Just over one week removed from the NBA Draft lottery, there have yet to be any concrete reports directly tying teams to trades involving their 2022 first-round picks, but deductive reasoning is already leading to speculation.
The Kings, who own the fourth pick, and the Blazers, who pick seventh, are both having rival executives do the talking for them. The idea from the outside is that those teams want to compete now rather than wait on a top draft pick to develop in their system.
That makes sense and the same reasoning could be applied to the Pelicans, who pick eighth. They just made the postseason and already have a lot of young players they hope will continue to ascend in the coming years.
The Wizards are behind all of those teams with the dust still settling on their own draft position, at 10th overall, after they didn't move up or down in the lottery. They could consider either trading up or down, if they like a player expected to go ahead of them or if they want to maybe get two players instead of one later in the first round.
Let's examine some of those possibilities in terms of which teams could be trade partners and which players the Wizards could target in those deals.
If the Wizards moved up to fourth in a deal with the Kings, it would be costly, but maybe it would be to take Jaden Ivey, widely considered to be the best guard in the draft. Ivey is a combo guard, but perhaps they could see him as the starting point guard alongside Bradley Beal. Regardless of his position, Ivey's long-term ceiling appears to be high enough to take a chance on.
Moving up to seventh in a deal with the Blazers or eighth in a trade with the Pelicans wouldn't cost as much, but would still likely require something of considerable value like another first-round pick or a quality rotation player. In that range, barring an unexpected fall for one of the top prospects, maybe they could target a player they really like that won't quite make it to 10.
Some of the players who could go in that range are A.J. Griffin of Duke and Keegan Murray of Iowa. It's also possible a player projected to be there at 10 doesn't end up making it that far. Bennedict Mathurin of Arizona could be there, or a team ahead could bank on his star-caliber athleticism. G-League guard Dyson Daniels has been projected to go around where the Wizards select, but his stock is soaring after the combine with ESPN saying he's getting top-5 buzz.
Trading back in the first round could be a viable route for the Wizards. Say they like TyTy Washington of Kentucky and believe he could be the answer to their big-picture questions at point guard. Washington is projected to go 16th by ESPN, 19th by NBC Sports Washington and 23rd by The Ringer. If that range holds true, the Wizards could move back far enough to collect another first round pick and still get him.
There happen to be four teams with multiple first-round picks after the Wizards select in the first round:
Thunder: 12 and 30
Hornets: 13 and 15
Spurs: 20 and 25
Grizzlies: 22 and 29
(Both the Thunder and Spurs also have picks ahead of the Wizards in the top-10)
The best recent example for a framework trade would be in 2017 when the Kings had the 10th pick and shipped it to Portland for the 15th and 20th overall selections. None of those four teams' 2022 picks would perfectly align with that trade, but the Thunder and Hornets are interesting.
OKC would give the 12th and 30th picks, moving the Wizards back two spots, for what is a borderline second round pick. At 12 the Wizards could take Washington or go in a different direction with a two-way wing like Tari Eason (LSU), then hope a point guard falls to 30 like Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee).
It might be tough to get both 13 and 15 from Charlotte, but that type of offer would be hard for the Wizards to turn down. They could get Washington and then somebody else, maybe a versatile defender like Eason or Jeremy Sochan (Baylor).
In all likelihood, the Wizards won't trade their pick and will end up selecting someone at 10. But if they do want to change their draft position, keep an eye on those seven teams. Three to move up (Kings, Blazers and Pelicans) and four if they want to move down (Thunder, Hornets, Spurs and Grizzlies).