Last night, the Washington Wizards surprised the country, and killed the hearts of New Jersey Nets fans by receiving the number one pick in the NBA Draft Lottery. Many people assume the Wizards will draft John Wall number one on June 24th but there are two reasons this may not be the case: Washington desperately needs to rebuild its team and one player simply isn't enough and the New Jersey Nets are willing to overpay to lure LeBron James.
Last season, the Washington Wizards dealt with much adversity. The majority owner of the team, Abe Polin, died during the season and two of the team's players, Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, were suspended for the season for violating the league's gun policy. The Wizards front office also traded two of their cornerstone players: Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler in an effort to rebuild the team.
Forgetting about John Wall, if the season ended today, the Wizards starting five would be Josh Howard, Mike Miller, Andre Blatche, Gilbert Arenas, and JaVale McGee. There are rumors the Wizards would like to dump Arenas's contract and without him, the team would be devoid of all-star caliber players.
In other words, there are too many gaping holes on the Wizards for Wall to simply fill. Having the first pick will give The Wizards enough bargaining power to receive an all-star player and a top pick.
When Adam Silver, the league's second in command, announced the Nets received the third pick in the draft, Mikhail Prokhorov was in a state of disbelief. At first, it seemed that his plan of luring LeBron with John Wall came to a screeching halt but everyone watching knew Prokhorov was thinking of his next plan of attack. This Russian billionaire was not going to late fate decide his success and knows how crucial John Wall can be for his free agency plans. That is why, the Nets will offer the Wizards a trade they have to accept.
One possible scenario for a trade between the two teams would be for the Wizards would trade the first pick (aka John Wall) to the New Jersey Nets for the third pick (probably Derrick Favors from Georgia Tech), Devin Harris, and the 31st pick of the draft. There is no doubt the Nets overpay in this deal but when it is looked at in a larger context, it makes complete logical sense.
If the Wizards took this deal, the team would have Arenas, Howard, Harris, Favors, McGee, and the 30th and 31st picks in the draft. This deal would give the team a great opportunity to succeed on the court and more bargaining power for potential sign and trade deals. The Nets would also benefit because Harris and Wall play the same position, Point Guard and the team would retain its 27th pick (nbadraft.net predicts it will be Devin Ebanks from West Virginia).
The new starting five for the Nets would be Brook Lopez, Courtney Lee, John Wall, Chris Douglas Roberts, and maybe King James. At the end of the day, this trade is all about one player: LeBron James.
The Nets saw their chances of luring LeBron James diminish last night, but if the team is proactive enough, they can still trade for Wall and produce a talented young team for James to flourish. It will still be difficult for Prokhorov to convince Lebron to come to New Jersey but the state of the team won't be a drawback for King James anymore.