There is a feeling that the NBA is on hiatus and the rumor mill has stopped with everyone waiting for the Damian Lillard saga to end. What the Portland Trail Blazers do with their superstar guard is the last domino to fall in this busy offseason. The heavy favorite to acquire Lillard is the Miami Heat. However, the negotiations have stalled as Miami doesn’t have the trade package Portland desires. Therefore, an inclusion of a third and fourth team may be necessary to get the deal done. This is where the Washington Wizards come into play.
The Wizards can get involved in a multi-team trade to take advantage of the situation and come out as the winners. A potential trade scenario could look like this:
Wizards receive: Mark Williams, Nikola Jovic, Jusuf Nurkic
Trail Blazers receive: Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Deni Avdija, Jaime Jaquez, 2 MIA first-rounders, 2 MIA first-round swaps
Heat receive: Damian Lillard, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Shamet
Hornets receive: Delon Wright, Caleb Martin
It is a complicated construction, but when looked at each time individually, they all have arguments to be winners of the trade.
Miami ends up getting their dream target in Lillard in exchange for Lowry, Robinson, Jaquez, Martin, Jovic, two first-round picks, and two pick swaps. They give up a lot of their depth and young players but they hold onto Tyler Herro who they can use in a separate deal to add depth. Additionally, they add Gallinari and Shamet from the Wizards who could be a part of their rotation.
Portland receives Avdija and Jaquez as their primary young player return. Both players fill a need for the Blazers who don’t have many young prospects on the wing. Lowry and Robinson are mostly salary fillers but they could be helpful in young players’ development. Getting out of Jusuf Nurkic’s bad contract is an added bonus. They also add multiple first-round picks that could have some upside considering the ages of Miami’s superstars.
Charlotte’s side of the deal is more straightforward. They receive Delon Wright from the Wizards and Caleb Martin from the Heat in exchange for their young center Mark Williams. The Hornets have already expressed interest in Wright as he is a perfect fit next to Lamelo Ball. They also bring the Martin twins together by adding a very talented two-way forward Caleb into the mix.
Let’s get to the Washington Wizards’ side of this. They end up sending Avdija, Gallinari, Shamet, and Wright while receiving Mark Williams, Nikola Jovic, and Jusuf Nurkic.
This helps balance out the roster more for the Wizards. Washington who is lacking in frontcourt depth, adds two young players with upside to their power forward and center rotation. Williams is a wonderful rim-protecting 7’1 center who is only 21 years old, while Jovic is a 20-year-old power forward with good size and length and intriguing on-ball skills.
Nurkic is a salary filler in the trade and absorbing his contract is the price the Wizards pay to add two talented young players.
Losing Deni Avdija hurts, but his contract is expiring and if the two sides aren’t going to agree to a contract extension, it could make more sense to move on from him in a trade like this.
This is a massive trade for all sides involved. It’s probably unlikely for the Washington Wizards to execute a trade of this magnitude and take on a bad contract like Nurkic’s. But exploring ways to get involved in a trade for Damian Lillard as a facilitator could help the Wizards acquire some assets, and that is worth trying.