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Washington Wizards Get: Ryan Anderson, Elie Okobo, 2019 first-round pick (via Milwaukee Bucks)
After a 119-100 loss to the lowly Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, the Washingon Wizards have sunk to a 2-8 record. Based on margin of victory and strength of schedule, their minus-7.7 SRS leaves them at No. 27 in the overall hierarchy, right between the Mavericks (minus-7.13) and Phoenix Suns (minus-10.99). With a minus-10.1 net rating, they’re outplaying only the Cavaliers (minus-10.9) and Suns (minus-13.0).
And that’s just from a purely objective standpoint. The situation is bad enough without diving into any chemistry concerns or organizational malfeasance that could be plaguing the nation’s capital.
As ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe wrote, a specific change might be necessary:
“The Wizards’ problems go way beyond [John] Wall. He didn’t trade all those picks. [Otto] Porter has been a nonentity through nine games. They have gotten nothing from their centers outside of [Dwight] Howard. [Head coach] Scott Brooks isn’t at the root of any of this, but he hasn’t been able to shake Washington out of it yet, either…
“Trading Wall might be Washington’s only get-out-of-jail card. Trading [Bradley] Beal would hurt the team. Porter wouldn’t bring enough return to make a difference.”
This is almost impossible before the season ends because of Wall’s 15 percent trade kicker, which Lowe covers at length. But let’s pretend the situation grows so dire for Washington that it’s forced to bite the proverbial bullet. Combined with the Phoenix Suns’ inevitable desire to add a talented point guard, that could make this suggested transaction at least somewhat viable.
Pairing Wall, a talented distributor and scorer who can function as a solid off-ball defender when properly motivated, with Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton would be a dream for the Suns. Though the five-time All-Star would be joining a squad even less successful than his current outfit, he’d be helping form a new, promising nucleus with legitimate hope of rising up the Western Conference ladder.
Washington, meanwhile, would get to add another first-round draft pick (via the Milwaukee Bucks) and a high-upside replacement at the point in Elie Okobo. Phoenix can afford to give up both assets (along with Ryan Anderson, who has played only 22.2 minutes per game thus far in 2018-19), especially because it still owns its own first-rounder.
Again, the finances make this unlikely. But good luck finding a better destination for Wall if he isn’t going to remain in a Wizards uniform.
Adam Fromal covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @fromal09.