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: Ryan Anderson.
PREVIOUSLY: Eric Gordon, Nicolas Batum, O.J. Mayo.Team: Orlando Magic
Type: Restricted free agent.
This past year: Won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award even though he was essentially the same player he was the year before. To his credit, he did sustain his production over more minutes, but that happens with a lot of players. He led the NBA in three-point shots made and attempted, and he's a better defender that people realize. However, with Dwight Howard out of the lineup, he has really struggled in the playoffs.
Why he's fit in well: John Wall needs shooters, and there's no better shooter on the free-agent market. Anderson also rebounds well enough and has flashed a decent post game that can be used if the Wizards choose to exploit mismatches with him more than the Magic did.
Why he might not: He's not really valuable unless he's used as a stretch power forward, and the Wizards already have several bodies up front. Playing him at small forward removes the appeal of his game.
Likely price tag: I think he's worth at least $10 million a year to somebody, whether it's the Magic or a team like the Sacramento Kings who have a need for shooting. I could see him getting the same kind of deal Antawn Jamison got in 2008 (four years, $52 million).
Verdict: There's a lot to like about Anderson, but given the solid play of Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely late in the season, the need for a power forward has gone down. I suppose I could be talked into Anderson if the Wizards moved some of those young guys for a really good wing player, but that's a lot of moves to coordinate. The easier thing would be to just look elsewhere.