The busiest part of the Washington Wizards’ offseason may be over but there are still potential moves the Wizards front office can get involved in to set themselves up better for the rebuild. The primary objective for Washington should be to rebalance the roster as the team currently has a surplus of backcourt players and not enough bodies in the frontcourt. One way to solve their guard logjam is through being the third team in a potential James Harden trade.
The Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden has been on the trading block ever since he opted into the final year of his contract worth $35.6 million for the 2023-24 season. According to the latest report by Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports, Harden wants to go to Los Angeles to play for the Clippers. This is a tricky deal to pull as Philadelphia GM Daryl Morey is reportedly looking for a major return in a Harden trade.
The LA Clippers may not give the Sixers what they desire in a Harden trade as what they have to offer doesn’t fit the Sixers’ positional needs.
This is where the Wizards come in. By facilitating the trade as a third team, Washington could make the deal between the two teams more palatable for both sides. This is what such a trade could look like.
Philadelphia receives three rotation pieces in Tyus Jones, Norman Powell, and Nicolas Batum. They replace Harden with Jones as their starting point guard and get two additional players who could potentially close games for them.
The Clippers achieve their dream of creating a superteam with the trio of Kawhi Leonard, Paul Geoge, and James Harden. They lose three important pieces in Powell, Batum, and Ivica Zubac, but they recover some of that depth by also acquiring Danuel House Jr from the Sixers.
The Washington Wizards turn Tyus Jones into Ivica Zubac. This strengthens the center position for the Wizards as Zubac and Daniel Gafford are a very competent duo to split the 48 minutes. Zubac is a solid two-way center who is one of the most underrated defenders in the league. He will help protect the rim and cover for the mistakes of the young perimeter players.
Moreover, this helps open up playing time for the young Wizards like Johnny Davis, Ryan Rollins, and Bilal Coulibaly who need on-ball reps to develop their offensive skill set. in this case, Delon Wright could stick around as the veteran mentor in the backcourt.
This is the sort of deal we can see the new Wizards front office get involved in. Any chance to add a good player on a good contract like Ivica Zubac should not be missed.
It’s unclear where the James Harden trade negotiations between the Clippers and the Sixers currently stand, but it would be a nice surprise if the Wizards can take advantage of the situation to land a valuable player.