The Wizards apparently have found their point guard.
As first reported by NBA insider Shams Charania and confirmed by NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards will acquire Monte Morris and Will Barton from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Ish Smith and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The move reunites Morris and Barton with Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr., who was an assistant in Denver before joining the Wiz, and gives the team the starting PG they were looking for.
Morris, 27, stepped in as Denver’s starting point guard last year, and he averaged 12.6 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.0 rebounds over 29.9 minutes per game in 75 contests. He shot 48.4 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from behind the arc, so he will be an immediate boost to the Wizards’ three-point shooting.
Barton, 31, is noted as a tough defender and great three-point shooter as well. He averaged 14.7 points, 4.8 boards, and 3.9 assists in 71 games last year, shooting 36.5 percent from beyond the arc, and he has averaged 16/2 points and shot 35.2 percent from three over his 10 seasons in the NBA.
Morris is due roughly $18.75 million over the next two years – $9.125mm this year and just over $9.8mm in 2023-24 – and Barton is an expiring contract making $14.325 million, so the Wizards will add just under $5 million in salary. Barton basically steps into KCP’s spot (Caldwell-Pope will make just over $14 million in his final year), while Morris is a $4.4mm addition (Smith will make $4.725 million) but is under contract for next year.
Smith, who was re-acquired at the trade deadline after signing with Charlotte last summer, averaged 14.2 points and 7.0 assists in 22 games in his second stint in DC.
KCP, who was acquired from the Lakers last summer in the Kyle Kuzma deal, averaged 13.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 77 games last season.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN