“What they’re not ready for is guys like you and and all the other gnarly gnarlingtons in my life, that we are high priests, Vatican Assassin Warlocks. Boom. Print that, people. See where that goes.”
- Charlie Sheen
“The Only Thing I’m Addicted to is Winning”
More like Crapital Hill, right?
Randy Whitman can’t run this squad the way they deserve. He doesn’t have the finesse or run-n-gun experience necessary to play the way they want to. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe they shouldn’t go that route – it’s not for everyone.
But they can’t stay put: well they can – winning isn’t for everyone, either.
News flash: Not everyone is special.
But the Wizards could be, if they were Charlie Sheen.
“I have one speed, I have one gear: go!”
“I Win Here, I Win There”
If they decide they want to start *winning* again, the Wizards should ditch Randy and then try to put an actually good run-n-gun roster together. That means trades – the teams I’ve thought about are the Nuggets, the Celtics, but mostly the Magic. I’ve been kicking around the ol’ ESPN trade machine for a while but I haven’t landed on a winner yet, in large part because free agent signings can’t be moved before December 15th and I haven’t figured out how to tell the machine that I want to pretend as if it was December 15th for the sake of argument.
In this article, I’m focusing on the main trade candidate I’ve considered: the Magic. They’ve started out faster than most would think, but considering the front office tends to seek out ‘win-now’ type moves, leading to developmental concerns going forward, the Wizards could potentially pull a winning trade out of their hat: maybe even a win-win trade.
Maybe even bi-win-win.
“As kids we’re not taught how to deal with success; we’re taught how to deal with failure. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. If at first you succeed, then what?”
“I’ll Make this a Piece of Magic Warlock Art.”
The pieces in play are as follows:
From the Magic:
Channing frye – $8,193,029
Nikola Vucevic – $11,250,000
Tobias Harris – $16,000,000
Dwayne Dedmon – $947,276
From the Wizards:
Nene – $13,000,000
Martin Gortat – $11,217,391
Otto Porter – $4,662,960
Gary Neal – $2,139,000
“Magically Converting your Tin Cans into Pure Gold.”
The general sense with Tobias Harris is that he doesn’t really have a place in Orlando – as a SF, he keeps Mario Hezonja off the court, unless the Magic want to bench Oladipo permanently (they don’t). You could bump him down to PF, but then what do you do with Aaron Gordon? I would love to see an Elfrid, Oladipo, Hezonja, Harris, Gordon line up (hmmm Vucevic trades, anyone?) but i don’t see the magic being that inventive. In particular i don’t see magic head coach and WWE wrestler Scott Skiles springing for a small ball lineup with the defensive short comings that I see there.
Maybe you bring Toby off the bench? Well, they just paid him good money, 16,000,000 a year of it – a solid max. Plus he’s got real star potential… Weird star potential that makes you… think about things.
Also, the Magic’s guards are confusing as all heck out there. Elfrid and Oladipo both can’t shoot, but the Magic appear committed to the duo. and maybe there’s some logic to that, but you can’t make that work without shooting coming from somewhere – maybe Neal or Beal (that’s right, ass holes) Or Dudley? I don’t know, man.
It also might be recent stand-out Evan Fournier. In fact, it should be him probably. The bread and butter of this trade is not among guards.
“I’m Sorry, Man, but I’ve Got Magic. I’ve Got Poetry in my Fingertips.”
“I don’t have time for their judgement and their stupidity and you know they lay down with their ugly wives in front of their ugly children and look at their loser lives and then they look at me and they say, ‘I can’t process it’ well, no, you never will stop trying, just sit back and enjoy the show. You know?”
The reality of the situation is that you can’t have a big man duo of Vucevic and Harris. That would be horrific. and you can’t move Vucevic because you have no legit center options for the future (unless you count Aaron gordon, which I do, but whatever, fuck it).
Vucevic doesn’t make sense as a long term roster piece without a strong defensive player next to him – Aaron Gordon looks good as a 4 in that regard. That limits shooting, but with Peyton, Oladipo, and super Mario filling out the line-up, there’s plenty of explosiveness to make up for that.
Gortat coming off the bench for defensive stability makes sense for his trajectory as an aging center, and Otto Porter is a better fit on both sides of the court as a wing/stretch 4 option than Tobias in most line-ups next to Aaron Gordon, Vucevic, Fournier, and Oladipo.
Nene is either injured or on the cusp of injury constantly – he’s great in limited minutes, and that’s what the Magic need. Nene has a offensive post game that compensates for the loss of Harris, can play the 3 or 4, and creates offense in his weird Nene way. But let’s be real about what the Magic gain from Nene: he makes the money work as far as the CBA is concerned, gives the Magic a hefty expiring contract, and unplugs the log jam in the front court.
Randy Whitman loses some big man flexibility – but when you’re playing small, that’s the name of the game. Meanwhile, Skiles gets a couple of versatile bigs.
“From my Big Beautiful Warlock Brain, Welcome to ‘Sheen’s Korner”
Tobias Harris just seems like a great fit alongside Beal and Wall. They would be pretty short on true big men, but they just signed Ryan Hollins, which means they already are.
The Wizards would almost certainly need to cough up one of their young wings, Otto Porter or Kelly Oubre. Otto makes more sense in this scenario, particularly for the Magic, but is the more valuable player to the Wizards. But it isn’t as if the Wizards are low on quality wings, many of which are the same caliber as Otto. He’s a good piece, but not that good, and the Wizards should be willing to move away from him given the offensive upside Tobias offers them.
Especially with Channing Frye thrown into the mix. Last year, he was a terrible fit with the Magic: this year he has pulled his shit together, but he’s still not all that compelling a fit, especially considering his 15 minutes a game. Gortat’s pick and roll game is a real loss here for the Wizards, but for a small ball line-up, Gortat and Wall do not make a ton of sense as a pairing, especially without real stretch options.
“Duh! So, We’re Asking You Now, What are some of your Favorite Lines that this Warlock Brain Produced?”
Plopping Channing Frye at the 5 spot spaces the floor soooooo much more for John Wall and Bradley Beal. Plus, it’s another kick-out option. The reality of the situation is such that the Wizards have very little defensive stoppage while Frye is out on the floor, but blistering offense can compensate for that, and when it can’t, there’s Dedmon. The Wizards will not be able to have great post defense in either of these situations, but Dedmon gives them some hope. It’s more important for them to piece together an offense that fits alongside their guard talent, and that mission is accomplished through this trade.
However, the big man they could get here, Dwayne Dedmon, makes a lot of sense for a roster with as much scoring as the Wizards would have at this point. He’s big, he’s tall, he rebounds, he plays acceptable defense. He is trash at offense, but like I said – ample scoring as is. Sure, there’s not tons of talent, down low, but with Wall and Beal, (now Toby – winning) you don’t need as much versatility down low.
“I’m dealing with fools and trolls and soft targets. It’s just strafing runs in my underwear before my first cup of coffee. I don’t have time for these clowns.”
“Boom, Crush. Night, Losers. Winning, Duh.”
The main potential benefit of a possible exchange of some of the pieces here is that it irons out each team’s building blocks in a 1-5 type of sense. There’s a lot of ambiguity in the two teams’ current rosters, especially because of the ways that the pieces conflict with one another. Both teams are simultaneously developing young pieces and trying to make the playoffs – a swap like this makes sense in both regards.
I am on a drug.