Wizards lack this key asset ahead of 2022 NBA trade deadline


Ahead of his third trade deadline as Wizards general manager, Tommy Sheppard boasts some appetizing assets for bidders but there remains a glaring negotiating disadvantage. 

He has practically no immediate picks to trade. 

There are plenty of players that could be on the table. Young talent like the franchise's back-to-back ninth overall picks in Rui Hachimura (2019) and Deni Avdija (2020) continue to shine. Guys like Montrezl Harrell and Aaron Holiday have expiring deals that could be nice sweeteners to a package. Add in a trade exception from last year and it all makes for a good hand for Sheppard to deal with this year. Their biggest asset, of course, is star shooting guard Bradley Beal on a deal with a player option he could very well decline this offseason. 

Where the bad news comes in, as NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes points out, is Sheppard's lack of draft capital. This is problematic because of the Stepien Rule.

The next first-round draft pick the Wizards can send away is 2028. Washington's 2023 first was sent to Houston in the John Wall-Russell Westbrook trade. A couple of seconds in 2024 and 2028 went in that deal last offseason as well.

The Stepien Rule means the Wizards' firsts in 2022 and 2027 can't be dealt. The Wizards are also without their second-round picks in 2022, 20223 and 2025.

All that makes for a serious bargaining advantage other GMs will have over Sheppard for the chase of guys like Jerami Grant and Domantas Sabonis.


If teams like the Thunder, Pelicans, Rockets or Grizzlies come to an auction of one of the Wizards' targets, Sheppard will have to rely on their charming young international players and the value of expiring contracts from an energy guy like Harrell. 

Sheppard does also have the trade exception from the deal that sent Moritz Wagner to the Celtics. The Wizards can take in $2.16 million more than they ship out, though a negative balance in the luxury tax prevents the Wizards from reaping any longterm benefits from that. 

Sheppard's plans to build around Beal will be tested over the next week. The impact of the results could end up in some exciting deals to keep their franchise player happy.