Washington Wizards Trade Rumors: Wizards, Pelicans Interested In Nuggets’ Will Barton

Washington Wizards and New Orleans Pelicans have both reportedly explored a trade involving Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton.

Needing a boost before the final stretch of the season, the Washington Wizards sent a first round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Markieff Morris.

Morris, who supplanted Jared Dudley in the starting lineup, immediately became a go-to option in D.C. alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal last season.

While the move bolstered the Wizards on both ends of the floor, it wasn’t enough for the Wizards to sneak into the NBA Playoffs, as they finished .500 on the season.

This year, the Wizards have found themselves in a similar situation.

At 12-15, the Wizards gained some momentum, picking up five straight wins at the Verizon Center. Currently, the Wizards have over a 40 percent chance of making the postseason, according to numberFire.

There are a dozen teams competing for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, with just three games separating the fifth placed team and the Wizards, who are 12th in the standings.

Ultimately, the difference between missing and making the playoffs could be a single win.

For the Washington Wizards to make a push before All-Star break, they could consider making a change to their roster.

The second unit, which has been last in scoring for most of the season, has failed to live up to expectations.

Neither Trey Burke nor Tomas Satoransky have done enough to solidify a role as the backup point guard.

Jason Smith has rocked a negative player efficiency rating for the majority of the season and Ian Mahinmi is scheduled to miss at least six more weeks of the season following a double-knee procedure.

In order to improve the team’s second unit, Ernie Grunfeld might not have a choice but to make a trade, which he’s beginning to explore with the Denver Nuggets, according ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

Averaging 14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, Barton has become a leading contributor for the Denver Nuggets.

With Jamal Murray being selected seventh overall in the 2016 NBA Draft and Gary Harris remaining a part of the team’s core, the Nuggets will likely have to part ways with Barton, whose contract will expire following the 2017-18 NBA season.

According to several reports, teams have expressed interest in swapping a first round pick for Barton, just as the Washington Wizards did for Morris prior to last season’s trade deadline.

If the Wizards – or any team, for that matter – do end up acquiring Barton, it would likely be for a protected first-round pick and a filler.

Washington has lacked depth, specifically in the backcourt. Marcus Thornton has given the team a spark in spurts, but has failed to produce consistently. Burke and Satoransky have both been in-and-out of the rotation.

Barton, 25, is a proven player on both ends of the floor and has shown a willingness to defend. He’s also shooting a career-high 37 percent from 3-point range, which is up roughly 14 percent from what he shot during his rookie season.

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