Even with the Washington Wizards improving to a 4-9 record on Monday with a win over the Orlando Magic, league pundits are still concerned about the team’s slow start and wondering if it may be time for them to trade one of their top players. All-Star point guard John Wall has been at the center of many of these recent trade rumors, and in a recent report, Sports Illustrated wrote that sending Wall to the Miami Heat could be the best option at this point in the 2018-19 NBA season.
Describing a potential move to trade Wall as the “most drastic possibility on the table,” Sports Illustrated‘s Jeremy Woo wrote that the 28-year-old point guard’s play has recently been on the decline. According to Woo, Wall’s trademark speed is now at a point where he “comes and goes,” with his inconsistent three-point shooting also affecting the Wizards’ ability to run an effective, well-spaced offense.
Given how shooting guard Bradley Beal has stepped up as the Wizards’ “best player” and how small forward Otto Porter, despite his lucrative contract, has not played well enough to be an attractive trade piece, Woo wrote that John Wall is the “preferable trade chip” for the team as they try to salvage their season and find new direction.
While Sports Illustrated’s Woo opined that other teams could be taking a big financial risk by trading for a highly-paid “underachiever” like Wall, he mentioned the Miami Heat as the team that would “make the most sense” as a potential destination for the former first overall draft pick. According to Woo, the Heat are a point where they need an “injection of star talent,” but do not have the cap space to make a move for a top free agent in the 2019 offseason.
“Stuck with Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson through 2020, the Heat are in a position to take a risk and inject some energy into a roster replete with tough players, but lacking in ceiling.”
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) November 13, 2018
As Miami failed to trade for former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler, who was shipped to the Philadelphia 76ers over the weekend, Woo said that if John Wall gets traded from the Wizards to the Heat, such a deal would be “more about shaping plans for the future,” rather than giving either team a better chance of becoming an Eastern Conference powerhouse within the current season.
As speculated by Sports Illustrated, the Heat could surrender their starting point guard, Goran Dragic, as doing so would allow Miami to trade away someone who is set to earn a similar amount of money as Wall in the 2018-19 season. But since Wall’s contract, which currently pays him a shade over $19 million, will nearly double to $37.8 million in 2019-20, as shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Sports Illustrated wrote that the Heat could treat his theoretical acquisition via trade “as [the] equivalent to a big free agent signing,” then find ways to free up salary cap space in the 2019 offseason.
Despite the aforementioned perception that he is underachieving, John Wall has put up good numbers on paper in the first 13 games of the 2018-19 season. He currently sports averages of 22.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game and is shooting 46.6 percent from the field. Most of these are improvements over his statistics in the 2017-18 season, where he played only 41 games due to injuries.