Report: Wizards dodging luxury tax by trading Markieff Morris to Pelicans

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Whether they trade him or shut him down, the Pelicans might be without Anthony Davis for the rest of the season.

New Orleans just got a serviceable big man in case.

David Aldridge of The Athletic:

Last year was the first time the Wizards ever paid the luxury tax. Teams pay the repeater rate only when in the tax for the fourth time in the last five years. Washington was in no real danger of paying the repeater rate.

This move simply gets the Wizards out of the tax this season. They’ll not only avoid the cost of the tax, they’ll also receive the share of tax payments distributed to non-taxpaying teams. This was clearly the goal after Washington traded Otto Porter to reduce payroll earlier today.

Markieff Morris is better than Wesley Johnson. I’m not sure how much that matters to New Orleans, which appears content to tank until Davis can be traded to the Celtics this offseason.

The Pelicans are now on the hook for the $877,544 difference in remaining salary between Morris and Johnson (assuming the trade is officially completed Thursday). The prize is the second-round pick. Maybe Morris can be flipped to a team that can use him.

The Wizards are left to hope Bradley Beal can drag a further-depleted roster into the playoffs. Obviously, it’s not the primary focus in Washington right now, but in a dreary Eastern Conference, the postseason remains in reach.