Washington Wizards making deals ahead of NBA trade deadline

It has been the most perplexing Wizards season in my 25 years behind the mic, and so it’s no surprise the Wizards have shaken things up and made deals before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

Most significant is that Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans are going to Dallas and Kristaps Porzingis is coming to D.C.

Montrezl Harrell is on his way to Charlotte for Vernon Carey and Ish Smith. In addition, point guard Aaron Holiday was traded to Phoenix for cash considerations.

The Wizards, with a 10-3 start, offered so much promise at the beginning of the season, but it wasn’t realistic to expect the team to continue winning at that clip. The roster is better than its recent performance of eight losses in 10 games; curiously the only two wins came against the Philadelphia 76ers.

When Dinwiddie arrived in Washington, he talked of doing whatever he could to help make the Wizards competitive and to entice Bradley Beal to want to stay in town. Dinwiddie even called Beal a “low maintenance superstar.”

Beal and Dinwiddie seemed to get along, but it didn’t translate to the court. Oddly enough, some of Dinwiddie’s best games came when Beal was out of the lineup. When at his best, Dinwiddie is one of the best in pick and roll offense, but he was not consistently aggressive enough in his team in D.C.

In acquiring Porzingis, the Wizards get a player who once was the 4th overall pick in the NBA Draft. At 7’3”, his versatility is intriguing and this season he’s averaging over 19 points, seven rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Historically, Porzingis has been an excellent three-point shooter, but this year he’s struggling beyond the arc.

Bottom line: Dinwiddie was not working out with the Wizards and in the deal, they were also able to shed Davis Bertans’ contract. He was in the second year of a five-year, $80 million deal, which wasn’t providing the spark from the three-point distance he did in his first year. Essentially, Bertans has been struggling through a two-year shooting slump. Porzingis needs stay healthy, which has been a problem in the past.

Not easy to say goodbye: With his energy enthusiasm, and even cerebral play, Montrezl Harrell quickly became a fan favorite. In addition to his passionate play, he showed great feel for the game and was a great passer.

Bottom line: The Wizards were probably not going to be able to sign Harrell long term, and in Ish Smith, they get a known commodity at a position they now need with Dinwiddie gone. Smith is capable and at times an electrifying point guard and in his previous stay with the Wizards was great in the locker room.

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Senior Sports Director and morning sports anchor. He first arrived at WTOP in 1989, left in 1992 and returned in 1995. He is a three-time winner of the A.I.R. award as best radio sportscaster in D.C. In 2008 he won the Edward R. Murrow award for best writing for sports commentaries.

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