Depending on what the Washington Wizards do with Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, they could have around $12 million of salary-cap space to spend this summer. It remains to be seen if the Wizards actually use it or bank it towards the 2013 class, but in any event, there are a number of free agents that could help the team's push into playoff contention. We'll take a look at several of those options in this running series. Next up: Carlos Delfino.
PREVIOUSLY: Eric Gordon, Nicolas Batum, O.J. Mayo, Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee, Gerald Wallace, Ersan Ilyasova.Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Type: Unrestricted free agent.
This past year: Had a typical Carlos Delfino year in the first half, hitting open threes, running pick and roll to keep the offense moving and playing solid defense. Really struggled after the Bucks acquired Monta Ellis, which shifted him to small forward and took away a lot of his playmaking. Suffered a groin injury near the end of the year, but he should be OK for the start of next year.
Why he's fit in well: The best way to describe Delfino is "solid." His stats are unimpressive, but a lot of that is by design. He does a fantastic job of staying in his lane on offense, but he also is clever enough to execute that improved pick and roll to keep things moving. In this way, he's perfect playing off John Wall, since he won't get in his way, but will also alleviate some of his play-calling duties. Defensively, he positions himself really well and makes scorers work for their shots. The Wizards have a need for solid guys to go alongside their young players, and Delfino fits that bill.
Why he might not: His second-half slump is pretty concerning. Delfino shot 39 percent from three in the first half of the year and just 31 percent in the second half. He can sometimes disappear when he doesn't at least do a little bit of playmaking, and I suspect that happened when Monta Ellis came aboard and grabbed so many of Delfino's possessions. He's also suffered injuries in each of the last two years. At the age of 29, with lots of international ball on his legs, I wonder about his durability going forward. He's also not great in transition, scoring on only 52 percent of his opportunities, according to MySynergySports.com.
Likely price tag: His age and second-half slump probably bumps him down to below the mid-level exception. Had he stayed healthy, he may have coerced someone into giving him the full mid-level. Now, I think he'll get something similar to his last contract (three years, $10.5 million).
Verdict: I've been a big fan of Delfino's game for a while now, but his second-half slump concerns me, as does his age. He would play shooting guard here, so I don't think the playmaking issue we saw in Milwaukee will happen again, but I do get worried about his three-point shooting going way down. If he's not making threes, he's not nearly as valuable. That said, he's a very nice, cheaper fall-back option if someone like Courtney Lee becomes too expensive or stays with his team.