Wizards GM says future draft pick uncertainty won't impact this year originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
WASHINGTON — It is possible the Wizards’ first-round pick next year will be traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, as that is the first draft that could convey the pick they included in the 2020 John Wall/Russell Westbrook deal. It is top-14 protected, meaning if they make the playoffs, it goes to the Thunder, who acquired the pick in a subsequent trade with the Rockets.
That has to be factored into decisions the Wizards make in this year’s draft, as if they trade the 10th overall pick for a veteran player, for instance, it could leave them without first-round picks in consecutive years. That could be particularly relevant if they sign Bradley Beal to a supermax contract, as he will take up 35% of the salary cap and a great way to offset such a contract is with players on rookie deals.
Wizards president Tommy Sheppard, though, doesn’t see that as prohibitive to making a trade in this year’s draft.
“No. You always are cognizant of it, but we can fix that in a hurry if we needed to,” he said.
That would seem to indicate confidence he can acquire another first-round pick if needed. The Wizards actually did that last summer by trading Westbrook to the Lakers. They got a first-round pick they ended up trading again for point guard Aaron Holiday and a second-round selection that was used to draft Isaiah Todd.
The Wizards have been linked in various rumors to both trading up and trading out of the draft entirely, specifically for a veteran point guard. Sheppard also floated the idea of trading back.
Basically, anything can happen and Sheppard thinks there will be more trades in this year’s draft than there usually are.
“It just seems like this is that kind of draft where some teams may say ‘you know what, let’s just put what we have on the table.’ I also think a lot of teams recognize they are great things to have, first-round picks, but not necessarily having three or four of them in one draft. So, that allows you to get involved in other deals, certainly,” he said.
The Spurs are a team with three first-round picks; at ninth, 20th and 25th. Rockets also have three; at third, 17th and 26th. The Hornets, Thunder, Nuggets and Grizzlies each have two first-round picks.
Sheppard said he has also spoken to or plans to check in on every team selecting ahead of them to gauge the asking price to move up. But with the 10th overall pick, he could choose to trade back and take advantage of what seems to be a fairly deep class throughout the first round.
“I think this draft has some really good options where we at. I think you can move back and still get something similar,” he said.
There are a lot of possibilities, but the fact the Wizards aren’t against trading out of the first round entirely, given what lies ahead due to the Wall/Westbrook deal, is certainly noteworthy.