The Washington Wizards are blowing up their roster, or at the very least, dumping salary to get under the dreaded luxury tax. According to multiple reports, the Wizards have traded forward Markieff Morris and a 2023 second-round draft pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for Wesley Johnson.
Washington traded Otto Porter to the Chicago Bulls earlier on Wednesday for Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis, and a 2023 second-round pick.
The Wizards are shifting to Plan B or Plans C and/or D, depending on how viewed, after news broke that cornerstone player John Wall ruptured his Achilles tendon in a shower slip last month. Wall was already out for the remainder of this season after undergoing heel surgery. Now he is expected to be out an additional 12 months at the least.
The Wizards are now 22-32 on the season after a 148-129 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday. With the season being disappointing with the loss of Wall for much if not all of next season, the Wizards’ front office has shifted the focus towards a retooling with the goal to get under the NBA’s luxury tax threshold.
Morris and Porter were both suspected cap casualties, but with the team’s previous postseason aspirations, it was expected Washington would stand pat. However, Wall’s latest injury forced the Wizards’ hands.
Morris’ future beyond this season was questionable as he was in the last year of a four-year $32 million deal with him being a disappointment with play and injuries the past two season. Now was the best time. The Wizards also weren’t interested in much return outside of immediate tax relief and an open roster spot.
Morris last played for the Wizards on Dec. 26 and was diagnosed transient cervical neuropraxia, affecting his back and neck. He was ruled out for the six weeks. He played in 34 games this season.
Morris averaged 12.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting 46.2 percent from the field, including 35.1 percent from three in 210 games with the Wizards through four seasons.
Johnson is also in the final year of his contract. He averaged 3.7 points shooting 39.8 percent from the field, including 38 percent from three in 26 games for the Pelicans this season.