The debate about who the Wizards pick with the third overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft rages on and rages strong. It seems that a large majority of fans are split between Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. and UNLV’s Anthony Bennett. This back and forth will continue all the way to June 27, and probably beyond, but what about the rest of the draft for the Wizards?
If there’s one consistent theme from the Wizards since the regular season ended, it is that the front office and players don’t seem to want to add and develop a bunch of rookies. Prior to the lottery, the rumors seemed hot and heavy that the team was more than interested in trading its first round pick. John Wall told the Washington Post:
While this stance has obviously softened since the Wizards landed the number three pick (though I’ve still seen several entries on trading the pick and/or trading down, including here, here, and here), the team still holds two second round picks at 38 and 54. General manager Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Randy Wittman have both stated that there is no desire or intention to draft three rookies. But what about using those picks or more to acquire another first round pick?
I have read that teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks, with the 10th and 13th picks, respectively, are rumored to be open to to trading their picks, but for different reasons. The Mavericks are said to be looking to trade their pick to clear cap space so that they can sign a superstar free agent like Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. Unsigned first round picks come with small cap holds that are costly for a team like Dallas that is looking to be enough under the cap to sign a free agent to a max contract. The Blazers, on the other hand are rumored to value veteran help - it should also be noted that Portland’s cap space puts them on the line of being able to afford a max contract as well, so they could also be looking to clear cap space – over adding another rookie. The Wizards capitalized on the Bulls’ desperation to shed salary in 2010 by offering to take on Kirk Hinrich’s contract for their 17th pick, but the circumstances were different then. The Wizards are over the cap, so the unbalanced trade method is not in play here, though the “bring out your dead” strategy still could be (see below) .
So what would it take to acquire an additional first rounder? For a team like the Mavericks that may just wants to rid themselves of the cap hold, the Wizards could offer cash for the pick, or maybe use their two second round picks, since second round picks aren’t guaranteed contracts, as ammunition. Of course, there’s those pesky Cleveland Cavaliers, who also have two second round picks (picks 31 and 33!) and are a much better position to make that deal if they so choose. What about a protected future first round pick? Would the Wizards be interested in using Trevor Ariza’s expiring contract to take on a bad contract and sacrifice short-term cap flexibility to acquire an additional pick (short-term cap flexibility was ironically sacrificed to acquire Ariza and Okafor)? I certainly hope not unless the team is getting a good player in a precarious situation with their current team.
The brainstorming on the scenarios above are probably unlikely and unrealistic. The other question would be who would the team be moving up to draft even if this were possible. I think in that late-lottery to mid-first round area there are a few intriguing bigs (Alex Len if he slips, Rudy Gobert, Kelly Olynyk) and also that third guard that the team likely covets (C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe?).
All in all, I am willing to believe that the Wizards won’t be keeping both, if either, of their second round picks. The Wizards should be looking to explore all options at this time. If an opportunity arises I wouldn’t hesitate to pounce.