Many fans (me included) have been coming up with scenarios about what move the Wizards can make to take us to the next level. Most scenarios are about trading Okariza and the forward flotsam. That's what makes sense because that's the expendable pieces we have. But what can we get in return? That's the big debate. But there is an alternative route.
Rather than trade Okariza, we can hold them and move the flotsam to create more cap space to become a player in next summer's FA class. To do this, the Wizards would have to make 3 moves. The main moves would be to dump Vesely and Singleton. We could decline their options, but I'm hoping to trade them for draft picks (whatever we can get) and possibly an expiring vet to match salaries. Next, be prepared to renounce Okariza. The final step that could maximize cap space would be to use our 2014 1st on a draft and stash player. That's important because, assuming we make the playoffs by keeping Okariza, our rookie could make as much as $1.8 and that could be the determining factor in having space for a RFA max deal.
Here's what our summer 2014 could look like:
1. Wall: $14.5 million (based on Larry Coon's rumor of $62.1 million salary cap for 2014-15)
2. Nene: $13 million
3. Webster: $5.3 million
4. Beal: $4.5 million
5. Porter: $4.5 million
6. Maynor: $2.2 million
7. Rice: $800K
8. Satoransky: $800K
9. 2nd round rookie: $800K
Total: $46.4 million
That leaves 3 spots open. Hopefully we get something for Vesely and Singleton to add another 2nd rounder. If we add another 2nd rounder at $800K and an undrafted rookie at the minimum salary of just under $500K, our payroll would be $47.7 million for 11 players. If Larry Coon is right that the cap will be $62.1 million, the Wizards should have approximately $14.4 million in cap space with one roster spot open. With the give and take of all of these approximated salaries, we should have just enough money to offer a maximum deal to a second member (Wall being the first) of the 2010 draft class. The Wizards can also extend the QO for Booker and Seraphin as bait to facilitate a sign and trade, but be able to renounce those QOs if they need to sign a player outright.
There are 4 big men in the 2010 class that look like potential All-Star caliber players. Favors, Cousins, Monroe, and Larry Sanders. While there might be the great debate of whether they are worth a max deal, IMO getting any All-Star caliber player is worth the RFA level max. If the Wizards clear enough space to make this happen, they can let the cards fall as they may. Just make the offer to any one of those players who didn't get an extension and enters RFA.
This creates a conundrum for the other team about matching a max offer sheet. If any of those bigs hits RFA it's because the original team didn't want to pay the max in the first place. It's the discussion we've been having about Wall. We knew he'd get the max next summer and since we were prepared to pay it, we did it now. If anyone of those guys hits RFA next summer, their original team likely won't match a max deal. Especially if we sweeten the pot by sending Seraphin (a cheaper big from the same class) and maybe our 2015 1st.
This is how we can build that contender. Rather than trade everything for Aldridge, get the next LA just when he's starting to break out. And particularly if we can get a nice stash big man in the 2014 draft, we'd have a young core of Wall, Beal, Porter, and Favors/Cousins/Monroe/Sanders that could be a contender. We'd have flexibility again to make a major move in 2015 when Nene is expiring and Webster is in the last guaranteed year of his new deal. We could also replenish our depth for the 2015-16 season if we have our stash player come over, use the MLE, get the BAE back since Maynor will be gone, and maybe have our 2015 rookie if we don't end up moving it in a sign and trade.