NBA

The Washington Wizards’ Rebuild got off on the Wrong Foot

The Washington Wizards should be in the process of a rebuild. When you look at the roster and see the team’s struggles over the last couple of seasons, it’s easy for fans to wonder when things will turn around for the NBA franchise.

Most recently, it was reported that Wizards owner Ted Leonsis sought the advice of over 78 people for the best ways to organize and restructure the team. Let’s look at the Wizards recent struggles and discuss what got them into their current sad state.

Starting a rebuild?

We strongly felt the Wizards were starting a complete rebuild when they traded Otto Porter last season. Porter was a former No. 3 overall pick and the team signed him to a max contract expecting him to form a formidable big three with John Wall and Bradley Beal.

That didn’t work out at all, and it was quickly viewed as one of the worst contracts in the Eastern Conference. They traded him to the Chicago Bulls for Jabari Parker, who was on a two-year deal with a player option after the first season, allowing Washington to free up some cap space.

Ernie Grunfeld

We won’t come out and say Ernie Grunfeld is one of the worst front office people in the NBA, but the man received the dubious honor of having a website dedicated to firing him. The Wizards still have not won 50 games as a franchise, and we don’t see it happening this upcoming season.

Some of the team’s notable draft busts include Lazar Hayward and Oleksiy Pecherov. Grunfeld also swung and missed on key free agents that included Javaris Crittenton and Gilbert Arenas. Arenas had minor success with the team as he and Antawn Jamison made the playoffs a few times. But it all came crashing down after a locker room incident between Crittenton and Arenas.

Maxing out John Wall

John Wall's injury might hamper any Washington Wizards rebuilding effort.
John Wall’s injury and contract might hamper any Washington Wizards rebuilding effort. | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

John Wall has one of the worst contracts in the NBA. The Wizards were worried about Wall walking away for nothing in free agency, so after he made the All-NBA team in 2017, they offered him a Supermax contract extension that would start at the end of his current deal. The new deal starts this season. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Wall might miss the entire year while rehabbing from Achilles surgery.

Over the next four years, he stands to make $171 million, and the contract is basically untradable because of a 15% trade kicker that no team wants to touch. When he is healthy, Wall is one of the best point guards in the NBA. But with his slew of injuries over the last couple of seasons, the Wizards front office gambled, and they may not get a return on such an expensive investment.

Seriously? Seventy-eight people?

When we heard that owner Leonsis asked 78 people for advice while restructuring the Wizards, it stunned us. Yes, NBA front offices have a lot of people in them, but major decisions should come down to the leaders the head coach, GM, and ownership making them. There should be no reason why anyone making financial decisions for a basketball team should seek out 78 people for advice on what to do.

This type of inconsistency could be one of the reasons why the Wizards are constantly going between rebuilding and winning now. 

Do you think the Wizards will make the playoffs next season?

Where do you think the Washington Wizards go from here? We believe bringing in Antawn Jamison as the Director of Player Personnel is a very smart play, and he should help the front office bring consistency back to the franchise.