Since John Wall entered the NBA as a the top pick of the 2010 draft, things haven’t exactly gone smoothly for the Washington Wizards. First, there was a struggle to become the leader that the franchise needed him to be, and now there is the struggle to drag the Wizards into relevance. The backcourt core of Wall and Beal hasn’t delivered Washington playoff basketball consistently. Then, this summer, there was talk of discord between them. That has largely faded now but the Wizards still only sit in eighth place.
The time may be coming, then, when D.C. decide that their current set-up has taken them as far as it can. Washington has failed to put a good enough core around Wall and Beal to contend in any real way and, with Kevin Durant not even considering a homecoming this summer, it seems unlikely that their status as a playoff bubble team will change. We have heard rumours about the Atlanta Hawks blowing up their roster and holding a fire sale and they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Should the Wizards consider going the same way.
So, what if they did blow up their roster, then began a rebuild? How would they do it?
Well, how about a super-exciting, incredibly-unlikely three-team trade, visualised by NBA 2k17.
Washington gets: Tyreke Evans (NO), Jahlil Okafor (PHI), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (PHI), the Lakers first-round pick 2017 (from PHI) and the Pelicans first-round pick 2017.
New Orleans gets: John Wall (WSH) and Marcus Thornton (WSH).
Philadelphia gets: Jrue Holiday (NO), Bradley Beal (WSH) and the Pelicans first-round pick 2018 (if needed).
Wow, huh? Let’s see how that works out for each team.
By pulling the trigger on this trade, the Wizards blow up their roster and get an incredible start on a rebuild. They acquire two first round picks, likely to be mid-to-high picks, after sitting out the draft in 2016. Those rookies would be joining a growing arsenal of young talent. They already have a scoring wing in Otto Porter alongside the athletic Kelly Oubre. Adding Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Jahlil Okafor to that core would be a good move. Okafor’s defence is, well, not great but he is a strong offensive big man and he has plenty of room to grow.
Tyreke Evans is not a main piece of this trade but he fills some of the gap left by Wall and Beal, with his possession-heavy game and his ability to score and run the floor from the point. If, by the summer, the Wizards decided that Tyreke has no place in their future, then they simply do not offer him another contract and that is that.
Of course, this trade does leave certain players in difficult situations. Okafor would cause a logjam at the five with Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi but the former, in particular, would likely attract interest from other suitors with his complete, yet underrated, game. Dangling power forward Markieff Morris on the trade market would also bring a nice chance to get even more assets for the future.
Washington could really kick start a rebuild with this deal. They would fall down the standings initially, but this would result in their own first round pick potentially becoming much higher. And don’t forget that they would also get first round picks from both the Lakers and Pelicans. Okafor is a bonus. Keeping Tyreke is optional. All win, baby.
New Orleans Pelicans
For the Louisiana franchise, this trade is the next step they have wanted for years. Anthony Davis is a superstar, no doubt, and one of the best players in the NBA, capable of filling every column. His scoring arsenal is varied and barely stoppable. His defence is immense and his rebounding is strong. The Brow is New Orleans’ centrepiece and their policy, for years, has been about putting a good team around him. That has been a struggle, though, and their efforts have not worked. Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon. You see?
This trade gives AD a superstar to play with and immediately makes the Pelicans one of the most intriguing and exciting teams in the league, with two of the most dominant athletes at their postions. John Wall is a truly excellent player. He is a blur on the court and his passing vision and accuracy is mind-blowing. Not only that, but he scores too and is on course for a 20-10 season in points and assists. And then, on the defensive end, Wall boasts a complete game with a knack for chase-down blocks and countless steals.
— MonumentalSportsNet (@MonSportsNet) January 6, 2017
And that fits perfectly with Davis. Both are products of Kentucky and they have a good relationship (see this photo). Beyond that, New Orleans finally gets a legitimate successor to Chris Paul and they become a danger in the West. They would have a pair of tremendous two-way superstars, who should be able to form a dynamic duo. Wall’s scoring should greatly complement AD’s scoring and they would never give an opponent an easy night. And then there is the potential for jaw-dropping alley-oops. Oh yeah.
With this trade, the New Orleans Pelicans also blow up their roster, shedding Tyreke and Jrue in an attempt to leap up the standings and join the West’s elite. Wall and Davis could be one of the greatest duos in the league and should be capable of great things as a young, exciting and efficient two-way spine. Add in perimeter shooters such as Buddy Hield, depth in Marcus Thornton, and a number of great glue guys, like Quincy Pontdexter and Omir Asik, and the Pels are looking good.
Is it worth losing Jrue, Tyreke and a first-round pick or two? Yes, I’m excited just thinking about it.
The “process” is dead. In fact, the hugely-likable and hugely-talented Joel Embiid is the process now. The Philadelphia 76ers’ full-out tanking has ended and now they have made it clear that they want to get better quickly. The Colangelos do not want to keep adding young assets; they want to improve and this trade does just that.
What it does, is get their backcourt and their frontcourt sorted. By shaking Okafor, the Sixers free up their big man logjam. Embiid is the starter, without doubt, and they now have the option to use Nerlens Noel either alongside him or to shore up the second unit.
And on the other end, well, the Sixers need help. Sergio Rodriguez, Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson: these are not players to take a roster forward. What Philly needs is a better backcourt and adding Jrue Holiday at the point and Bradley Beal at the two does just that. The Sixers lack outside scoring and a true perimeter threat at the moment and Beal is the epitome of both of those things. He makes Philadelphia better now and in the future, when Ben Simmons returns from injury. The Missouri-born shooting guard is just 23 years old and so he fits nicely with the age group of the Sixers’ young core. Beal, Simmons, Embiid, Noel(?). Imagine facing them during their primes.
Bringing Jrue Holiday back to Pennsylvania is more of a temporary measure, although it certainly does make the team better for now. With 14.5 points and 7 assists per game, Jrue is a huge upgrade at the point and that is a position in which improvement is sorely needed. When Simmons returns from injury, it is more than likely that the small forward with sweet handles and impressive court vision runs point, but until then Jrue fills the void. And, with the point guard out of contract in the summer, the Sixers are free to part ways with him should they decide that he does not fit beside the young Simmons.
Of course, the Lakers’ first round pick is a notable loss but they could likely try to get the Pelicans’ first-round pick from 2018 to make up for it, gambling on NOLA’s new duo not working so well. Besides, if the Sixers do not have enough prospects already, then no one does. Beal is enough of a return as a piece that could complete their young core and stay with it for a long time. Philly loses games a lot but the Colangelos want to improve now and this helps them to do it, with Holiday filling in Simmons’ playmaking void.
Obviously, it is more than unlikely that this trade would ever happen. John Wall and Bradley Beal will likely stay in D.C. for years and it is hard to see the Wizards rebuilding now. How nicely does this trade work out, though? John Wall and Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Bradley Beal, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid as the core of a future contender in Philadelphia. An exciting rebuild with the head start of a plethora of picks and assets for WSH. Come on! Everyone wins and the league gets two new future contenders.