Back by the popular demand of pretty much only myself, it’s the second annual edition of Around the NBA in 15 Trades. We’re taking all 30 teams in the lead up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline and finding a happy middle ground for prosperous barterdom.
For Day 3, we take a dive into the lottery and exchange bad contracts from two floundering teams. Phoenix seemingly hasn’t been respectable since the Steve Nash era, while Washington and its inflated hubris overvalues their place in the league then combusts.
The Suns last made the playoffs in 2010. That year also marks when the Wizards drafted John Wall with the first overall pick. They landed Bradley Beal two years later at the No. 3 spot and the Wizards rebuilt their foundation after the fallout of the Gilbert Arenas gun debacle.
Washington’s enjoyed a fair amount of success over the past decade, but things got contentious and stagnant. Phoenix’s mixed bag of high lottery picks is why they’re yet again in the running for a top-3 pick in the upcoming draft.
Both these teams are ripe for a change.
Why the Suns do it:
Phoenix needs a point guard like a fish needs water.
With Wall out for the year, it won’t hurt the Suns’ position in the tank race and it’ll give their young guns more time to develop for when he gets back. While Wall’s contract is daunting, the Suns have one of the lowest payrolls in the league so they have the room to absorb it.
Wall + Devin Booker + Deandre Ayton + 2019 lottery pick X makes for quite the intriguing core.
Why the Wizards do it:
From a pure talent standpoint, Washington’s getting crushed in this fake deal. Ryan Anderson’s been nothing but dead weight and he makes $20 million NEXT season. That’s not great, but Wall’s contract has the potential to be the league’s worst. He’s inching toward turning 30 and his ability to stay healthy is questionable at best.
Washington keeps trying to make alterations in hopes of breaking through, but sometimes the best play is folding a losing hand instead of bluffing at the pot. This season’s effort to salvage Dwight Howard already backfired.
The Bucks pick won’t convey this year since it has protections on it for the No. 1-3 and No. 17-30 spots. Then it’s No. 1-7 protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021. Unless something drastic happens, it should go through next season and land somewhere in the mid-to-late 20’s.
This is quite the fall for Wall, who was named All-NBA Third Team in 2017. But such is life for an aging, injury-prone star with a massive deal. Starting fresh and getting out of that mammoth extension sets Washington up for a better long-term outlook.