The Washington Wizards had a disastrous start to the 2023-24 NBA season. With a 2-8 record and one of the worst point differentials in the league, the Wizards should justifiably not worry about the on-court results this year. Their focus needs to be on the future and how they can maximize what they currently have in order to add more assets to help construct a winning team years down the line. With that in mind, they have to look into trading away their players who have value around the league, in exchange for young prospects and draft picks.
The two Wizards that should attract plenty of interest around the NBA are Tyus Jones and Corey Kispert. The 27-year-old Jones on an expiring contract is superfluous on this young, rebuilding Wizards. Kispert seems to have fallen behind Deni Avdija and Bilal Coulibaly in the rotation and it might make sense for the Wizards to move on from him before his trade value starts dwindling.
In a potential deal that sends Jones and Kispert to new destinations, the Wizards need to prioritize youth and upside. Perhaps a three-team construction involving the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers makes sense for all sides.
In this package, the Wizards get two intriguing young pieces in Max Christie and Maxwell Lewis. Two recent second-round picks by the Los Angeles Lakers, Christie and Lewis have skill sets fit for the modern NBA.
Christie is a 20-year-old shooting guard with a sweet jump shot. The Michigan State product has a nice length and frame to be a modern 2-guard. Lewis was drafted 40th overall in the 2023 NBA Draft and has an ideal body for a 3-and-D type of wing. Neither player has been a consistent part of the Lakers rotation so far, but with the ample playing time and opportunity the Wizards can provide, they can take a step forward to become solid rotation players in the league.
The Wizards also receive Jonas Valanciunas and a second-round pick from the New Orleans Pelicans. He is also on an expiring contract and the Wizards can think about whether they would want to keep the 31-year-old center around long-term. But in the short run, Valanciunas can provide veteran presence, experience, size, and interior scoring to the Wizards frontcourt.
New Orleans lands Tyus Jones, who fits in perfectly as the table-setting floor general that the Pelicans desperately need, especially in CJ McCollum’s absence.
The Los Angeles Lakers similarly fill an obvious need. The Lakers rank 28th in three-point shooting frequency and 29th in accuracy in the NBA. Corey Kispert is one of the best shooters in the league, providing off-ball gravity and spacing to the Lakers superstars Lebron James and Anthony Davis.
This may not seem like a great return for the Wizards. However, if the season continues to be a disappointment for Washington, the trade values of Tyus Jones and Corey Kispert could take a hit. It is worth considering pulling the plug on the season earlier and adding more intriguing young players into the mix for the Wizards.
Final trade grade: B