The Washington Wizards had to make some tough roster decisions as they had 17 guaranteed contracts ahead of the start of the regular season. They needed to finalize the roster before the season opener. According to Josh Robbins of the Athletic, the Wizards elected to waive Taj Gibson and Xavier Cooks. This was a surprising decision for a variety of reasons.
First, the Wizards had just re-signed Taj Gibson. He is 38-years-old and he likely would have considered other options if he knew there was a chance he would be released a day before the start of the regular season. Perhaps, this was agreed upon as a favor to Gibson, who will now be making his full veteran minimum salary of $3,196,448 regardless of whether he gets claimed off waivers or not.
Secondly, the Wizards were already lacking in frontcourt depth and they just decided to waive two frontcourt players. Gibson and Cooks were likely not going to play too much but they provided additional size, rebounding, and physicality as deep bench options when needed. Considering that the only two centers on the roster are Daniel Gafford and Mike Muscala, the Wizards could have certainly used more bodies in the rotation. Now, they have to rely even more on Danilo Gallinari and other small-ball options at center.
Moreover, the Wizards needed the veteran experience of Gibson and Cooks. Cooks may not have extensive NBA experience but he is 28 years old with plenty of international success. Gibson was the oldest and most experienced Wizards player on the roster and he could have provided valuable mentorship to the young players, especially on the defensive end.
Now the Wizards have more gaping holes than they did a few days ago. Their power forward and center rotation is weaker and they have less cumulative NBA experience. One has to wonder if moving on from Anthony Gill or trading Delon Wright or Landry Shamet instead would have been better choices.
Perhaps those are still possibilities. We may still see more transactions from this front office, but at least we know that they have a plan and vision in mind.