The Washington Wizards maintained a middle-of-the-pack season once again finishing as the 12th seed at 35-47. But newly hired Michael Winger brings hope as he looks to rebuild the franchise. Ownership has given him free rein, meaning he can tear it all down if need be. With that rebuild, he’ll need to move some pieces around.
The Washington Wizards’ acquisition of Kristaps Porzingis was, at the time, a very medium deal. It was met with more coverage on the Dallas Mavericks side as it was clear the Luka Doncic pairing wasn’t working for him.
But on the Wizard’s side of things, it wasn’t totally clear. Porzingis was a good player touted with massive talent but there were major health concerns. The Latvian unicorn hadn’t played a 60-game season since his sophomore year in 2017 with the New York Knicks. On top of that, Porzingis wasn’t cheap, making over $30 million a year. The deal was a calculated risk.
But 2023 brought a decent surprise. He averaged a career-high in scoring (23.2 points per game), and a respectable 8.4 rebounds a game. The biggest boost though, came from his games played. Porzingis suiting up for 65 games, proved to make him a real asset.
This comes at the perfect time for the new President of Monumental Basketball, Michael Winger to step in. As The Athletic’s David Aldridge reported, Winger will be given carte blanche to run the team as he sees fit. This hints at a full rebuild, for which he will need draft capital. Porzingis having a career year could very well turn into that, in the form of a deal with a team that feels one piece away.
Porzingis has a $ 36 million player option in this, the last year of his deal. It’s possible he could opt out but that kind of guaranteed money is hard to pass up. The ideal scenario would be for him to opt in and then be moved before next year’s deadline. The deal likely won’t be huge but, it would be a start. Signaling that the new front office is willing to tear things down in order to build them up.