Wizards Positioned to Win Now, Possibly Make Run at Durant in 2016
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The Washington Wizards made a string of free agency transactions Tuesday, which, in the immediate helps maintain a balance of youth and veteran leadership, a potent combination which helped lead the organization to its first playoff appearance in six seasons in 2013-14.
Coming back are Andre Miller, Drew Gooden and Marcin Gortat (who signed a 5-year, $60-million deal), to go along with Washington’s young core of Bradley Beal, John Wall, and Otto Porter, who will be entering his second season in 2014-15.
The team has also signed future HOF’er Paul Pierce to fill the role of Trevor Ariza, who the team let walk to Houston (where he signed a 4-year, $32-million deal). Also departing is Trevor Booker, who’s headed to Utah (for 2 years, $10 million).
To replace Booker, the team worked out a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics to bring in Kris Humphries, on a 3-year, $13-million deal. The Wizards will hold a team option for his third year (2016-17).
Sheridan: Wiz Can God ‘All-In’ in 2016
So what does all this mean for the Wizards long term?
Well, consider that Nene’s contract comes off the Wizards books following the 2015-16 season. Also, consider that year, 2016, keeps coming up over and over again.
By then, the Wizards will know what they have in Beal – either a young superstar continuing on his rise, or a shooting guard with a limited ceiling – to whom, if they haven’t re-signed (which they very well could) by 2016, will then have to submit a qualifying offer to avoid Beal becoming a restricted free agent. Or, they can take their chances and see what Beal’s worth on the open market in 2016.
If they submit a qualifying offer on Beal, he’d become an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
While we’re talking two years from now (2016), the Wizards will also likely know what they have in Porter.
It’s easy to see, the Wizards have committed to winning now, while also allowing themselves the financial flexibility to possibly go after a top-dollar free agent two years from now (in 2016).
So, which prominent free agents will be available in the summer of 2016?
To answer that question, I’ll direct you to Stephen A. Smith’s comments Monday, speaking with Brain Mitchell on ESPN radio in Washington, D.C.
Transcript via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post.
“With LeBron going back to Cleveland, everybody here in D.C. is thinking about Kevin Durant in 2016,” Mitchell said. “The Wiz seem to be jockeying to be in that sweepstakes. Who are they going to have to compete against when that happens?”
“I don’t think anybody, to be quite honest with you,” Smith said. “Obviously the New York Knicks would be in the mix and what have you. But there are folks that I’ve spoken to that are relatively close to Kevin Durant that tell me if he were to decide to leave Oklahoma City, it would be for the nation’s capital. That’s the kind of dude he is. That’s a place that he would consider.
“I certainly don’t want to sit here as a reporter and insider and try to give indications that he’s planning on leaving Oklahoma City,” Smith said. “I don’t know that to be sure. I don’t know that to be the case. But I was told that if there is a team that would be strongly considered, it is the Washington Wizards, and him returning home.”
Not for nothing, the Wizards also recently hired former Maryland women’s basketball assistant David Adkins as a player development assistant.
Adkins spent five seasons developing the Lady Terps under head coach Brenda Frese, but also …
Via Bullets Forever:
Adkins is also well known for being a former assistant coach at D.C. area high school boys basketball powers Montrose Christian from 1999-2006, and DeMatha from 2006-2009. While coaching there, he had a chance to develop players like Kevin Durant, Greivis Vasquez, and Victor Oladipo before they were in the NBA.
You can do your own math. Rest assured, the Wizards have certainly done theirs.