When the decision was made to grant Russell Westbrook’s preference to return home to play for the Lakers, the Wizards were not changing their stance on Bradley Beal as they hope to offer him a 4-year, $180 million extensions on October 1. That would mean they need to present a roster attractive to the All-NBA guard and that meant signing his point guard of preference that was available. Beal chose Spencer Dinwiddie and Tommy Sheppard worked some wizardry to make it happen. Are you ready?
The Washington Wizards announced today that they have acquired guard Spencer Dinwiddie from the Brooklyn Nets; guard Aaron Holiday, the rights to forward Isaiah Todd and cash considerations from the Indiana Pacers; and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, and Montrezl Harrell from the Los Angeles Lakers in a five-team trade. Washington sent guard Russell Westbrook and second-round picks in 2023, 2024, and 2028 to the Los Angeles Lakers; forward Chandler Hutchison and a 2022 second round pick to the San Antonio Spurs; and a 2024 second-round pick along with the right to swap second-round picks in 2025 to the Brooklyn Nets. As part of the trade, Indiana acquired the rights to Isaiah Jackson, who was selected with the 22nd overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Brooklyn also received the rights to 2015 first-round pick Nikola Milutinov from the Spurs as part of the deal.
Immediately after the season ended, Sheppard acknowledged the Wizards could not be a run-it-back team and in one colossal trade that combined a sign-and-trade with a draft-day blockbuster, he did his best. I still don’t think that will outweigh Bradley Beal wanting to hit the open market and command over $225 million next summer, but the general manager entering his third year took a big swing.
“We were clear as we moved into the offseason that we would be aggressive in making moves that would improve our defense, shooting and athleticism,” Sheppard said. “Starting with hiring Coach Unseld, then moving to the draft and the acquisition of these five players via trade, we feel confident that we have made significant progress in those areas.”
“Each player that we acquired in this trade addresses a need for us in addition to bringing experience, toughness and a winning attitude that makes them ideal fits around Bradley and the rest of our returning roster,” Sheppard continued. “Spencer’s athleticism allows him to score and make plays for others with Aaron’s hard-nosed style off the bench making a complementary pair of point guards. Kyle and KCP are proven three-and-D players with significant championship experience while Montrezl’s energy and effort personify the way we want to play every night.”
Dinwiddie, 28, is a 6-foot-5 point guard that in his most recent healthy season averaged career-highs in points (20.6 ppg) and assists (6.8 apg) in 2019-20. Unfortunately for the Colorado product, he suffered a partially torn ACL in December similar to Thomas Bryant. Bradley Beal’s newest backcourt mate has been cleared for all basketball activities since June.
With no hard feelings, unlike the team owner, Sheppard thanked Russell Westbrook for his contribution to the Wizards organizations over a short eight-month tenure that should jumpstart Wes Unseld Jr.’s first season as head coach.
“Russell was a tremendous leader for us and watching him make history while with the Wizards was a privilege for me, our players and our fans that none of us will ever forget,” Sheppard thanked. “The impact he made on our franchise and our players in just one season is remarkable and we wish him the best as he continues his Hall of Fame career.”
For now, the Wizards’ roster looks mostly settled, but Tommy Sheppard is always on the phone searching for ways to make his team better and more attractive to Bradley Beal. Up against the luxury tax that Ted Leonsis does not want to pay, Washington is unlikely to use their mid-level or bi-annual exceptions and may not even sign a 15th player to the roster at a minimum contract if that puts them over the $136.6 million tax line. In an all of a sudden fairly talented Eastern Conference, the Wizards will be in a fight to firmly make the playoffs without the 7-10 seed play-in tournament that continues.
PG: Spencer Dinwiddie, Raul Neto, Aaron Holiday
SG: Bradley Beal, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (although my money is on him starting at the 3)
SF: Kyle Kuzma / Deni Avdija / Corey Kispert
PF: Rui Hachimura / Davis Bertans / Isaiah Todd
C: Daniel Gafford / Montrezl Harrell / Thomas Bryant