The Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets have reached an agreement on Wednesday to deal with guards Monte Morris and Will Barton for guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith, sources with knowledge of the matter have confirmed. Morris, who started 74 games for Denver last season in lieu of an injured Jamal Murray as part of the transaction, provides Washington with a dependable experienced point guard.
The Duo will reunite with their ex-Coach, Unseld Jr., who spent six seasons with Denver as an Assistant Coach. Unseld Jr then accepted the post of Head Coach at the Washington Wizards. Morris and Barton were the starting backcourt for Denver and surely will be missed.
After trading for Spencer Dinwiddie at the trade deadline in February, the Wizards were openly looking to acquire a seasoned point guard. Soon after signing Dinwiddie to a three-year, $54 million contract, Washington’s executive staff severed ties with him because of how awkwardly he fit in with the Wizards alongside star Bradley Beal.
Unseld: A Fan of Morris
Unseld listed a number of qualities that, in hindsight, describe Morris when asked what the team was looking for in their next point guard.
“I don’t think you need an old-school point guard, but you do need a guy that understands the flow of the game, who can play beyond just getting your offense orchestrated,” Unseld said. “Get guys set, get them in the right spots. Kind of feels it. Who’s got a game going, who needs a shot, who has a match-up advantage? All those details, I don’t know, those aren’t things you can necessarily teach.”
In Denver, Morris exhibited that feeling. Over the past four seasons, the 27-year-old has consistently been in the top five in the assist-to-turnover ratio, seldom turning the ball over while assisting teammates. Last season, Morris averaged a career-high 4.4 assists to just 1 turnover per game. Additionally, he had a successful career year, averaging 12.6 points and 29.6 minutes per game.
Murray missed the entire season with a torn ACL, which increased the playing time for the former second-round pick from Iowa in 2017. The 6-foot-2 guard, though, adapted well to the circumstance and proved to the Nuggets that he could play more than simply a supporting role. Over the course of the season, he made numerous clutch shots, including a
Will Barton be a starter on the new-looking Wizards’ side?
Talking about Barton, the Wizards have added a cunning wing with the capacity to develop his own shot. Due to the Nuggets’ severe injury problems, Barton emerged as the team’s third-leading scorer last season, behind MVP center Nikola Jokic. The Baltimore native, 31, scored 14.7 points per contest on average.
It is uncertain whether Barton will start for Washington or come off the bench. In Denver, the former second-round pick from 2012, who could also play small forward, was primarily a starter. After starting his career in Portland, Barton played for the Nuggets for more than seven seasons.
After having a history of ailments, Barton participated in 71 games in 2021–22 despite having hip surgery in 2018.