Washington Wizards: The Wizards should not be sellers at the deadline

Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) /

Many fans think the Washington Wizards should be sellers at the trade deadline, but that’s a mistake.

A couple weeks ago, the Wiz of Awes Twitter account asked fans whether they think the Washington Wizards should be buyer, sellers, or stick with the current squad heading into the trade deadline on February 7. A clear majority of respondents (53 percent) said the Wizards should be sellers and looking to trade away some of their assets.

With all due respect to our knowledgeable fans, here’s why that approach is wrong.

Although this season has been far from inspiring, now is not time to throw in the towel on this collection of players. Fans are understandably disgruntled that the core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter hasn’t lived up to its hype nor its contracts. A few years ago, it felt like the Wizards were one of the top teams in the East; now they’re fighting to sneak into the playoffs.

But both the organization and its fans need to have a longer view of the team. That may seem counterintuitive given that becoming sellers indicates a longer-term view of working towards a rebuild rather than short-term success at the expense of the future. That’s not always true though.

The landscape of the Eastern Conference could look very different next year and Washington with its high-end talent could fill that void.

Right now, the top teams in the East are the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Boston Celtics. Almost all of them have a promising future ahead of them, but those are far from guaranteed.

For example, although the Raptors have been one of the conference’s best teams for years, that could come to an end very quickly if Kawhi Leonard doesn’t re-sign this offseason. Age and injuries may also catch up with Kyle Lowry.

The Bucks have megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the rest of his herd (Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Brook Lopez) are all free agents after this season.

Meanwhile, Boston hasn’t been the same team from last season’s impressive run with players like Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown falling short of expectations. That’s evidently frustrated Kyrie Irving and leading to questions about whether he’ll return next season.

Elsewhere, the Sixers’ internal turmoil is reminiscent of the Wizards’ earlier this season. Questions about whether the trio of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jimmy Butler can all play together is constant. Butler is a free agent this offseason as well.

As for the Pacers, Victor Oladipo‘s season-ending injury changes their outlook moving forward. Plus, many of the roster’s starters and contributing players will be looking for new contracts, including Darren Collison, Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Cory Joseph. The team can only depend on Oladipo, who will be returning from injury, so much.

Of course not all of these listed players will leave their respective teams, but there’s a likelihood that enough movement takes place to shrink the gap between the top teams and the next tier. Especially in an Eastern Conference that no longer has LeBron James, there’s a power vacuum that now team has a clear grasp on moving forward.

If things shake out right, the Wizards could end up having the best one-two punch in the conference with Wall and Beal. That potential is too good to just give up on right now, and the team’s play in recent weeks has highlighted what kind of an impact Porter can have. Plus, there’s talent elsewhere on the roster, such as Thomas Bryant and Tomas Satoransky, that could elevate the team even further.

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It’s easy to give into the urge to start over when it feels like things aren’t going quite as well as hoped, but the long view isn’t just about tearing it down; it’s about assessing what the rest of the environment around you may do as well. That’s why the Wizards shouldn’t be sellers until they know what they’re going up against next season.