What a deal would look like
This trade idea comes by way of my counterpart, Michael Saenz, who crafted a piece outlining each team’s dream target at the deadline. Saenz suggests a potential deal between the Rockets and the Washington Wizards involving Jalen Green.
“What the Washington Wizards need at the moment is young talent with a high ceiling. Green could be viewed as a dream deadline target for the rebuilding Wizards. He'd certainly inject this franchise with some much-needed excitement. I can't help but wonder if a swap centered around Kyle Kuzma and another rotation player (and draft compensation) for Green would work for both Washington and Houston.”
Based on Saenz’ framework, let’s take a look at a potential deal that works financially, giving each team what they need.
Why the Wizards make the deal
The Wizards find themselves bereft of young talent, which has essentially forced Jordan Poole to be the franchise player, which is a problem, as he’s far from a marquee player. Poole’s basketball IQ isn’t the greatest and he’s not the best team player either.
Poole is best served in a secondary role, like what we saw in Golden State. Adding Jalen Green would give Wizards fans something to be excited about, as he has the potential to be a 25-point scorer and he’s still only 21-years-old.
Green could benefit from a change of scenery, as it’s oftentimes difficult for players to trug along with their original teams once they know they were dangled at the deadline and essentially unwanted. In Green, the Wizards would get a three-level scorer, who has been compared to Bradley Beal, who is their second all-time leading scorer in franchise history.
The Wizards were forced to trade Beal, as they realized the need to rebuild, but they clearly didn’t want to, which is why they held on to him for much longer than they should have. Green could easily be Beal’s replacement, and they wouldn’t bring in any long-term salary, as Jock Landale and Reggie Bullock are on expiring deals, while Jae’Sean Tate has a team option for 2024-25.
The Wizards could also elect to re-route Tate to a contending team for a first-round pick, getting back one of their outgoing firsts in this deal. Most importantly, they can offload Kuzma's remaining $64.3 million through 2027.