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NBA free agency 2013: Did the Wizards use their resources well?

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Now that the Wizards' roster stands at 15 players, did they use their available exceptions well in free agency?

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Barring a trade to clear roster space or make a significant upgrade, the Wizards' "drama free" offseason is over. The plan was set in motion the second the Wizards traded for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, punting on any sort of free-agent splash for at least another year. The emergence of Martell Webster further limited the Wizards' options, since they would have to use their biggest free-agent resource (the mid-level exception) to re-sign him.

Nevertheless, we can now look back at how the summer has played out around the league and evaluate whether the Wizards used the tools at their disposal well. Let's jump in.

THE DRAFT

  • Used No. 3 pick on Otto Porter
  • Traded the No. 38 and No. 54 picks to Philadelphia for the No. 35 pick. Selected Glen Rice Jr.
You all know my stance on Porter. I think he was the second-best prospect for the Wizards in this draft, in a tier with Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke, neither of whom the Wizards needed. So selecting him at No. 3 was good.

However, the player in my tier above him, Nerlens Noel, slipped to No. 6 instead of going first overall as we all expected. I wrote about my apprehension for this turn of events the day after the draft, and my worries have only grown since then. The Wizards' free-agent strategy suggests that Porter won't be counted on right away. If that's the case, why not take Noel, who is a long-term pick anyway because of his knee injury, and groom him to one day replace Emeka Okafor and balance the Wizards' young core?

Time will tell on this issue, though.

The trade up for Rice made perfect sense given the Wizards' roster crunch. Rice seems like a nice developmental project, and the Wizards finally have the roster stability to let that happen. Given that, though, I'd have preferred to see Rice sign one of those long-term second-round pick contracts, like the four-year deals Chandler Parsons, Lance Stephenson and, more recently, Carrick Felix of the Cavaliers signed, rather than a two-year, minimum-salary deal with the second year guaranteed. Maybe Rice's agent wouldn't go for that, though.


MID-LEVEL EXECPTION: MARTELL WEBSTER

The Wizards ended up spending the entire mid-level exception to retain Webster, signing him to a four-year, $22 million contract with the fourth year partially guaranteed if Webster doesn't play in at least 180 games (60/year) in his first three years.

At the time, I was worried about this deal. I love Webster's contributions, but was worried about giving him a four-year deal given his past health issues. But as the summer has played out, it's become harder to find reasonable alternatives. Here are the role-playing wings that signed deals this summer:

  • Kyle Korver: Four years, $24 million.
  • Tony Allen (not a shooter): Four years, $20 million.
  • Gerald Henderson (R, not a shooter): Three years, $18 million.
  • Chase Budinger: Three years, $16 million, third year player option.
  • Corey Brewer (not a shooter): Three years, $15 million.
  • Matt Barnes: Three years, $10 million, third year partially-guaranteed.
  • Carlos Delfino: Three years, $10 million, third year partially-guaranteed.
  • Earl Clark: Two years, $9 million, second year non-guaranteed.
  • Dorell Wright: Two years, $6.5 million.
  • Andrei Kirilenko: Two years, $6.5 million, second year a player option.
  • Mike Dunleavy: Two years, $6.5 million.
  • Francisco Garcia: Two years, veteran's minimum, second year a player option.
  • Omri Casspi: Two years, veteran's minimum, second year non-guaranteed.
Realistically, there weren't too many counter-options to filling Webster's role effectively that signed for much less. Dunleavy is a bargain, for example, but he reportedly had full mid-level exception offers elsewhere. Barnes wasn't leaving the Clippers unless he got a major raise. Kirilenko's case was obviously unique, and Garcia signed for cheap with a contender and so he could gain Bird Rights. The best counter-options were Dorell Wright, who is on his third team in three years, and Carlos Delfino, who is old. If the Wizards decided they needed Webster, it was going to cost them.

BI-ANNUAL EXCEPTION: ERIC MAYNOR

Here's where I think there's more room for second-guessing. The Wizards signed Maynor on the first day of free agency, despite him not being that much better than A.J. Price. Meanwhile, here are some backup guards that went for the bi-annual or less elsewhere.

  • Devin Harris
  • C.J. Watson
  • Nate Robinson
  • Darren Collison
  • Pablo Prigioni
  • Toney Douglas
  • Ronnie Price
  • John Lucas III
  • D.J. Augustin
  • Beno Udrih
  • Earl Watson
  • Shaun Livingston
  • Jordan Farmar
  • Aaron Brooks
  • And, obviously, A.J. Price

Some of these (Harris, Collison, Farmar) were unique circumstances, but there was plenty of quality available (I like Robinson, Udrih and Douglas, in particular) for less than what Maynor got if the Wizards let things play out a bit. Hopefully, there's some growth that Maynor can show that the others can't.

VETERAN'S MINUMUM

It's hard to find a more useful piece for the price than Al Harrington. No complaints here.

UPDATE: Forgot about Garrett Temple. I preferred bringing him back to A.J. Price because of positional versatility, so I am in favor of that use of resources.

Was there a reasonable alternate path the Wizards could have pursued with these exceptions? Let us know in the comments.

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