The Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons will be shorthanded when they square off at Capital One Arena this afternoon.
Part of the reason both teams won’t have a full complement of players is due to a trade that the Pistons (3-36) and Wizards (7-31) consummated on Sunday morning.
Based on Pistons' pick inventory, looks like the 2026 pick to Washington would be one of Min/NY/NO/POR (essentially third best but it's more convoluted than that), and the 2025 pick could end up being a return of Washington's own (but again, more convoluted than just that).
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) January 14, 2024
Since the trade is not official, Muscala and Gallinari are out for the Wizards. Johnny Davis is also questionable on the injury report due to a non-Covid illness.
Washington Wizards Rumors: What Is Next For The Wiz After Trade With Pistons?
Galinari is on the downside of his career. While the 35-year-old began the season in the Wizards rotation, he had not appeared in a game for Wiz since Dec. 27.
Muscala served as Daniel Gafford‘s primary backup at center and was solid. He averaged 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 14 minutes over 24 appearances.
Livers missed the first month of the season due to injury. But the 25-year-old combo forward immediately jumped into the Pistons rotation, starting six games. He averaged 5.0 points and 2.1 rebounds with a shooting slash line of .345/.286/.667 in 20 minutes a game over 23 appearances.
Bagley was in and out of the rotation throughout his two-plus seasons with the Pistons. However, the 6-10 big man has always been productive when he received the opportunity. Bagley averages 12.9 points and 6.9 boards for his career, with a shooting slash line of .512/.289/.690.
What The Trade Means For The Wizards
This is a no-lose trade for Washington. With the deal, the Wizards got much younger and received two future picks to add a $12.2 million salary (Bagley) to next season’s tab. Livers is slated to be a restricted free agent this summer if the Wizards offer him a $2.2 qualifying offer.
Washington appears to be looking long-term, which is why the Wizards acquired the two future draft choices.
This is the first season of Washington’s rebuild, and the franchise needs to stockpile as many bites at the draft apple as possible,” said The Athletic’s Josh Robbins. “Young talent would be nice too; perhaps Washington can poach a relatively recent first-round pick who isn’t receiving much playing time on a team with immediate playoff aspirations.”
Robbins added that Wizards officials view Bagley and Livers as more important than the incoming second-round draft picks. So, both players should get plenty of time to develop.
Bagley will immediately take over as Gafford’s main backup. The 24-year-old can score in bunches, mainly in the paint, and is an outstanding defensive rebounder. However, Bagley is not very efficient offensively and struggles defensively.
Livers may have a little harder time finding minutes. Rookie Bilal Coulibaly is Kyle Kuzma‘s primary backup, and Corey Kispert is behind starter Deni Avdija. But he could get some minutes, particularly when there is an injury or if the Wizards decide to unload Kuzma.
Detroit’s brass was high on Livers as a 3-and-D prospect heading into this season.
While Livers struggled on both ends of the floor this year, he is highly athletic and averages 1.3 treys at a 35.8% clip for his career. So, if he can find his shooting stroke, Livers has the potential to become a reliable rotational piece for years to come.
Washington also created a $3.5 million trade exception in the deal with the Pistons, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
In Wizards-Pistons deal today, Detroit created a $5.7 million trade exception and Washington created a $3.5M trade exception, per sources. https://t.co/xJXqA8LJcV
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 15, 2024
Trade Grade: B+
What Is Next?
Kuzma is garnering all the attention as teams monitor if Washington makes him available. There is no word that the Wizards intend to trade the 28-year-old combo forward. However, it would be a huge surprise if they dealt him.
The Wizards re-signed Kuzma, who is having a career year on the offensive end this season, to a team-friendly four-year, $90 million contract this summer.