The Whiteboard, Washington Wizards

The Whiteboard: Somebody should probably trade for Kelly Oubre Jr.

A smart NBA team could probably buy very low on Kelly Oubre Jr. right now, if they chose to do so.

Buying low on an asset is usually a pretty good idea in the NBA. If said asset turns out to be a good player, it’s an obvious win for a franchise. If not, the gamble was at least cost-controlled. Kelly Oubre Jr. represents an asset that could be bought at a very low price right now. There’s an obvious reason and a less obvious reason for that.

The obvious reason is the Washington Wizards, amidst a horrible start to their season, are reportedly open to dealing anybody and everybody on the roster. Fire sales typically mean assets going for less than they typically would because everybody else knows the Wizards need to do something, and fast.

The less obvious reason is that Washington literally can’t afford to keep Oubre Jr. after this season. Thanks to absolutely mammoth deals given to John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr. and Ian Mahinmi, the Wizards already have $116.4 in guaranteed salary next season.

If Washington renounced the rights to Austin Rivers, Jason Smith, Jodie Meeks, Tomas Satoransky, Jeff Green, Thomas Bryant and Markieff Morris, and just chose not to replace any of them, the Wizards would still be something like $21 million over the salary cap next year.

While Washington does have Oubre Jr.’s bird rights and potentially could re-sign him, it would cost a boatload in luxury tax dollars.  Considering the Wizards’ core is currently 5-11, it seems unlikely that Ted Leonsis would be willing to shell out huge money for a team that might not even make the postseason in the Eastern Conference.

Oubre Jr. is having a tough start to his season from 3-point territory, and he hasn’t exactly popped in his first four NBA seasons. He’s a project, plainly put. That said, Washington’s asking price for him would have to be small, considering the Wizards’ inability to keep him beyond this season.

Tossing up a second round pick for a look at Oubre Jr. for half of a season, plus the inside track on retaining him beyond that, seems like a decent gamble for a franchise to make. Why shouldn’t the Brooklyn Nets, for example, see if they can offer the Wizards something to take a shot on Oubre Jr.? The short answer is that they should, unless Washington’s asking price is unrealistic considering the franchise’s current situation.

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