Jason Reid: Re-signing Ariza and Gortat Could Lead Wizards to 50 Wins
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With the Wizards now out of the 2014 NBA Playoffs, it’s time to look at which players with expiring contracts the team will look to bring back next season.
That conversation, understandably, begins with Marcin Gortat, 30, and Trevor Ariza, 28.
Which of those two players do the Wizards bring back?
“I actually think they can bring both of them back,” Reid said on Thursday. “I think that when you look at their situation from a cap standpoint, Kevin Séraphin clearly is not someone who appears to be in the plans moving forward.
“Trevor Booker, he was a sparkplug for them at times, but you’re probably not going to pay him $3 million a year next year, so when you look at this team right now, what you have is, there are contracts that can come off the books that would enable you to make a legitimate run at both of these guys.
“Are you guaranteed of re-signing both of them? No, but I think that they can make a run at both of them without going into the luxury tax threshold, which is a place that they don’t want to be. Now, to do that, you’re gonna have several minimum contract guys on your team, but clearly if you can keep Ariza and keep Gortat, it puts you in a position where – remember, this is a team that had 11 double-digit leads that it lost this year, in losses – now if they can close half of those game, you’re looking at a 50-victory team.
“So, yea, it’s not guaranteed that they’re going to get both of those guys back, but they can, at least from a cap standpoint, present legitimate contracts to both of those guys to try to keep them.”
How would bringing back Ariza affect the development of fellow small forward Otto Porter, who will be entering his sophomore season with the Wizards next season?
“If they bring back Ariza, they have to get Otto Porter on the floor,” Reid said. “They have to get him some minutes next year. So I think what you wind up doing, if you can get Ariza back, you tell Martell Webster, ‘Look, we rewarded you, we gave you a contract, we paid you, so now we need you to sacrifice a little. Otto, next year, is going to back up Trevor, and you’re going to back up Brad.’
“And what that’s gonna do is, it’s gonna cut considerably – obviously we’re just talking hypotheticals here – that would considerably cut into Martell’s minutes. But they paid Martell. They rewarded him, and it should be about winning.
“I think you can talk about money you have invested in a position, and are these guys worth it, but you have to look at what these people mean to your team, and to this team, Trevor Ariza is not just a lockdown defender, he’s not just a guy that hits three-pointers, he’s also a guy who’s played a huge role in that locker room, particularly with John and his development, and I just think that for this franchise moving forward, he is a guy that you have to keep.”
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