Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
It seems every offseason John Wall has a wish list that he’s comfortable sharing with the media. “Making the playoffs” has been a constant but once again, we’ll hand him a pass due to unforeseen injuries. At the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, Wall wanted a shooter, a backcourt running mate and some more veterans. He was granted all three wishes in the form of Martell Webster, Bradley Beal and the hefty contracts of Emeka Okafor & Trevor Ariza. Following the termination of this season, Wall (and Beal) have become fixated on acquiring a stretch 4 in a draft that lacks said commodity. Some point to Anthony Bennett as the stretch 4 Wall has been longing for but in this recent rumor, it seems that Wall is looking for a proven player rather than another youngster to develop.
As for “a 4 man that can pick and pop” (Wall’s exact words), the 2013 Free Agent class is quite barren with David West and the one-and-only Andray “This is your captain speaking” Blatche the closest resemblances to a stretch 4. Obviously, both are out of the question due to much different reasons. So who would Wall be indicating for Ernie Grunfeld to target. Ryan Anderson from the Pelicans? Andrea Bargnani from the Raptors? It was only a matter of time before the Bucks came ringing (or Grunfeld came begging) with their roster (after reaching their ceiling of the 8th seed this year), in rebuild.
Just to step away for one second, how annoyed do the Bucks have to be? They made what seemed to be a smart move in sending Tobias Harris (and other small contracts) for 3-point assassin J.J. Redick to theoretically “put them over the top” in the playoffs at the most recent trading deadline. I’m sure anyone who watched Tobias Harris in the second half of the season with extended minutes can definitively say the Bucks made a huge mistake. Who knew that the Orlando Magic could come out of the Dwightmare even better than the Nuggets did with Carmelo after everyone ridiculed them acquiring Afflalo instead of Bynum. But that’s neither here nor there, the underlying notion I’m trying to get across is that the Bucks now find themselves with the following problems:
- It has been an unspoken fact for nearly a season that Brandon Jennings will not sign a near-max contract with them.
- Monta Ellis has turned down an extension.
- J.J. Redick, the player they gave up Harris for, will probably sign elsewhere.
In summary, ALL THEIR PLAYERS HATE MILWAUKEE!
So with all these uncertainties surrounding the Bucks, a coaching change and an obvious rebuild on their hands, who else to turn to when you have a proven European who can shoot – Ernie Grunfeld. Sure, Ilyasova, currently, is a much better player than if the Wizards drafted Oladipo, Porter or Bennett. What works in their advantage is their rookie contracts and potential. Of course, if Bennett turns out to be DeMarcus Cousins without the anger management and learns a smidgen of defense, then the Wizards would have made a terrible, terrible mistake in trading their pick for Ilyasova. But with so many questions in the “weakest draft since 2000” (think Kenyon Martin no.1 pick bad), trading for a proven player on a friendly contract might be the wise option for the Wizards.
If they get to unload one of their OkAriza contracts (preferably Ariza because Okafor, although pricey, was the main reason why the Wizards were one of the top defenses in the league last year and could be worth a smaller contract after his deal is up) then that would be ideal. Additionally, if they can attain Milwaukee’s 15th pick (likely) or Larry Sanders/John Henson (highly unlikely) then as a fan, I wouldn’t be opposed to this trade. By substituting Ariza’s salary for Ilyasova’s next season, the Wizards could still have the opportunity to entice Webster to stay. The only problem long-term is that, if the Wizards do indeed trade for Ilyasova, retain Webster, sign John Wall to the max, then there is basically no money to flirt with a FA in the year of 2014 (because the Wizards will be keeping money aside for Beal when his rookie deal is up) – but as all Wizards fans do, this is looking too far down the line.
There should be two ways to look at this scenario as a fan: do you a) want to develop another youngster on the rookie scale who has his flaws, take the gamble that he works out better than expected and pray some help comes to Washington in 2014 or do you b) want to acquire a proven player on decent salary to solidify a playoff birth next year and rely on the Wall/Beal combination to determine how far they will go for the next 5 years.
I’m sure I know which one Ernie is pushing for Ted to approve.