The off-season is officially underway for the Washington Wizards. To the dismay of many fans, the same front office will be making the big decisions this off-season. The Wizards have already extended General Manager Ernie Grunfeld. Grunfeld makes terrible decisions when it comes to free agency, but one thing that he’s shown some level of competency in is making trades. With that said here are some potential trade targets for the Wizards.
Aaron Gordon PF Orlando Magic
John Wall wants the Wizards to get an athletic big man. Scott Brooks wants the Wizards to shoot more threes. Orlando Magic‘s Aaron Gordon is a young power forward who could potentially check both boxes for Washington. If nothing else, Gordon is an amazing athlete. That’s one box. This season Gordon shot .336 percent on 3-point shots per 36 minutes, averaging 6.4 attempts. In comparison, the Wizards current starting forward Markieff Morris shot .367 percent but with just 3.8 attempts. Morris shot slightly better but he also took nearly half as many shots. Gordon will be just 23 years old at the start of next season. Morris will be 29. At such a young age, Gordon still has so much room to grow as a player and would make an excellent addition to the Wizards.
Gordon is a restricted free agent so this would have to be a sign and trade. If Orlando decides to give Gordon a max contract, a deal centered on Otto Porter may get it done. Orlando has a new front office who didn’t draft Gordon and maybe willing to part with him in order to make room for Jonathan Isaac.
Trey Lyles PF Denver Nuggets
Trey Lyles would be able to come in for the Wizards and immediately be a legitimate stretch four. Per 36 minutes, Lyles shot .381 percent from three with 5.6 attempts per game this season for the Denver Nuggets. The young man is just 22 years old and a decent rebounder. He’d bring some much needed shooting and youth to the Wizards front court. Lyles also showed some ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket if the defense closes too hard. It likely wouldn’t take much to get Lyles from the Nuggets. He played just 19 minutes per game for the Nuggets this season with under 10 points a night. He’s currently sitting behind Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic in the front court rotation. Wilson Chandler transitioning to more of a stretch four role off the bench also diminishes minutes that would be there for Lyles. In Washington he’d get more time, leading to more production.
Financially, a straight up Lyles for Kelly Oubre swap would work for both teams. Both players have a year remaining on their contracts before entering restricted free agency. Oubre could possibly fill the role that Chandler doesn’t quite fit anymore for Denver. They’re the same age and would both fill a need for their new teams.
Kawhi Leonard SF San Antonio Spurs
Some would say this is the most unrealistic trade, but after further thought, it’s not too crazy. We all know what Kawhi Leonard can do so there’s no point in including stats for him, and he doesn’t really have much stats for this season. Let’s start with why this isn’t as far-fetched as it seems. First of all, if the Spurs are interested in trading Leonard at all, it won’t be to another Western Conference team. That alone eliminates half the league. In the East, only the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers have the young talent that would be appealing to San Antonio.
Let’s assume that Boston wouldn’t be willing to part with Jayson Tatum. No Tatum, no deal would likely be San Antonio’s response. Then there’s Philadelphia. The offer would likely be some combination of draft picks, Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, and a few other guys to make it work financially. Saric is good. Fultz is probably good too, but it hasn’t been seen yet. That maybe too big of a risk for the Spurs to take.
The Wizards could offer Porter, or Bradley Beal. Both are proven NBA players. Beal is a legit 20 points a night guard, and that’s with him playing second fiddle to Wall. Porter is already one of the best shooters in the league, with lots more potential. Gregg Popovich is just the type of coach that could unlock and take advantage of his full skillset. Porter and Tomas Satoransky for Leonard and Patty Mills works in the ESPN trade machine. Satoransky is a big point guard who would also excel on a Popovich-led team. Mills would provide a great spark off the bench for the Wizards and Satoransky, at 26 years old, could possibly be the Spurs starting point guard for a couple years.