The Washington Wizards traded their 46th pick to the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, in a deal in which Washington received cash for point guard Jordan Clarkson. The move will help the Wizards gain leverage as they try to keep free agents such as Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat, and according to Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld, will allow Washington to acquire "someone more established" than a late second-round pick.
With only 7 players on their roster out of a maximum 15, the Wizards will have a lot of establishing to do this summer. John Wall will be back on his maximum contract, as will backcourt teammate Bradley Beal. Nene, Martell Webster, Andre Miller, Otto Porter, and Glen Rice will fill out the rest of the existing roster, but Webster will be out the next 3-5 months due to a herniated disc in his back. The question will be whether Washington is ready to rely on Otto Porter to fill Webster's role, or if the Wizards will scramble for a more experienced wing.
Bullets Forever author Mike Prada made a convincing argument Wednesday: "Trevor Ariza was great, but the Wizards can replace him." The argument, which will get no rebuttal here, suggests the intangibles you get with Gortat will be harder to replace than that of a defensive sharpshooter. Gortat, after all, brought jumpers and pick n' roll basketball to the Phone Booth, something fans haven't really seen since Wall put on a jersey; letting go of Gortat would be nothing short of madness. Keeping both Ariza and Gortat would be ideal, but only if the cost is reasonable.
Ariza is 28-years-old (29 on June 30th) and coming off the best season of his life. He won't be heading to the Orlando Magic, as he put his Orlando, Florida, home on the market, but there are rumors that the Toronto Raptors are gunning for the wing. Gortat is 30-years-old, happy with playing with Nene--which is key--and worth a big contract for the Wizards. He doesn't "love" D.C., due to all the potholes created after the nasty, record-setting winter we had in 2013-14, but he does come across as rather loyal to the fans. The Dallas Mavericks wanted Gortat, but now they have Tyson Chandler, which suggests the hunt is over.
01. Marcin Gortat -- Free Agent
02. Kevin Seraphin -- Free Agent
Gortat is a must re-sign for Washington. There are other free agent centers to look at, like Greg Monroe, Amar'e Stoudemire, Pau Gasol, or even former Wizards big Emeka Okafor, but it's unlikely the Wizards will pass on Gortat. No one is going to offer his size and skill set.
01. Nene -- 2 Years
02. Trevor Booker -- Free Agent
03. Drew Gooden -- Free Agent
04. Al Harrington -- Free Agent
Gooden played really, really well for the Wizards over a short stint, so good, in fact, that he is rated 15th overall in PIE among all free agents this year. PIE, or Player Impact Estimate, is a measure of an individual's contribution, or "slice of the pie," as compared to a team's total production. Gortat placed 17th, while Andray Blatche placed 19th; make of the stat what you will. Either way, Washington should aim to re-sign both Booker and Gooden.
01. Trevor Ariza -- Free Agent
02. Martell Webster -- 3 Years (Injured)
03. Otto Porter -- 3 Years
04. Chris Singleton -- Free Agent
Carmelo Anthony grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, but it's unlikely he will join the Wizards for that fact alone. The New York Knicks can offer him the most money, while the Chicago Bulls might offer him the best chance of a title. Assuming both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have no interest in D.C., the Wizards will want to consider re-signing Ariza. If not, there's a huge list to consider, including Luol Deng, pass-savvy bigs like Boris Diaw or Josh McRoberts, or even former Wizards Cartier Martin or Caron Butler.
01. Bradley Beal -- 2 Years
02. Garrett Temple -- Free Agent
03. Glen Rice -- 1 Year
With Beal and Rice set, Washington shouldn't give Temple anything more than a year if they re-sign him. He's a versatile guard, but they'll need to save some money down the road for when they re-sign/extend Beal.
01. John Wall -- 5 Years
02. Andre Miller -- 1 Year
Washington is set at point guard, at least for one more year. Miller is expensive, but he worked out great during the Playoffs and all but reduced the role of Temple to that of bench sitter. He wasn't the best financial decision for the long run, but he gave the Wizards some depth.