By Stephen D. Riley, Special to AFRO
On the heels of the Washington Capitals bringing home the Stanley Cup Trophy to the streets of Washington D.C., the Washington Wizards are on the clock. The 2018 NBA Draftclock starts in a few days and at pick 15, the Wizards should be looking for somebody, anybody, to come in and give them a big boost for next season if Washington wants to move the needle on their championship expectations. However, as reported by The Sports Capitol, the Wizards have other ideas in mind on improving the team. So they think.
According to reports, the Wizards have openly announced that they’re willing to move down in the draft and come off their 15th pick if teams are willing to take on a few of the bloated and expiring contracts on Washington’s roster. With John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter locked up with big deals as the core of the team, it’s a fire sale throughout the rest of the roster with Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris and Ian Manhinmi as the leading candidates to get moved. If general manager Ernie Grunfeld pulls this off, it’ll be another face palm for a Wizards franchise that’s been bumbling and fumbling the ball since the late 70s.
Shedding salary would be ideal if Washington was turning itself into the new landing spot for any potential “super team” but moving back in the draft just to get rid of some contracts that are set to expire next year and the following season is the dumbest thing Grunfeld and the Wizards have done since, well, last season.
Whether it was signing Mahinmi to a four-year, $60-million-plus deal in 2016, overpaying for Otto Porter last summer or handing Jodie Meeks a near two-year, $7 million deal with a player’s option for the second season, you just can’t get any more incompetent than the brass atop the Wizards franchise. Mahinmi can’t even get burn off the Wizards bench consistently and Meeks could easily be replaced with a D.C. councilman and you would never know the difference in bench production.
Maybe there’s a plan to acquire DeMarcus Cousins so the team needs the extra cap space but even that sounds silly for a center who was already limited athletically coming off an Achilles tear, a death sentence for most athletes regardless of sports.
Forget the rumors: LeBron James and Kevin Durant aren’t dealing with the antics of this front office and regardless of what maneuver is made, Washington isn’t winning the title next season. So why mortgage the team’s future? Simple: because that’s what Grunfeld does. And if Grunfeld has his way again then it’ll be another season of using the draft to hide his contract mistakes because after all, Mahinmi, Gortat and anybody else Grunfeld wants to move didn’t pay themselves. Grunfeld did and now he’s finally realized how idiotic that was in the first place.