As trade deadline nears, Wizards feeling the heat

After a promising start to the season, the Washington Wizards are in a free fall. Long gone are the feel-good days of the season, which saw Wes Unseld Jr.’s squad win 10 of the first 13 games on the schedule.

Since then, the Wizards have struggled to do much of anything right, thanks to in-fighting, an absence of defense and an overall lack of talent. Compounding matters is the fact that Washington’s best player, shooting guard Bradley Beal, is currently dealing with a wrist injury and his supporting cast isn’t exactly built to overcome anything resembling adversity.

In related news, the Wizards hosted the Miami Heat in their final game before the NBA trade deadline … and promptly got blown out.

Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and friends started fast and put this one to bed early, scoring 39 points in the first quarter while cruising to a stress-free 121-100 victory. The loss was Washington’s eighth in nine games and dropped the team’s record to 6-12 during 2022.

Rookie Corey Kispert scored 20 points in 25 minutes of action, while nearly everyone else who took to the court for the home team had a night to forget. That fact was driven home during the fourth quarter, as Miami coach Erik Spoelstra rested his starters while Heat fans loudly and proudly took over Capital One Arena.

Now Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard is faced with the unenviable task of trying to figure out where to go from here. Does he trade Beal or sign him to a massive-contract extension? Does he try to swing big and add an established veteran or two, or blow it all up and embrace a rebuild?

It’s safe to say Sheppard has plenty to think about over the next few days.

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