In a salary cap-based move, the Washington Wizards have reportedly traded Markieff Morris to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Markieff Morris is a pretty good player, but not good enough for the Washington Wizards to keep him and incur the pain of paying the luxury tax as a lottery team. That’s why Washington traded Morris to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Wes Johnson, according to Shams Charania.
This isn’t the first cost-saving deal the Wizards have made recently, as earlier on Wednesday Washington dealt Otto Porter for a pair of expiring contracts — Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis. Porter and Morris were both key starters for the Wizards, and had been since Morris was acquired during the 2015-16 season.
The Pelicans’ reasoning for making this deal is not entirely clear. Morris is certainly a better player than Johnson, but New Orleans is already stacked at power forward with Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic, although both players are reportedly on the trade block themselves.
Nothing stops the Pelicans from moving Morris elsewhere, either. And who knows, maybe New Orleans just wanted to take a hostage in its ongoing war against Klutch Sports.
All in all, this is not exactly a thrilling deal, depending on what will happen with Morris in New Orleans. The Wizards side of it is especially dull. Fans aren’t likely to get pumped over “Dodged The Luxury Tax” banners. At least Washington can still get excited about Brad Beal, who the Wizards are reportedly not interested in trading. This is a tax dodge, not a full-on rebuild.
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