NBA Contracts: The Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards are sitting near the bottom of the Eastern Conference with not much hope in sight. The John Wall era in Washington has led to four playoff appearances in 8 years. During that time the Wizards have never made it past the conference semifinals and are currently stuck in a situation where they must explore options to trade their current stars and start over.

The Good

Bradley Beal is a career 39% 3pt shooter and has averaged over 20 points per game in each of the last 3 seasons. He is still only 25-year-old and is an exciting piece that a potential contender would love to have. The former Florida Gator is being paid $25 million this year and is under contract for two more seasons with his pay increasing to $28 million a year. Even though he is not cheap there will still be teams like the Lakers who look at him as a deadly perimeter threat and use him as the third star to a big three. Best case scenario, they are able to move him at the trade deadline for a 1st round pick and an expiring contract, which the Lakers have both.

Kelly Oubre is 22-years-old and is in the last year of his rookie deal making him $3.2 million. He is a budding young talent who the Wizards will likely be unable to pay the money he is worth after this season. He could be a cheap piece to throw in a trade, but if they are able to move another player like Beal, the money will be there to resign him. He has improved each year in the league and has had a positive impact on the Wizards so far.

The Bad

Ian Mahinmi is a 32-year-old center who has a career average of 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He is owed $15.9 million this year and $15.4 next year.  He is only playing 14 minutes a game and has made little impact in those minutes. With the way the NBA has been moving towards small ball, the thought of giving this guy the 4th most money on the team is painful. Unfortunately, the Wizards would have to give away a pick to a team with cap space in order to get him off of their hands. It looks like they are stuck with this one and have to just hope he will accelerate the tanking process if they choose to do so next season.

Otto Porter is currently the highest paid player on the Wizards making $26 million this year and has two more years at $27 and $28 million. The Wizards signed him to a max contract when they matched the Brooklyn Nets offer to him as a restricted free agent. He is a valuable contributor to the team leading them in win shares the last two seasons. He is unfortunately not looked at as a good enough player to be the essential third piece to a championship team. There are very few teams that will want to take on his contract and the return for it will be nowhere near as valuable as he is.

Dwight Howard should have made the good category since he is still a valuable NBA player and only makes $5 million a year, but he seems to have a lot of stuff going on right now that could be considered a distraction to some. Just take a look at this wonderful thread of tweets explaining the situation if you have not come across it already. Not great for the locker room, but at least he is cheap and easy to cut loose.

The Ugly

John Wall has this category all to himself after the Wizards signed him to the supermax. Wall is currently 28-years-old and should be in the prime of his NBA career. He was third-team All-NBA in 2016, which is what made him qualified to get the supermax. He is being paid $19 million this year and then the deal kicks in and goes up to $37.8 million in 2019. His contract from that point increases $3 million a year until 2023, where he will be paid $46.8 million in his age 32 season. It is ludicrous to think that a guy who made the All NBA third team once is worth 35% of a teams salary cap, but here the Wizards are. The team has said that they are willing to trade anyone, but its hard to believe anyone would want a piece of that contract. This deal essentially has paralyzed the Wizards until 2023 unless there is a team that values Wall at this contract. For the sake of Wizards fans, hopefully, John Wall maintains his level of play and does not lose a step once he hits 30.

The Rest

Every other player on the roster is an expiring contract and could potentially be moved after December 15th as a part of a trade. Markieff Morris is a solid NBA vet with a reasonable contract that could be an interesting trade piece if a team is looking for a little more depth. Austin Rivers deal is not great, but $12 million is cheap enough that a team in need of point guard help would want him for the second half of the season.

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