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How Did the Washington Wizards Do at the Trade Deadline?

Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford (21) dunks the ball against the Detroit Pistons in the third quarter at Little Caesars Arena.

The annual NBA trade deadline has passed, and the Wizards (9-41) were among the many teams that changed their roster. Washington is currently riding a four-game losing streak as the All-Star break approaches, so how did the Wizards do at the trade deadline?

How Did the Washington Wizards Do at the Trade Deadline?

Wizards Deal Center Daniel Gafford to Dallas

Surprisingly, the Wizards made only one move on the day, by trading center Daniel Gafford to the Dallas Mavericks. In exchange, the Wizards received Richaun Holmes and draft compensation. Outlets later reported that the draft compensation is a 2024 first-round pick.

Gafford averages 10.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game, all career-highs. The former 2019 draft pick was coming into his own as a rim protector and provided the high energy the team desperately needed. Gafford will now share the court with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, as Dallas is currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The Mavericks needed depth at the center position to pair with Dereck Lively II. Now, Dallas will have a consistent, solid paint presence.

Washington’s frontcourt now consists of Holmes and Marvin Bagley III, who has missed the last three games due to a back contusion. The Wizards struggled immensely in the rebounding department for the better part of the season. Unfortunately, Washington could find itself in the same predicament since Gafford isn’t there.

Forward Kyle Kuzma, Guard Tyus Jones, and Guard Delon Wright Stay Put

The Wizards didn’t do much at the trade deadline overall. Kyle Kuzma averages 21.9 points on 45.5% shooting for the year and is arguably Washington’s best player. Since Kuzma is staying, it conveys that the organization values him immensely.

Tyus Jones is a player on a contract that expires at the end of the season. The point guard signed a two-year, $28 million deal while he was with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2021. Jones has been a solid asset for Washington, and perhaps the organization thought it could get a high draft pick by trading him. Since Jones is staying post-deadline, does it mean he will be a part of the rebuilding process going beyond this season?

Delon Wright is on his seventh team since being drafted 20th overall in the 2015 NBA draft. On the year, Wright averages 4.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Wright sees the court an average of 15.1 minutes per game. The former first-round pick had his best game against the Charlotte Hornets back on November 8. Wright tallied 18 points, four steals and shot 4-5 from the field. Besides that performance, Wright hasn’t scored double figures in 28 other games.

Perhaps Washington aimed to get at least a second-round pick for Wright but couldn’t find a trade partner. Wright seemed the most probable player to be moved due to his current production level and a team looking to add back-court depth.

The Last Word

Washington’s frontcourt took a massive blow with the departure of Gafford, who led the team in rebounding and blocks. Interim head coach Brian Keefe will have no choice but to play “small ball” until Bagley is healthy or Holmes (not frequently used in rotation with the Mavericks) can maybe be as productive as Gafford was.

Kuzma will likely have to play center (which he’s done before). Kuzma is the second tallest (six-foot-nine) prominent player after Bagley (six-foot-10), so inserting Kuzma in the trenches makes sense.

Washington is the league’s worst in rebounding (40.6 per game) and 27th in defensive rating, which could very well continue to trend downward. The lack of moves at the deadline is surprising, but perhaps general manager Will Dawkins has a bigger vision.


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