The Washington Wizards started season 11-5 and it was one of the league’s greatest stories. But since Dec. 1, they’re under 0.500 teams, losing 5 of 6 games heading into this weekend, leaving them 10th in the East, clinging to a spot play.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe said general manager Tommy Shephard – whose contract has been extended after a quick start – appears to feel it’s time for a change and that every glamor player except Bradley Beal is available on the trade. “Post LowePodcast (hat tip bleacher report). He said Spencer Dinwiddie and Montrezel Harrell are the most frequently mentioned names, but witches think of a number of moves.
Harrell has played well as Washington’s familiar sixth man, but with Thomas Bryant and young Daniel Gafford healthy as well, there’s a bit of a stalemate at the Five, and Harrell is in an expired deal. Returning this season from ACL surgery, Dinwiddie is struggling to find his shot with 38.8% overall. He doesn’t hit the edge much (14.8% of his shots this season, more than 30% have been at his peak in Brooklyn) and he’s also not finished when he gets there. Dinwiddie also has two guaranteed seasons after this season with seed money (over $18 million per season).
Raul Neto and Bryant are also on expired contracts and could attract interest, but it appears deals for anyone other than his name Bill could happen.
Note that there is a big difference between saying that a player is available on a deal and they are likely to be transferred. What Sheppard seems to realize is that he has one key piece – if he can keep Bill – and a lot of work to do.
Bill told NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller that commercial rumors are getting to the team and part of the problem at the moment.
“We have a goal and the direction we’re trying to move towards, but we’re kind of stymied in the process of that with the deadline and the appropriate adjustments being made on the team. I was thinking about this last night, but it’s very difficult to be one foot out, one foot out as a player, if you’re You know you’re likely to be traded, if your minutes are tilted, if you don’t. I don’t know when your chance comes and you feel like if you’re there, you have to kind of press and show what you can do in the minutes you have.”
Fans tend to think of deals in terms of fantasy basketball – a soul-free statistical swap – but on a team they can be messy, even when necessary. Someone is forced to pick up and move their life to another city at the drop of the hat, and there can be family, friends, home, and community interests upended by the decision. For players, especially younger players, the mere prospect of the trade can be worrisome.
However, it is part of the NBA business (a business in which players are well compensated). Here’s how Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. coined it.
“You have to deal with it and understand that it’s a real dynamic, and I’m not going to ignore it. It can affect a lot of people. We still have work to do. We have to stay present in the moment, we have to say connected as a group. And if there’s a change, it’s just life.” It’s a job. It’s a difficult part of that job, but it can’t affect what we’re doing at the moment,” Unseld Jr. said.