- The Washington Times
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The news John Wall could potentially miss all of next season after rupturing his Achilles tendon created a ripple effect for the Washington Wizards. They already knew he’d be out for the rest of this season following heel surgery, but now they’ll have to consider the possibility he might not be the same caliber of player again.

Despite the setback, the Wizards appear unlikely to part with any of their major assets ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline.

Owner Ted Leonsis told WTOP last week his team would not trade away their core of Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. Further, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Kevin Arnovitz, both reputable NBA insiders, said on a podcast Monday that the Wizards have not made Porter available.

And after Wall’s latest injury, NBC insider Tom Haberstroh reported the Wizards plan to “stay the course” in chasing the postseason. Washington entered Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks nine games under .500 and 3 ½ back of a playoff spot.

Appearing on 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday, coach Scott Brooks was asked about the possibility of trading away players like Porter, Jeff Green and Trevor Ariza — with the two latter being on expiring contracts.

“I’ll just put it this way: Nothing’s really been not talked about,” Brooks said. “We always talk, and if there’s something that is going to help our team going forward, we have to look at that. It only makes sense, but right now, I’m just worried about tonight.”

The Wizards have already made a series of trades this season in an attempt to salvage their season. In December, they acquired Ariza from the Phoenix Suns for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers. They also acquired forward Sam Dekker in a three-way trade that sent center Jason Smith to Milwaukee.

Ariza, however, continues to pop up in trade rumors. The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in acquiring the versatile 33-year-old, but The Athletic reported the Wizards don’t want to make a trade that would make them worse this season.

The Wizards would like to get out of the league’s luxury tax as they are $5.7 million over at the moment. Shedding Ariza’s $15 million salary could help trim that bill, but they would be unlikely to get a player of equal caliber back in that same scenario.

Trading Markieff Morris, who’s in the final year of his deal, could also be dealt to save money, but can the Wizards find a suitor? Not many teams would be willing to take on his $8.6 million salary and would be unlikely to do so without getting additional compensation. Complicating matters, Morris has a neck injury and hasn’t played since late December. 

The Wizards have repeatedly emphasized their goal is to make the playoffs. As of now, it appears they plan to try with the players they currently have.

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