The Wolves have brought up Anthony Bennett‘s name in trade discussions, league sources tell Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link), and they’ve been in pursuit of Kevin Seraphin, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. It’s unclear if there’s any link between the Bennett talk and Minnesota’s attempts to trade for Seraphin. In any case, it’s unlikely that Seraphin will leave the Wizards, Michael adds, noting that he has a de facto no-trade clause and suggesting that it would make little sense from a basketball standpoint for Washington to part with the center.
Bennett arrived in Minnesota this past summer via the Kevin Love trade, a little more than a year after the Cavs made him a surprise No. 1 overall pick. The combo forward has notoriously failed to live up to that distinction, though this season has been somewhat of an improvement, as he’s shooting a higher percentage on more shot attempts in increased minutes, and his PER is up to 11.0 from a woeful 6.9 last season. Still, Bennett’s PER is indicative of below average efficiency, and the Wolves just acquired Adreian Payne to play at power forward, Bennett’s primary position. Bennett is on a rookie scale contract, but it’s a relatively expensive one that gives him nearly $5.564MM this year and almost $5.804MM next season.
The Wizards are willing to give up a first-round pick to make a trade of some sort before the deadline, a source tells Michael, who nonetheless cautions that a free agent addition is still more likely for the team than a trade is. As Michael writes, Washington continues to prioritize cap flexibility for the summer of 2016, when D.C. native Kevin Durant is a free agent, and that would complicate potential trades.
Seraphin is set for unrestricted free agency this summer after signing his qualifying offer, worth nearly $3.899MM, this past summer. The 25-year-old has the best back-to-the-basket game of any player on the Wizards’ second unit, Michael observes, and he’s seeing 15.8 minutes per game this season after only getting 10.9 MPG last year.