The Orlando Magic waived the 23-year-old combo big Bol Bol yesterday. The 4th of July was the deadline for Orlando to guarantee Bol’s $2.2 million contract for next season, and they declined to do so. This could be a good opportunity for a team like the Washington Wizards to claim him and give him a chance.
Orlando Magic is facing a roster crunch and is a deep team with plenty of young players to develop. They may not have had the playing time for Bol Bol, but considering the Wizards’ lack of depth in the frontcourt, Bol may be worth a gamble.
Bol Bol is now eligible to be claimed by any team who has the cap space or a trade exception. The waiver order is decided by the last season’s standings, so the Wizards are 8th in line to be able to acquire Bol. This means that if any of the teams that finished below Washington last season wants Bol, they will have dibs.
Yet, it’s still worth a try for Washington. Trying to find value on the margins is key during a rebuilding process. If they can convert Bol Bol into a solid role player, he would be a piece for the Wizards for a long time. And, he certainly has the building blocks to become one.
Bol Bol is coming off a career season where he averaged 9.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks on 54.6% shooting from the field in 21.5 minutes per game. After struggling to stay healthy and find playing time in the first three seasons of his career with the Denver Nuggets, Bol Bol not only played in 70 games last season, but he was also a candidate for the Most Improved Player in the first few months of the season.
He obviously failed to maintain that production as the season progressed, but Bol Bol’s play through the end of December 2022 was very encouraging. In the first 37 games of the 2022-23 season, he averaged 12 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 38.8 percent from downtown and 58.8 percent from the field. He showed improved strength, mobility, and rim protection on the defensive end while demonstrating intriguing playmaking and finishing ability offensively.
Bol Bol’s 7’2 frame and long wingspan, combined with his ballhandling and shooting potential have always been intriguing. However, he was never able to put it all together to contribute on the court, until last season.
Considering that the Wizards are in need of power forward and center depth, Bol Bol would certainly be an interesting option there.
If the Wizards end up acquiring Bol Bol, he would be following in his father’s footsteps. Manute Bol played in 241 regular season and 13 playoff games for the Washington Bullets in the late 1980s, leaving an indelible mark in the league as one of the greatest shot blockers of all time.