The Pelicans have traded veteran small forward Wesley Johnson to the Washington Wizards for power forward Markieff Morris and a 2023 second-round pick, according to a report from The Athletic.
Johnson, who came to the New Orleans this offseason from the Clippers in a trade for Alexis Ajinca on Oct. 15, has seen game time just twice in 2019 – totaling seven minutes in two games over the past 10 days with the Pelicans struggling through a slew of injuries. After a strong performance over the month of November, where he played nearly 20 minutes a game while averaging 4.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game off the bench, his production and usage has declined significantly.
Morris hasn’t played since persistent neck and upper back stiffness sidelined him in late December. The Wizards announced on Jan. 3 that the former 2011 first-round pick would be limited to non-contact basketball activities for six weeks. He’s averaged 11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in 34 contests this season.
Earlier Wednesday, Washington dealt forward Otto Porter to the Chicago Bulls for forwards Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis. That move, along with the trade for Johnson, who has averaged 3.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 26 games this year, is believed to help the Wizards sneak under the luxury tax threshold. The Syracuse alum is making $6.1 million this season, compared to Morris’ $8.6 million salary. The Pelicans' new forward signed on with agent Rich Paul this offseason, who represents New Orleans star forward Anthony Davis as well as LeBron James.
New Orleans beat the Bulls 125-120 on the road Wednesday night and return to the court Friday at home against the Timberwolves at 8:30 p.m. The trade deadline comes on Thursday at 2 p.m. CT.