Wizards players react to trade deadline


WASHINGTON -- Kyle Kuzma put it most succinctly, that the Wizards "didn't do much" on trade deadline day Thursday. Their deadline deal was made weeks earlier when they sent Rui Hachimura to the Lakers for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks.

What Thursday did is serve as a reminder that the roster the Wizards have is the one they will remain with for the rest of the season, barring minor tweaks. Saturday night against the Pacers was a good first step, as they won in blowout fashion against a team in the hunt for the play-in tournament.

But if the Wizards close the deal on a playoff berth, they will need to do so with the team they have.

"Now this is our team," Bradley Beal said. "You can't make any adjustments now, you've gotta ride it out throughout the rest of the year. We've got 25-plus left, so we've gotta really strap 'em up, lace 'em on, go out and compete."

Beal, who had 32 points against the Pacers, stated the obvious about the Wizards' chances moving forward. That is, they need to stay healthy. Washington improved to 26-29 on the season with their win against Indiana, but have reason to feel they are more talented than their record would suggest.

Injuries have so far played a major factor in their results and that is more a fact than an excuse. It's also not to say they won't happen again.


The Wizards just recently got Beal back from a two-game absence due to left foot soreness. It was one of several minor ailments he has endured this season. Beal has missed 22 of the team's 55 games.

"It starts with me. I've gotta make sure I'm available more than anything and that I'm locked in and ready to lead," Beal said.

Beal has missed a good chunk of games this year. So has Delon Wright, who has proven since returning from a hamstring injury to be an essential part of their rotation.

The Wizards have been fortunate to have Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis available for the vast majority of their games. But with only 27 games left, it's possible they will have to overcome more adversity down the stretch.

After winning 15 of their last 24 games, the Wizards are ninth in the East, just two games out of the eighth seed and five games back from sixth.

"I mean, we've gotta win games, plain and simple. We've gotta just figure it out. We've been incredibly consistent at being inconsistent this year," Kuzma said.

"It's definitely been tough with some injuries and guys coming in and coming out. We're trying to figure out playing with different lineups and different groups. That's the NBA, it's not an excuse because all 30 teams go through that."

Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said he talked to the team after the trade deadline about the road ahead. He wanted his players to understand this is basically the final version of their 2022-23 roster.

No one is going anywhere and no major help is on the way. They have two months left in the regular season with the goal of making the playoffs and making some noise once they get there.

"If we're going to make moves in the standings, we've gotta rely on each other that much more," Unseld Jr. said.