The Indiana Pacers made trade rumor waves earlier than any other team when they went public with the notion that Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, and Caris LeVert were all available.
All three are attractive trade chips. But Sabonis is the best of the bunch and would provide the most value for any team, contender or upstart.
The latest news is that Domas may be headed to the Nation’s Capital to join forces with Bradley Beal, who’s often involved in rumors in his own right. If that comes to fruition, Beal would have his best running mate since John Wall.
With that in mind, the Wizards need to find a deal with the Pacers to bring the versatile big man to D.C.
The Pacers made Sabonis available in December
Indiana got a jump start on the trade market when the team announced it might enter a rebuild in early December.
The announcement meant Sabonis, Turner, and LeVert could all be on their way out.
Dealing its three best players made sense for Indiana then, and it still does now on Jan. 29. The Pacers are 18-32 and six games out of even a play-in spot.
For years the franchise has been content having a consistent shot at the postseason, even if that meant landing one of the final seeds in the East. It appears, however, the organization is contemplating re-starting the timeline.
But according to Bleacher Report, Indiana’s asking price is high. In return for Sabonis, the Pacers are looking for multiple first-round picks and something similar to what the Orlando Magic got when they traded Nikola Vucevic to Chicago at last year’s deadline.
That deal sent Vuc and Al-Farouq Aminu to the Bulls in return for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and two first-round picks.
Sabonis is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, but that’s a high asking price.
Washington has the pieces to make that kind of deal work, however. The question is, how badly do they want to pair the 25-year-old with Beal?
The big man would be a perfect fit next to Bradley Beal with the Washington Wizards
Beal is a legitimate go-to scorer. He’s in the midst of a down year in terms of points, but he’s still averaging nearly 24 a game. He’s become a better playmaker, dishing out a career-high 6.5 assists per game.
The threat of Brad demanding out of Washington — even when he’s repeatedly denied he wants to leave — always looms over the franchise.
Adding a player with Sabonis’s talent, and more importantly his skillset, could go a long way toward appeasing Beal if he ever does indeed decide to ask for a trade.
According to Fanspo, the Wizards own all of their first-round picks through 2028, with the exception of their 2023 selection. However, what could be more attractive to Indiana is the stable of young players Washington has built.
Washington also signed Spencer Dinwiddie in free agency and has acquired Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, and Corey Kispert in recent drafts. Thomas Bryant and Daniel Gafford are two serviceable young big men on the roster.
And according to The Athletic, the franchise is in on a possible Sabonis trade.
A Beal-Sabonis fit makes sense, and the former Gonzaga star has been available for nearly two months if and when Washington wants to pounce.
Sabonis would help Beal and the Wiz in both the short and long term
Via Josh Robbins in The Athletic piece: “Sabonis would be, or at least should be, the Pacers player the Wizards covet most.
“They could run their offense through him, and as a super-skilled big, Sabonis can facilitate the offense with his passing and carry the scoring load alongside Beal. He’s also a demon on the boards.”
Sabonis has never been allowed to put his full playmaking ability on display stuck next to Turner. The 6-foot-11 versatile forward could flash his above-average passing skills with Beal hanging out around the perimeter.
The two stars would be a good fit and help a 23-25 Wizards team make a significant push for the playoffs. The only question left is if Washington is willing to make Indy an offer it can’t refuse.
All statistics courtesy of NBA.com.