Washington Wizards: 3 Possible Trades That Can Improve the Wizards Bench

Jan 6, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) shoots the ball over Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 6, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) shoots the ball over Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline is less than a week away on Feb. 23. If any team needs to make a move, it’s the Washington Wizards. Here are three possible trades the Wizards can make before the deadline.

The Washington Wizards are 34-21 this season, third in the Eastern Conference. They have won 15 of their last 17 games, but as they enter their last stretch of games, they need to focus on team weaknesses. One of those glaring weaknesses has been their bench production.

The Wizards bench ranks 29th in the league in points per game (23.4),  last in rebounds per game (11.1), last in assists per game (4.8) and 28th in steals per game (2.1). This doesn’t bode well for a team looking to win an NBA championship.

With 27 games left before the playoffs, Washington needs to put some energy and focus into acquiring a solid bench player before the NBA trade deadline.

With a number of players on the trade block such as Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Lou Williams and New York Knicks‘ forward Carmelo Anthony, there’s room to improve. But the Washington Wizards can be cautious in their approach.

They have some assets on their bench teams could use in their rotations, despite their low-ranking numbers. Guys like center Jason Smith and guard Trey Burke are still serviceable options in the right team’s rotation. There’s also a decision to make with center Ian Mahinmi.

He’s finally returned from platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment on both of his knees after appearing in just five games.

He’s under a minutes restriction at the moment, but if he can become a serviceable bench option, the team could have another asset on its hands for the offseason.

Here are some players the Wizards can trade for now to improve their path to the playoffs.

Feb 8, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (44) spins towards the hoop next to Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (34) in the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Bulls 123-92. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 8, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

3. Nikola Mirotic

Nikola Mirotic is coming up on free agency this summer with an expiring contract, which makes his situation with the Chicago Bulls an interesting one. Mirotic has appeared in 48 games for Chicago this season, averaging 9.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

He’s shooting just 29.9 percent from the three-point line this season after shooting 39 percent a season ago.

A change of scenery may be in Mirotic’s future as the Chicago Bulls look to rebuild. He’s still averaging 22.5 minutes per game, but his role in the rotation seems to be dwindling.

Wizards get F Nikola Mirotic
C Cristiano Felicio

Bulls get
PF Andrew Nicholson

SG Tomas Satoransky

With two expiring contracts in Mirotic and power forward Cristiano Felicio, there’s not much risk involved with either team as they’ll be free agents in either case. Seeing as how each team’s season is going in different directions, the trade could interest both teams.

Satoransky recorded a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) this season against the Portland Trail Blazers in a 120-101 victory on Feb. 16. The rookie shooting guard is averaging 3.0 points, 1.8 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 39 appearances for the Wizards this season.

He’s averaging 14.2 minutes per game.

Nicholson is averaging 2.5 points and 1.2 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game. He’s played in 28 games for Washington this season. He’s yet to find his way into the Wizards’ rotation so a change of scenery would help his case as well.

The fifth-year forward was originally drafted 19th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic.

Feb 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lou Williams (23) moves to the basket against Sacramento Kings forward Anthony Tolliver (43) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lou Williams (23) moves to the basket against Sacramento Kings forward Anthony Tolliver (43) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Lou Williams

The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to ship Lou Williams and it’s certainly not a bad thing for the 12-year veteran. Williams is averaging 18.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game off the bench for the 19-39 Lakers.

As the Lakers’ leading scorer this season despite coming off the bench, trading Lou Will could certainly get the Lakers some help right away. But just how much do the Washington Wizards offer for the Lakers’ guard?

That question honestly depends on how much the Wizards are willing to offer.

Wizards get
C Timofey Mozgov

SG Lou Williams

Lakers get
C Ian Mahinimi

SG Tomas Satoransky

Trading Williams could have to do with wanting to get younger, so offering Satoransky for Lou Will makes sense on paper. Whether Satoransky can fit in the Lakers’ rotation at the off-guard is another question.

The Lakers’ willingness to do this trade depends on  how they view Timofey Mozgov, however. Mozgov is averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game since signing a four-year, $64 million deal with Lakers last summer.

He’s been moved to the third center position on the depth chart recently to develop their young guys. Trading his contract and taking a risk on Ian Mahinmi could be worth it.

Mahinmi can be a serviceable bench threat when he’s healthy. He spent four years with the Indiana Pacers, averaging 9.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 blocks per game last season.

He signed a four-year, $64 million deal with the Washington Wizards this past summer as well.

Jan 6, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) shoots the ball over Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 6, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) shoots the ball over Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

1. Bojan Bogdanovic

If the Wizards want to make a postseason run, acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic is a must. Bogdanovic averages 14.2 points, 3.6 rebounds amd 1.6 assists per game for the Brooklyn Nets.

He’ll be a free agent this offseason so his expiring contract isn’t a bad thing for the Nets to let go of this early with a 9-47 record. However, acquiring the Nets’ forward could be come at a high price for the Washington Wizards.

Kelly Oubre Jr. hasn’t been bad for the Washington Wizards, but with Otto Porter Jr. set for a big payday, letting their younger forward go could be worth it in the end. The trade keeps the Nets young while keeping their cap space relatively low.

Wizards get
SF Bojan Bogdanovic

SG Sean Kilpatrick

Nets get
SG Tomas Satoransky

SG Marcus Thornton

SF Kelly Oubre Jr.

Adding Thornton gives the Nets a veteran player to work with off the bench. Thornton averages 6.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 33 appearances for the Wizards. He’s averaging 17.4 minutes per game as well.

Getting Sean Kilpatrick and Bogdanovic could be considered steals for the Washington Wizards. Both fill an instant need on offense.

If ever there was a “LeBron James stopper,” Bogdanovic is “that” guy. While he wouldn’t completely slow him down, Bogdanovic is a guy that when put in the right situation, can defend at a high level.

At 6-foot-8, 218 pounds, Bogdanovic has the size and strength tokeep up with James, if only in spurts. With him possibly in their rotation, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers becomes possible.

Kilpatrick’s ability in isolation as well as his ability to score in bunches can be used greatly off the Wizards bench. He is averaging 13.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game through 55 games for the Nets. He has come off the bench in their last 13 games.

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