Bontemps: Wizards need an 'infusion of young talent'

Josh Luckenbaugh
February 26, 2019 - 12:20 pm

The 2018-19 season is all but over for the Washington Wizards: with 22 games left, the team has lost seven of its last 10, sits four games out of a playoff spot and the franchise cornerstone, John Wall, is out for the foreseeable future after rupturing his Achilles.

"(Wall's) got $170 million owed to him the next four years, which is a crazy number," Tim Bontemps told The Sports Junkies Tuesday. "It puts them in a situation where they have to try to work around that and also try to be competitive, which is a pretty difficult situation for them to be in."

The Wizards traded Otto Porter and Markieff Morris to get under the luxury tax threshold but also to try and stay competitive for a playoff spot, replacing them with Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and Wesley Johnson. However, since the Feb. 6 deals, Washington has lost four of six. 

 Jason Bishop of the Junkies expects a "complete overhaul" in the offseason, as does Bontemps. 

"If you're looking up and down their roster, you might have seven or eight new faces," said Bishop.

"You very well could," Bontemps responded. "I assume they'll re-sign (Tomas) Satoransky, I assume they'll re-sign (Thomas) Bryant. I think there's some interest in bringing guys back like (Trevor) Ariza, Jeff Green if they can."

"You would expect Troy Brown, by next year, to be playing more minutes. You'd like to think that if they get a pick, who knows, maybe they can jump up and get a Zion (Williamson) or a Ja Morant or somebody that they'll play."

"This team isn't good, and you'd expect there to be an infusion of young talent, hopefully, across the roster. Because certainly the mix this year hasn't been good enough."

The Wizards currently have less than a nine percent chance to land a top-four draft pick, per Tankathon.com, but those odds could certainly improve if Washington continues to struggle.

And as for organizational changes beyond the roster, such as team president Ernie Grunfeld, Bontemps wouldn't put his money on it. 

"Ernie's been there for what, 18 years? So I think at this point you would have to just bet on the status quo remaining in place until Ted (Leonsis) proves otherwise," he told the Junkies. 

"You could probably make the same argument for or against Ernie for the past few years, right? If you're Ted and you wanna stay the course with what you're doing, and you're a believer in the path you're taking, you keep him. And if you wanna make a change, you don't."

"And to this point, Ted's shown no sign that he's gonna make a change," Bontemps continued. "Until he does, I'm just gonna stick with the bet that would have won me a lot over the last 15 years or so, and say that (Grunfeld's) gonna stick around."

Leonsis himself was tight-lipped on Grunfeld's future in a recent interview with WUSA9, saying he's waiting to "see how the season turns out."

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