After John Wall’s two major injuries a couple of years back, the Washington Wizards have not been able to regain their place as one of the legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference. Bradley Beal has remained the common denominator of this roster, but he has not been the No. 1 guy that is needed for any serious championship contender.
The Wizards’ front office has been hesitant to rebuild their roster as they executed deals to try and surround Beal with sufficient talent, but their moves have been beneficial for the short term only. Russell Westbrook is one player who was sensational in a Wizards uniform for only a couple of months propelling them to a first-round exit against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The stubbornness of the front office continues to persist and hopefully, it stops by the trade deadline as they must move these guys before February 9 to maximize their trade value.
In his first season with Washington, Will Barton was traded from the Denver Nuggets, but he has been abysmal in the final year of his contract. The expectation was for Barton to raise his play to another level because he will want to receive the bag in the offseason, but his production this year has made him close to unplayable on particular matchups.
At 32 years old, Barton’s next contract may likely be one of his last ones, but it would improbable to demand any sort of amount if he continues to be horrific. Will Barton’s salary at $14 million is the perfect salary filler for any deal because it will expire by the offseason so the opposing side will not hesitate in absorbing his salary.
Similar to Barton, Kyle Kuzma will likely sign a new contract in the offseason because he has a player option for next year, which he will likely reject. Kuzma is in the middle of a breakout season, so there have been many suitors who are willing to acquire him for the trade deadline and sign him to an extension to retain him for at least several seasons.
The evolution of basketball has put a premium on guys like Kyle Kuzma who can shoot and score at a high level along with defending a top-tier wing in the association. Kuzma has been averaging close to 22 PPG with a .550% true shooting percentage, and he has proven that he can adjust to being a reliable role player during his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kuzma is unlikely to stay in Washington for the long term, so the Wizards must move him before it’s too late.
Kristaps Porzingis is arguably the best player among this bunch, but he is also the hardest to trade because of the guaranteed money on his current contract. Along with Kuzma, Porzingis has a player option for next season at $36 million, which he will likely exercise. If they are unable to move either Porzingis or Bradley Beal before the start of next season, they will be paying two individuals a whopping amount of over $80 million for a squad that is far from the top of the East.
Porzingis is averaging 22 PPG and 9 RPG and more importantly, 40 games played out of the 45 Wizards games this season. Durability has always been a concern for Kristaps Porzingis so being healthy at this juncture might be the best time to ship him elsewhere. For him to get traded last season was a shocking revelation, so moving him again is not far from the realm of possibilities.