Wizards To Shop Lewis, Blatche Before Draft

Of the nine players the Wizards have money committed to for 2012/13, six are on rookie contracts. Nene, Rashard Lewis, and Andray Blatche are the only veterans on the roster, and Washington is expected to part ways with two of them this summer. According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, the Wizards will try to move Lewis and Blatche via trade prior to the draft, rather than paying them not to play for the team.

Lewis is under contract for about $22.7MM next season, though only $13.7MM of that is guaranteed. Blatche has three years left on his deal, totaling $23MM+. The Wizards still have their amnesty clause available and figure to use it on one of the two players in July, assuming trading partners can't be found. When I previewed the Wizards' offseason, I suggested it makes more sense to amnesty Blatche, since the team can save $9MM by simply releasing Lewis before his contract becomes guaranteed — amnestying Lewis would leave the team no such option on Blatche for the next few years.

Even if the Wizards call each of the 29 other front offices in the NBA, I can't imagine they'll find an acceptable trade offer for Lewis or Blatche. Lewis' salary will make him particularly challenging to include in a deal, since the Wizards would need to either accept a huge contract in return or find a trade partner with a ton of cap space. Blatche, meanwhile, was shopped at the trade deadline, but teams were reluctant to even listen to Washington's pitches, as Lee wrote at the time.

If the Wizards were to buy out Lewis and amnesty Blatche, it would reduce their 2012/13 cap figure by $16MM+, giving the club some flexibility to explore the free agent market.


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