The Washington Wizards are off to a disastrous start to the 2023-24 NBA season, and naturally, rumblings have started about potential changes. Jordan Poole, a major disappointment so far, is a focal point in these discussions, especially after the most recent reporting suggests that the Wizards may consider moving him instead of keeping him long-term.
This is perhaps a bit premature. It’s been less than a month into the season, and going from being a sixth man on a perennial championship contender to being the face of a young, rebuilding franchise must not be too easy for Poole. There are a lot of new faces in the Wizards locker room, and adapting to a new role would be a challenge for anyone. He is still 24 years old and has room to grow.
The argument that it doesn’t make sense to trade Poole while he is playing so poorly and his trade value is so low is a valid one. It makes conceptual sense to try to rehab Poole’s trade value, and then move him for positive assets.
Yet, there is no guarantee that this will happen. Poole is in the first year of a four-year, $128 million deal. He is certainly overpaid right now and is unlikely to bring back positive value. However, if he continues his current level of play, he will be even less tradeable soon.
Holding onto Poole with hopes of rehabbing his league-wide value carries its own risks. There is a chance his current value is the high watermark for Poole. If that proves to be right, the rest of his contract will be a total disaster for the Wizards.
Therefore, both the decision to keep him or trade him are risky propositions. The right decision probably depends on what trade packages the Wizards would get for him this season. A young, dynamic scorer like Poole should still have some appeal around the NBA, but teams will rightfully be hesitant to give up any valuable assets. Let’s take a look at some teams who could be interested in Poole’s services and whether it makes sense for Washington to take them up on their trade offers.