By Jerry Wein

I was all set to piss on the Wizards deal to finally get the overrated Bradley Beal and his ridiculous contract off the books.

But then I spotted Zach Harper in The Athletic:

The deal hasn’t been finalized and called into the league office yet, so maybe an avenue for rerouting Paul to a third team for a chance at joining a contender could open up and give the Wizards some better compensation in this transaction. But as it stands, Michael Winger, Washington’s new lead executive, has made a bold first move in reshaping this Wizards team.

The organization was not very successful in the Beal era, and he decided to clear the books and take some draft capital scraps in exchange for an All-NBA and All-Star-level talent. I have no problem with deciding Beal isn’t your franchise guy. There hasn’t been an overwhelming level of success in trying to put a team around him so far.

But they’re acquiring the right to waive Paul (non-fully guaranteed if waived by June 28), Shamet (non-guaranteed past the 2023-24 season), whatever the “handful” of second-round picks entails and future pick swaps. This is the Suns’ draft pick situation:

  • 2023: First-rounder owed to Brooklyn, own second-round pick (52nd)
  • 2024: Own first-round (can’t be traded, can be swapped) and second-round picks
  • 2025: First-rounder owed to Brooklyn, own second-round pick
  • 2026: Own first-round (can’t be traded, can be swapped) and second-round picks
  • 2027: First-rounder owed to Brooklyn, own second-round pick
  • 2028: Owe pick swap with Brooklyn, own second-round pick
  • 2029: First-rounder owed to Brooklyn, owe second-round pick to OKC
  • 2030: Own first-round (can’t be traded, can be swapped) and second-round picks

Maybe Washington starts getting pick swaps in 2024, but that probably isn’t a good starting point if we believe this Suns team will be good for a couple of years at least. Ideally for Washington, the Wizards are getting the pick swaps down the road when they hope to take advantage of a Suns team that has maybe fallen apart, broken up or just had some bad luck. Maybe that starts in 2026 and they grab the 2023. All of the picks owed in this deal from Phoenix are its own since the Suns don’t have any acquired from other teams.

This just doesn’t seem like an alluring haul for such an incredible talent, regardless of lack of team success in the past. Maybe Winger is just clearing the books. Kristaps Porziņģis and Kyle Kuzma are expected to decline their player options and become unrestricted free agents. Under the previous front office, it was expected the Wizards would be competitive in retaining those players. Perhaps Winger has changed that mindset and we could see them walk or move on in sign-and-trades.

Either way, picks swaps and second-round picks don’t feel like a sexy haul, but at least the Wizards move on and start to rebuild. We’ll have to see what the next step of the plan is for the organization.

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