Crafting the Washington Wizards' ideal 5-man starting lineup after the trade deadline

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The Washington Wizards are 5-25, with the third-worst net rating in the NBA. They are surely headed to the lottery and are almost guaranteed a top-4 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Perhaps they weren’t expecting to be this bad, but things are going according to the plan of a long and slow rebuild. Their moves at the trade deadline should also be in accordance with this plan, moving on from their players with trade value and prioritizing young players with upside.

This means that the Wizards’ starting lineup and rotation will presumably look different after the trade deadline.

Kyle Kuzma and Tyus Jones should garner plenty of interest around the league at the deadline. Kuzma is having an excellent season, and his all-around play and team-friendly contract should bring significant trade offers to the Wizards. If Washington can get a first-round pick and a young player of interest, it would make some sense to trade Kuzma.

Jones has similarly been a valuable piece for the Wizards this season. Despite his wonderful season as a full-time starter, he is on an expiring contract. If the Wizards don’t want to give him a long-term deal next offseason, they should trade him for whatever they can get at the deadline.

There are other potential trades that the Wizards can pull off, including ones involving Delon Wright, Landry Shamet, Danilo Gallinari, and Mike Muscala. However, these trades are highly unlikely to bring in a starter-caliber player in return.

Jordan Poole is also a candidate to not be in the starting lineup after the trade deadline, more due to moving to a sixth-man role rather than a trade. It is hard to see another team trading for him mid-season considering his contract and performance through the first third of the season.

Bilal Coulibaly and Deni Avdija are perhaps the only Wizards who are untouchable at the trade deadline. With that in mind, here is an ideal but reasonable scenario for the Wizards’ starting five after the deadline. This would help maximize the lottery odds while adding high-upside players into the mix.