The Washington Wizards have notified teams that are willing to trade down from their No. 15 pick overall, if one of their expiring contracts are included in a potential trade, according to Ben Standig of Sports Capitol.
The Wizards are looking to improve their roster and gain some salary cap flexibility this off-season. At the top of the Wizards’ list of expiring contracts is center Marcin Gortat, who will have a cap hit of $13.5 million next season. Gortat has had his fair share of issues while with Washington, in particular franchise player John Wall.
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) June 19, 2018
Following their first-round exit of the NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors, Wall insisted Washington needs “athletic bigs.” Wall’s assessment could be interpreted as a shot at Gortat as well as reserve center Ian Mahinmi.
Wall and Gortat’s issues came to a head during the 2017-18 season while Wall was out with knee surgery. After a strong start by the Wizards during Wall’s absence, Gortat posted a subtle tweet, “Unbelievable win tonight ! Great “team” victory!”
Wall responded during an interview with ESPN of Gortat, “He gets the most assists from me and the most spoon-fed baskets ever.”
Gortat averaged 8.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last season. He has struggled against defending the pick-and-roll and being able to switch and hold off smaller players on the perimeter. He is also more of traditional center that is getting left behind with the evolution of more athletic and better shooting players at the position.
If the Wizards want to improve the roster and keep their two stars Wall and Bradley Beal happy, Gortat is the most logical omission needed from the roster. However, how valuable is he to the rest of the league remain to be seen.
The Wizards also have Markieff Morris, who will be a free agent in the summer of 2019. He brings a cap hit of $8.6 million. Morris has a better relationship with Wall and Beal. He also gives the Wizards solid production at the stretch-four position. His ability to fill in at center within the Wizards’ small-ball lineups makes him a valuable piece for the next season. However, if the team feels they cannot work out a favorable extension before next summer, they could be incline to packaging Morris in a trade.
Grabbing financial flexibility is the object, but the Wizards also could have their eye on a first-round talent that they feel they can grab at a more valuable draft choice later in the round. Having your guy and at a lower rookie salary lot plus dumping a hefty expiring contract would be a huge win for Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld.
In addition to Gortat and Morris, the Wizards have expiring contracts of Jason Smith ($5.45 million), Jodie Meeks ($3.45 million), and Tomas Satoransky ($3.12 million).