It’s time for the Wizards to rebuild, plain and simple. The team isn’t even in the top ten in the conference, and we just lost John Wall. Although the Wiz are probably going to make the playoffs, it would be far better for the team’s future to look past 2019, trade some assets, and initiate a full-scale rebuild.
First, let’s go through the team’s roster and salary cap situation and evaluate options for every player under contract. Note: The contracts listed do not include the 2018-19 season, instead what the team owes in the future.
PG John Wall – 4 years, $170 million, Avg Salary: $42 million
The Knicks are Washington’s only shot at escaping Wall’s disaster of a contract. Unfortunately, what’s more likely is Ernie having to build a young roster around Wall, and dealing with the huge cap hit for the next several years as best he can.
SG Bradley Beal – 2 years, $55 million, Avg Salary: $27 million
A few weeks ago, I would’ve wanted the team to strike a Beal deal that paid off with significant assets, but considering his recent performances, I’d hate to see him go. Beal is clearly the face of the franchise now, and I hope we can keep him through all the roster uncertainty. He could absolutely garner plenty of value in a trade, but it’s tough to justify trading him for almost anything unless we also throw in John Wall and go full-send with a rebuild.
SF Otto Porter Jr. – 1 year, $27 million, Player Option for the next year
Otto has also been involved in trade talks, and if Ernie were to get rid of Otto and his ballooned contract, it would be one of the best moves he’s made as the Wizards GM.
What’s more realistic is keeping him in the hopes that he returns to last year’s great form. He can be a great third option if all Porter, Beal, and Wall can all manage to stay healthy, just like the 2016 playoffs.
PF Markieff Morris (Injured) – Expiring Contract, Unrestricted Free Agent
Morris is going to be asking for around 12 million/yr, which doesn’t look like a great move: He’s 29 and probably wants three years- not the best investment for a team looking to rebuild.
But now, the flipside: Kief is a crucial part of the team’s chemistry. Plus, he’s been around for long enough to remember the Wizards being good in the playoffs, so he may be the type of player the Wizards need when the times get tough.
C Dwight Howard (Injured) – Expiring Contract, Player Option for ‘19-’20
If he accepts his player option, the Wizards would be paying Dwight $5.6 million — a solid price for a seasoned veteran with the potential to groom young big men like our stud Thomas Bryant.
Sadly, unless we make a big trade, he probably won’t fit in. When was the last time Dwight excelled on a team where he wasn’t the first or second option? If he can somehow maneuver the big career change, it’ll work out.
Important to note is that he’s found success on rebuilding teams in the past. He could make him worth a trade this season, and if he’s not interested, maybe Ernie could dump him off for some late round picks, considering how deep this year’s draft is. Dwight could be a solid addition to a contending team in desperate need of a big man
SF Trevor Ariza – Expiring Contract, Unrestricted Free Agent
This one’s easy: He absolutely does not need to be re-signed. Ariza hasn’t added much to the team thus far, and unless he starts making his mark on the locker room soon, he won’t be missed. Plus — good Lord — he’s . If we keep him, it would have to be significantly cheap. Perhaps a one year, $7 million contract that would make him a valuable trade piece would be worth the investment.
C Thomas Bryant – Expiring Contract, Restricted Free Agent
Ernie Grunfeld will have an absolute riot on his hands if he doesn’t re-sign Bryant. He’s been great as a stand-in for Dwight this season and shows lots of potential. It would cost around $10 million/year to extend him for a few seasons, and the Wizards would be deeply mistaken to miss that opportunity and let him walk.
PG Tomas Satoransky – Expiring Contract, Restricted Free Agent
Every time he’s gotten minutes, Sato has proven his worth as a solid bench piece that won’t break the bank. He’s efficient, doesn’t turn the ball over, and doesn’t need the ball to be productive. We’re already in extension talks, and that process is shaping up to cost us around five or six million/year. Any proven, serviceable point guard playing for under 8 million/yr is a huge asset. Sato can stay under contract for the next few seasons taking some of the pressure off Wall and Beal.
PF Jeff Green Expiring Contract, Unrestricted Free Agent
Uncle Jeff has played well as a relief for Otto and can be kept for cheap. He’s a great guy to have in the locker room and has the experience of playing on many teams. He’s seen it all and knows his role, what could be better for Washington.
SF Sam Dekker Expiring Contract, Restricted Free Agent
Dekker has played well as the team’s fourth forward, so although it doesn’t really hurt the team to re-sign him, ultimately all he’ll do is take away minutes from Troy Brown Jr.. He could be worth a trade for a second rounder sometime in the future.
SF Troy Brown Jr. 2 years, $6 million, 2 years of Team Option
If the Wizards blow up this roster, Brown Jr. will play a huge role in how they perform as a rebuilding squad. Although he should be seeing more minutes now, it’s tough to imagine that he wouldn’t see loads of minutes on a below-average roster.
C Ian Mahinmi – 2 years, $32 million, Avg Salary: $16 million
Not much needs to be said about Ian that isn’t already evident. It’s likely we’re going to have to bite the bullet and play out his contract, but it’s going to be painful. Let’s hope that any potential trades for Beal or Wall include Mahinmi as well.
Just for the sake of being thorough, we can mention SF Devin Robinson and PG Jordan McCrae. It’s too early to speak on their potential, but we’ll keep them on the watch list. Hopefully Devin will be yamming on some more fools in the near future.
Now, let’s talk trades.
We’d probably have to wait until the summer to deal John, but here are some possible deals that the Wiz could make happen.
John Wall Destinations:
New York Knicks:
New Orleans Pelicans
Bradley Beal Destinations:
The Mavericks and Hornets have also expressed interest in Beal, but they just simply don’t have the trade-able assets to get a deal done.