Obviously, the Wizards are going to have to do something about their unbalanced roster. With 7 Guards, 2 Small Forwards and only 4 Bigs, they're going to have to pick up another Center or Power Forward. I'd like to see them pick up BOTH another Center and another PF; preferably both veterans.
There are 3 ways to obtain the players the Wizards need:
- They can either use Mike James' expiring contract, with other "asset(s)" if necessary; and trade for a player.
- They could dip into the Free Agent market using the Mid Level Exception
- A third option would be to pick up an un-drafted player (Josh Heytvelt, for instance).
Perhaps I'll look at the other options later, but I decided to look at the Unrestricted Free Agents and see if there's anyone that would fit.
What are we looking for? Well, I don't think that Offensive proficiency should be high on the list. The Wizards will have no trouble scoring points. They need someone that can come in for 15-20 minutes to spell Haywood, or Jamison. A bench guy. A role player. Someone that is an excellent rebounder. A veteran would be preferred. If the player is a good one-on-one defender as well as a Shot Blocker, that would be a plus. Ideally, since this player will be on the 2nd team, you'd like to see a smart player that can set screens, run the pick-and-roll / pick-and-pop game, and limit turn overs. In other words a better rebounding Darius Songaila.
After the jump, we'll go through the available options.
The Unrestricted Free Agent list is fairly long. More than 100 players. I needed to pare the list down to a manageable level. First, I removed all the Guards, and Small Forwards; after all, we're just looking for help in the front court.
Next, I removed guys that most likely will not be available in Free Agency. Guys like Eddy Curry, who has an Early Termination Option, but is scheduled to make over $10 Million next year if he stays in New York - and Al Harrington who has a Player's Option; if he stays in NY will make over $10 Million. Both players will be staying where they are; because they'll never get a better deal. Others in the same situation are Mark Blount, Brian Skinner, etc. On the other hand, Anderson Varejao has a Player Option for 2009-10, but he is expected to opt out; so he stays on the list.
I also removed guys like James Singleton (Dallas) who has a Team Option; assuming that their team will exercise that option. (I'd snap up Singleton in a heartbeat if Dallas lets him walk - but it won't happen).
I've also removed Shawn Marion, Carlos Boozer, Lamar Odom, Rasheed Wallace and Mehmet Okur. There will be lots of competition for their services - and all those guys will probably command more than the MLE; or will be re-signed by their clubs. Let's face it, the Wizards are just not going to be in the hunt for those guys.
Next, I removed the perpetually injured or out-of-shape. (Chris Mihm, Robert Swift and Jerome James). I also removed the players who have seen better days - the aging vets that just can't bring it any more. (Sorry Juwan Howard, Malik Rose, Calvin Booth, Donyell Marshall, Theo Ratliff and Jamaal Magloire).
Finally, I removed anyone who is considered a very poor defensive player or a poor rebounder - I mean, afterall, what are we looking for here? (Mikki Moore, Maceo Baston, Sean May, Melvin Ely, Stromile Swift, Raef LaFrentz, Jarron Collins, etc... are gone)
Here are the guys that are left. We'll start with the players that I think are worth a good chunk (if not all) of the MLE. However, let's just remember that if the Wizards tender a MLE offer (roughly $6 Million) to ANY player, at the end of a 5-year contract, that player will be making close to $8 Million. That's a lot to pay for a back-up. (See Etan Thomas in the dictionary of overpaid players).
Although I didn't find the "perfect" fit, there are a number of interesting and productive options:
PF 6'9" 245 lbs , 13-year veteran , Last Year: $600 K , Rebound Rate: 19.30 , R/40: 13.00 , TO Rate: 7.3 , PER 16.63
Best rebounder in this list with a 19.3 rebound rate. Smart player. Excellent team defender. His jumper is almost automatic from 15-feet. Low turn over rate. Even though he's 34, he should still be able to put up decent rebounding numbers because he's an excellent fundamental rebounder (excellent at boxing out, and using his position and strength). Very Steady mid-range shot. The Wizards could get McDyess for less than the MLE - depending on whether Detroit really wants to keep him or not. McDyess is very nearly a perfect fit.
C 6'11" 260 lbs. 5-year veteran , Last Year: $ 5.7 Million , Rebound Rate: 15.00 , R/40: 10.10 , TO Rate: 10.3 , PER: 14.62
Varejao has a Player Option for 2009-10, and he is expected to exercise that option and become an Unrestricted Free Agent. I personally feel that he's making a mistake. He will be leaving $6.2 Million on the table to pursue a bigger contract. I don't think he'll be able to get more than the Mid-Level Exception (roughly $6 Million).. If the Wizards are willing to take on a long-term contract (5-years), Varejao would be an excellent choice. (Plus, I'd love to see LeBron called for charging as Varejao, wearing a Wizards uniform, "flops"). He's an excellent defensive player. He's an intense player that plays with high energy (perfect for a 2nd unit). He's very good defending the pick-and-roll. Great at taking charges and an especially good rebounder on the defensive glass. Just don't pass him the ball on offense.
Chris (the Birdman) Andersen-
PF 6'10" 228 lbs. 7-year veteran , Last Year: $797 K , Rebound Rate: 17.60 , R/40: 12.10 , TO Rate: 14.6 , PER: 18.16
Extremely athletic. Exceptional shot blocker. Should garner lots of interest in Free Agency. Very good rebounder. A bit slender, so he gets pushed around by bigger PF's. Not much skill on the Offensive end; scoring mainly on put-backs, in transition and in the immediate basket area. Can he be signed? That's the real question. Andersen is adored by the fans in Denver; and the Organization would be crucified if they let Andersen walk. On the other hand, the numbers I've seen thrown around suggest that if the Wizards offered the full MLE, Denver might have a difficult time matching. Then the question becomes, would Chris Anderson actually leave Denver - after all, they gave him a chance to get back into the League last year.
PF 6'10" 250 lbs , 7-year veteran , Last Year: $ 1.4 Million , Rebound Rate: 17.70 , R/40: 12.20 , PER: 16.59
Gooden is probably the best Offensive player on this list - a poor man's Carlos Boozer. Can hit the mid range shot - and is crafty around the basket. He's a very good rebounder. Gooden uses his quickness and size to grab boards. He's a better than average defender. Gooden became a bit inconsistent after his trade from Cleveland, and may just need a little normalcy after playing for 4 teams in the last 2 years. Gooden will probably want the full MLE with a 5-year commitment. Perhaps a bit too much for what he brings.
C 6'11" 275 lbs , 6-year veteran , Last Year: $4.0 Million , Rebound Rate: 17.40 , R/40: 11.80 , TO Rate: 16 , PER 14.14
Not an especially good defender; as his idea of defense is to foul (5.6 fouls per 40 minutes) - But at 7-feet and 275 lbs, he can certainly be physical and bang inside. On Offense, he likes to play from the high post - and sets good screens. Does not block shots. Pretty good rebounder. Can hit a mid-range jumper if left open.
C 7'0" 255 lbs , 11-Year Veteran , Last Year: $ 8.4 Million , Rebound Rate: 10.90 , R/40: 7.90 , TO Rate: 10.1 , PER: 14.15
Good low post defender. Not very good defending the pick-and-roll. Will block some shots. Average rebounder. Low turn over guy. Can hit the 12-15 foot shot.
PF 6'9" 250 lbs , 3-Year Veteran , Last Year: $ 3.4 Million , Rebound Rate: 17.50 , R/40: 12.00 , PER: 13.78
Plays with high energy. Solid, strong physical defender. Excellent rebounder. Will block some shots. A real dud on Offense.
PF 6'10" 235 lbs , 7-Year Veteran , Last Year: $ 6.7 Million , Rebound Rate: 15.00 , R/40: 10.60 , PER: 13.37
Wilcox is a pretty good rebounder, but not a very good defender. Struggles holding his position, and does not put forth much effort on the Defensive end - preferring to spend his energy dunking on the Offensive side of the ball. Outstanding finisher around the basket. Athleticism allows him to block a fair number of shots.
Now for the guys that the Wizards might be able to sign for the Veteran Minimum. I see one of these guys (or someone like them) sitting at the end of the bench; not in the rotation. On the squad simply as insurance against injury.
PF 6'10" 225 lbs , 14-year Veteran , Last Year: $ 1.2 Million , Rebound Rate: 13.90 , R/40: 9.50 , TO Rate: 8.1 , PER: 13.85
Just an average rebounder. Not enough bulk to keep bigger players out of the lane. Excellent at taking a charge. Crafty veteran that does not make many mistakes. Very low turn over rate. Very good mid-range shooter.
PF 6'8" 250 lbs, 4-Year Veteran , Last Year: $826 K , Rebound Rate: 13.40 , R/40: 9.30 , TO Rate: 11.8 , PER: 16.49
OK defensive player. Average rebounder. Can shoot the mid-range jumper. Undersized.
C 6'10" 270 lbs , 12-year veteran , Last Year: $797 K , Rebound Rate: 15.50 , R/40: 10.70 , PER: 9.74
Foye is an excellent low post defender - holding position well and rebounding at a decent clip. Not a shot blocker. Offensively, he just cannot shoot. Probably one of the worst Offensive players in the league, BESIDES the next guy.
PF 6'8" 248 , 9-year veteran , Last Year: $797 K , Rebound Rate: 17.30 , R/40: 12.60 , TO Rate: 14.3 , PER: 12.02
Yes, yes I know. We already played this song. But Ruffin is a defense and rebounding specialist; exactly what the Wizards need sitting at the end of the bench. Offensively, he's a zero. Good team chemistry guy. Smart. Good rebound rate. Excellent fundamentals.
Alright everyone, tear it up.
Let me know where you think I've gone terribly wrong. Which players you like the best. Who should have made the list. Who should have been left off.