Trading Kristaps Porzingis for an underwhelming package
Once the Washington Wizards made the decision to rebuild, Kristaps Porzingis’ days in Washington became numbered. Coming off a healthy and productive career season, Porzingis was the best player on the Wizards roster. If they wanted to maximize the asset return for their players, the Wizards had to move on from Porzingis.
However, KP also had a player option worth $36 million for the 2023-24 season. For the Wizards to be able to trade him and get assets in return, he needed to opt in. Otherwise, he could have just opted out and signed with a team in free agency. So, the Wizards didn’t have too much leverage in the negotiations due to the previous regime tying their hands by not trading him when they had the chance.
Still, Washington could have done better in the trade. Porzingis is currently playing at an All-Star level with the Boston Celtics, having his most efficient offensive season. Trading this caliber of a player for a package of Tyus Jones, Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, and the no. 35 pick in the 2023 Draft (which the Wizards later traded to Chicago for two future second-round picks), is not the optimal return.
Jones is a solid player and Washington could extract more value from him if they trade him at the trade deadline, but he shouldn’t be the primary return in a trade for an All-Star level player.
The Wizards could have negotiated with Porzingis to get him to opt in and extend his contract and stay with the team until the deadline or next offseason. Washington could have easily gotten a better trade package in that situation. In the meantime, he would have helped the Wizards’ young players develop by making them a more competent team.