Bamba could be a valuable two-way player in the near future. A trade like this wouldn't excite Wizards fans much or move the needle significantly in the short term, but it could make some sense.

Wizards get: Malik Beasley
Timberwolves get: Montrezl Harrell

This would be a matter of two teams hoping to make the playoffs this season trading from relative depth to help their cause. The Wizards have three centers, while the Timberwolves rank 16th in bench scoring. They could stand to improve in that area and Harrell would do the trick, giving a young Minnesota team a veteran presence off the bench behind Karl-Anthony Towns.

The Wizards, meanwhile, would bring in Beasley, who played for Wes Unseld Jr. when he was an assistant in Denver. Beasley is a good wing defender, which the Wizards could very much use, and he's a high-volume 3-point shooter. Beasley hasn't been knocking down threes this season at his usual clip, but he shot 39.7% across the previous three seasons. As far as players who can fill the Wizards' needs, Beasley would be among the best fits out there.

Wizards get: Jalen Smith, Elfrid Payton
Suns get: Thomas Bryant


This scenario would be about adding an ascending player in Smith on a rookie contract for Bryant, who is set to be a free agent, and Payton who could help shake up the Wizards' inconsistent point guard rotation. Smith doesn't play a ton in Phoenix, but he rates out as one of the better young defensive bigs in the league based on defensive field goal percentage and he's a very efficient rebounder in the minutes he's offered. In addition, he offers upside as a 3-point shooter and shot-blocker.

While many would like to see the Wizards make a consolidation move to level up at one position in particular, this would be doing the opposite. They would make the tough decision to part with Bryant, but in doing so add potential long-term with Smith and give them more depth at point guard.

Wizards get: Danilo Gallinari, Gorgui Dieng
Hawks get: Spencer Dinwiddie, Thomas Bryant

The Wizards might find if they added some 3-point shooting, the margin for error elsewhere, even on defense, would improve. They remain one of the worst teams in the NBA at shooting from the perimeter, so in this scenario they would be aiming to upgrade that area in a significant way. While they would part with Bryant, their best shooting big man, they would in return receive Gallinari who shoots 38.2% from three for his career and 40.1% over his last six seasons. 

The Hawks, meanwhile, would get Dinwiddie to be Trae Young's backup and hope he can get better defensively the further he gets removed from his ACL surgery. The Hawks have one of the best offenses and one of the worst defenses, so they will likely have defense in mind with whatever deadline moves they make. The Wizards would get back Gallinari and also Dieng, who is out of Atlanta's rotation and could slide in as the third center for the Wizards on the end of the bench.