Washington Wizards' shooting guard Jordan McRae has been traded to the Denver Nuggets for point guard Shabazz Napier. This news marks the Wizards' first trade before the NBA's trade deadline. It had earlier been reported that McRae could be on the trading block and ultimately, GM Tommy Sheppard was finally able to find a trade partner in the final few hours.
McRae has been bouncing between teams throughout the league, especially among the G-League. He has spent time with Melbourne United, Delaware 87ers, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Canton Charge. He also spent a year in Spain before signing a two-way contract with the Wizards. Having split time between the Capital City Go-Go and the Wizards, he ultimately made the cut for the Wizards' 15-man roster this season.
In 29 appearances this term, McRae is averaging 12.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Being traded to Denver presents him an opportunity to play with a playoff contender, something he wouldn't experience in Washington. After earning a fully-guaranteed contract this past offseason, it proved the Wizards valued his presence on the team.
Both players are well travelled...
Napier too has moved across the league: featuring for the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves and finally the Nuggets. He is averaging 9.6 points, 5.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season and although his offensive numbers aren't as impressive as McRae, he plays much better defence - something the Wizards desperately need going forward.
It's important to note Napier will be a free agent after this season, so the trade benefits both teams. The Nuggets receive an offensive boost off-the-bench, while the Wizards look to bolster their defence. Napier is unlikely to be a starter, though should come off the bench for guard Ish Smith, who is presumably taking over the starting point guard position.Published 07 Feb 2020, 04:19 IST