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In It for the Long Haul, an Early Review on the Wizards’ Rebuild

Boston: Mar 18, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) looks on against the Sacramento Kings during the second half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After another mediocre season, the Washington Wizards’ rebuild is in motion. Here is everything you can expect from the Wizards now and in the future.

In It for the Long Haul, an Early Review on the Wizards’ Rebuild

The Wizards are finally tearing it all down. The D.C. franchise is tired of the constant mediocrity and has decided to start over. To kick things off, former Los Angeles Clippers general manager Michael Winger was hired as the team’s basketball operations president. Winger’s claim to fame is his seven-year run with the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2010-2017 as an assistant general manager. With his help, the Thunder made it to the Finals in 2012 and two Western Conference Finals in 2014 and 2016.

The first thing Winger did was hire Thunder vice president Will Dawkins as the next general manager. Dawkins spent 15 years with the Thunder organization. His time with the team overlaps with Winger’s seven-year stint. As it stands now, the duo is hoping to be able to replicate the success they had in Oklahoma with Washington.

A Clean Slate for a Rebuild

Winger and Dawkins took one look at the Wizards’ team and decided that their middling roster needed to be reformed. From 2018-2022, they have been the eighth, 11th, ninth, eighth, and 12th seeds in the East. At best, they have been good enough to sneak into the playoffs only to get manhandled by a much superior team. The Wizards started their rebuild by trading Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns. On paper, Washington got an awful return, Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and several pick swaps that could end up being in the later rounds. That is all Washington could manage for a three-time All-Star who only just turned 30. Furthermore, the Wizards also sent Jordan Goodwin to the Suns, a young guard who was quickly becoming a fan favorite in D.C.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

The reason for such a dreadful return is simple: Beal had a no-trade clause on his contract. This clause enabled him to say no to any trades that might get the Wizards a decent return. The clause also allowed him to dictate where he could play and what value could be obtained from him. While this is a huge blow, trading him was still the right decision by Winger and Dawkins. Beal’s huge super max contract is now off the books, and the Wizards have a fresh start for their rebuild.

This was far from the only move Washington made. All-Star Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Boston Celtics for cap space and future trade assets. Additionally, Paul was signed and dealt to the Golden State Warriors for Jordan Poole, Patrick Baldwin Jr., Ryan Rollins, a second-round pick, a first-round pick, and cash.

Finally, the Wizards drafted Bilal Coulibaly with the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft. He is a raw project player with enough physical tools to excite even the most pessimistic fans. The Wizards rebuild will most likely feature a lot of blowout losses, empty arenas, and players nobody has heard of getting significant playing time. However, Wizards fans shouldn’t be too upset, as the mediocre seasons this franchise was known for will make way for a younger team with far more potential than their previous era.


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