The Washington Wizards' salary-cap situation is murky, which means they probably won't make any big splashes in free agency. That said, there are some needs on this team that can be filled, so Ernie Grunfeld must look for bargains that can fit into the few exceptions the Wizards have to use. We'll explore all free agents that could take the mid-level exception or less in this ongoing series. Next up: Eric Maynor.
PREVIOUSLY: See whole section.
Team: Portland Trail Blazers.
Type: Unrestricted free agent.
This past year: Maynor was supposed to regain his form after a torn ACL ended his 2011-12 season early, but it never actually happened in Oklahoma City. Whispers that he would lose his starting job to little-used Reggie Jackson seemed crazy at the time, but after an underwhelming November, it happened. Jackson took his job and never looked back, seizing the role and even carving out additional playing time as the season went on.
Maynor, meanwhile, became a forgotten man. After playing 17 games in November, he played just 20 over the next two and a half months, usually in garbage time. After playing double-digit minutes against the Spurs on December 17, Maynor never played double-digit minutes during the rest of his Thunder tenure. It was a stunning fall for someone seen as the model backup point guard two years ago.
He was rescued, though, when the Thunder salary-dumped him to the Blazers at the trade deadline. Portland had no bench and thus needed Maynor to play decent minutes. Maynor started to respond, too, upping his three-point percentage to 38 percent and dishing out four assists per game in just over 21 minutes. He still isn't capable of getting by defenders consistently, but he at least came close to rediscovering the promise he showed as a rookie.
Why he's fit in well: Maynor has historically been a good caretaker for the position, particularly behind a high-usage point guard. He isn't much of a scorer, but he can run pick and roll, has a decent handle and is likely to play better next season now that he's a year removed from ACL surgery.
Why he might not: Even before the surgery, Maynor was overrated in many ways. He's not much of a scorer, and while his passing is good, he can't really create an opportunity when the shot clock breaks down. He's also not much of a spot-up shooter, so while he did play often with Damian Lillard, I don't think it's a reasonable thing to expect him to be able to do in D.C.
Likely price tag: The Blazers cut him loose because his qualifying offer of $3.4 million, not to mention his $5.85 million cap hold, would have hurt their ability to sign other free agents. The Wizards would probably like to get Maynor in for the bi-annual exception or even the minimum.
Verdict: I guess he's better than A.J. Price, but that's not saying all that much. He lacks the positional flexibility to play with Wall, and I'm not sure he'll fare much better than Price if Wall gets injured. On the bright side, he should be better a year removed from ACL surgery and he did play decently in Portland when given a chance. For the right price, he's OK, though I'd prefer other options.