SBNation’s Kristian Winfield just penned a piece, The Wizards need to blow it up. Let’s start by finding a new home for John Wall which most certainly got my attention. You see up until and including when the Pistons blew out the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night my mind has been grappling with the growing feeling that no one other than Blake Griffin and arguably Andre Drummond were really fitting my idea of pieces to build around, and the flickering light and heat of dumpster fire that is the Washington Wizards kept tickling at my peripheral vision. Could Bradley Beal be had? Otto Porter perhaps? John...gulp...Wall?
Well Kristian went ahead and asked a question involving the third of the three: If the Wizards came a-callin’ with John Wall on offer which team would answer?
It’s time to blow the Wizards up, press the big red button, line the roster with explosives and detonate it all.
But where do you start?
You can point the blame at a number of people, from president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld to head coach Scott Brooks and down the line. And ESPN’s Zach Lowe masterfully detailed Grunfeld’s role in the Wizards’ dysfunction.
But the brunt of this meltdown falls on John Wall’s shoulders. The Wizards’ best option just might be trading their best player.
The article goes on to list all of the 29 teams from least to most likely to even pick up the phone (Golden State is unsurprisingly #29). I felt my heartbeat pick up and scrolled faster and faster until....
The Detroit Pistons:
The Pistons are in an interesting situation: They could use an All-Star point guard, but they won’t have cap space to sign a max free agent until 2020. Blake Griffin’s window is now, and Wall is a pick-and-roll maestro. Wall, Griffin and Andre Drummond could be a really nice three-headed monster, especially with three-and-D shooters on the wing.
This one makes a little bit of sense, especially given the Pistons’ future payroll. Detroit reluctantly picks up the phone.
My first thought other than the massive crushing blow to Tom Gores’ wallet was, “wait, is he suggesting we’d somehow be able to trade for Wall and keep Drummond?” Who in the hell would we even trade to make up salaries?? Reggie Jackson? (and wouldn’t that be a hilarious twist of fate) Um...the rest of the entire team?! We do currently employ Sachin “Creator of ESPN’s Trade Machine” Gupta but holy hell...how would that even be possible? Beal isn’t gettable without Andre in return...but given his contract and play of late, could Wall be had?
Any deal would involve Jackson and Jon Leuer and then your guess is as good as mine regarding who needs to send what back from the privilege of Wall’s play, and the obligation of paying him his next massive contract.
Remember, while John Wall hasn’t lived up to expectations as of late, his massive $169 million contract extension doesn’t even start until next year. But ... he’s still John Wall, in his prime! Could a change of scenery final help him become THE John Wall everyone thought he’d be coming out of Kentucky as the #1 pick? Could he prove to be worth the risk as (please don’t let this jinx us) Blake Griffin seems to be so far (small sample sizes be damned)?
If you take a gander at the NBA GM game recently making sometimes huge gambles in the trade market is all the rage (see George, Paul... Leonard, Kawhi...Paul, Chris...also Griffin, Blake and most recently Butler, Jimmy) and increasingly seems the main way, possibly the only way a small to mid market team can make any kind of noise now that player-created superteams are being viewed as begrudgingly acceptable and tanking is being discouraged. While hypothetical this type of trade is exactly the type Gores should be willing to make, especially if it’s doable without including Drummond or Griffin.
Blake is a beast and Dre is a solid compliment to him, but this team as constructed is a low to mid level playoff team, at best. We have two pieces and need a third (and Reggie ain’t it).
Come on Tom...the chips are on the table. Your move. All in big fella. Do it.