Wizards: What the Kentavious Caldwell-Pope extension in Denver could tell us

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Not too long ago, the Washington Wizards sent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith to the Denver Nuggets in a two-for-two player swap. In return, the Nuggets sent Monte Morris and Will Barton back to Washington in what was a pretty tame trade by NBA standards.

Right off the bat, a few things played an obvious role in the Wizards decision. The same could be said regarding the Nuggets side of things.

First and foremost, for Washington, they were moving a solidified and serviceable backup point guard while bringing back a point guard that hasn’t yet gotten a true chance to take the reigns as a teams starting point.

In Monte Morris, the Wizards were able to get a better point guard who has more upside for this team. They could provide him the chance to take on that next role in his career and he could provide them an upgrade in their starting backcourt alongside Bradley Beal.

It was an obvious win-win situation for Morris and the Wizards to partner up with each other. The Nuggets were able to open up a more prominent role for Bones Hyland as the team’s backup point guard behind Jamal Murray.

When it came to the wings involved in the trade, KCP and Barton, things were a bit harder to fully break down.  Yes, the Nuggets were able to save a little money by making the trade, but they also were gaining what was arguably a better fit in their rotation as they chase a championship.

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KCP is an awesome 3-and-D guy who will fit seamlessly in lineups featuring players like Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Barton, who had long been with Denver, is a bit more of a ‘handle the ball to get mine’ kind of guy.

He adds a versatile game to that, though, as he is a solid playmaker and really does a little bit of everything. Still, if the Wizards are truly selling they want to ‘compete’ right now around Beal, it’s pretty easy to argue KCP would be the wing to have on the team.

The Nuggets confirmed they agreed to a multiyear extension with the veteran wing in an announcement made by their general manager, Calvin Booth. Adrian Wojnarowski reported the details – a two-year, $30M extension. He also reported the final year will be a player option.

What Kentavious Caldwell-Popes Extension could tell us about the Wizards Plans Moving Forward

It didn’t take long for KCP to reach an agreement on a contract extension with the Nuggets. It makes sense for both parties, as the Nuggets are a true title contender who sees him as a potentially key role player. For Caldwell-Pope, securing a few years at a nice rate makes sense for obvious reasons.

KCP likely wanted the same kind of contract extension before the trade. The Wizards would be aware of that and that would have to be factored into any decisions they made.

In the deal with Denver, they got Barton back to fill a similar spot in the rotation. Something notable about Barton and his contract right now is that it expires after this season. At that time, he will become an unrestricted free agent.

A number of things factored into the trade for the Wizards. The biggest was probably adding Morris and seeing him as a potential plus starter for years to come.

After seeing KCP’s extension, it has to be wondered if the WIzards also loved the financial flexibility they would have by getting an expiring contract back for a player who wanted a multi-year extension. Importantly, an expiring contract that will also give them production this season.

Could this help answer some of the questions that have been (rightfully) asked since Beal got the supermax? Maybe there’s a part of the plan that’s not taking shape yet simply because it can’t at this time.

Beal and the Wizards front office could be giving it a go with the best they have this year and seeing how it plays out. With both sides knowing the plan for true contention is still a few years down the road.

If that is the case, hopefully the Wizards and Beal have a strong plan because things change quickly in the NBA. Next season’s free agent class isn’t great, which is fine because the Wizards aren’t going to have a bunch to spend. In the following years, though, there is going to be some top-end talent hitting the market.

Maybe Beal is zoned in on showing his peers he is a winner right now. He knows they can’t compete for a ring, but he could start setting things up for a potential free agent pursuit in a few years. It’s really the best route to him winning in DC.

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