The Washington Wizards have 17 guaranteed contracts on their roster. Before the start of the regular season, they need to get it down to 15. This means that they have to either trade or cut at least two players by October 23rd. With a variety of options on hand, what should the Wizards front office do about these roster decisions?
The challenge with the Wizards’ situation is that it is difficult to make trades this late in the offseason now that teams have their rosters set. It is especially hard to do ones where the Wizards wouldn’t take any players back due to financial and roster spot constraints of the rest of the league. Therefore, what is a likely scenario is that the Wizards would trade one of their veterans like Danilo Gallinari, Landry Shamet, and Delon Wright in exchange for a player that they would waive after. Another option would be to agree on a buyout with Gallinari and allow him to sign with a contender.
Washington can also waive one or two of its players under standard contracts. The likely candidates here are Xavier Cooks and Anthony Gill who don’t have clear paths to rotation minutes and don’t fit Washington’s timeline. However, the Wiz should ideally not cut both of them as that would hurt their frontcourt depth. Holding onto Cooks, who had a solid performance in the FIBA World Cup, as an emergency backup makes some sense.
What makes the most sense for the Wizards is to cut one of Cooks and Gill, and move Gallinari or Shamet before the start of the season. Delon Wright as a consummate professional and a team leader should be held onto until the trade deadline. He fits nicely next to both Tyus Jones and Jordan Poole as a tough, defense-first guard.
Shamet and Gallinari are harder to trade because of Gallinari’s health concerns and Shamet’s high annual salary. However, if there is an interested team out there for either player’s services, it could help open up more playing time for the Wizards’ young players. That would be a win for everyone involved.