Believe it or not, training camp is less than two months away. Between that time, though, the Washington Wizards may still explore options to add to their roster, which currently stands at 14 players. Realistically, what options do the Wizards have? Here's a quick look.
The Wizards definitely still have a need for more frontcourt depth, particularly a player that can shoot from the perimeter. Even John Wall acknowledged last week that the roster, while solid, could use a Stretch 4 and a couple more veterans in an ideal world. The Wizards seem pretty set on the wings and now have Eric Maynor as a backup to Wall, but finding a big that is better than the forward flotsam would be very nice.
WHAT MEANS ARE AVAILABLE?
The Wizards only have the veteran's minimum available to offer, because they used the mid-level exception to re-sign Martell Webster and the bi-annual exception to grab Maynor. They also only have one open roster space and often prefer to keep it to provide flexibility, be it with injuries, in-season signings or the ability to execute a 2-for-1 trade.
The Wizards could, of course, execute a trade with a player currently under contract. Relevant trade assets include the following:
- Trevor Ariza's $7.7 million expiring contract.
- The forward flotsam of Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker. We can throw Kevin Seraphin in there too.
- Future draft picks: the Wizards have all their own first- and second-round picks through 2019 and beyond. They also have an additional second-round pick from the Clippers in 2015 thanks to the Nick Young deal
- The draft rights to Tomas Satoransky.
OK, so what are the options?
Here's a list of big men still available in free agency:
- Al Harrington: Would be ideal. He was just released by the Magic, who had no use for him, and now is poised to go to a good team. Barely played last year because of a staph infection that developed following offseason knee surgery, but was a very important player for the Nuggets two years ago. A good veteran that can shoot, has experience in the postseason and is an underrated defender. Problem is, if a better team is offering similar money, he'll probably end up there. Bright side: he's a Dan Fegan client, so maybe his agents will feel like he owes the Wizards one and steer Harrington here. (But I doubt it).
- Ivan Johnson: Not much of a shooter, but a decent rebounder and strong interior player that knows his role and will provide toughness. The Hawks renounced his rights, so he's likely heading elsewhere. The Knicks are interested, and like the Wizards, they only have the veteran's minimum to offer. Overseas is an option as well.
- Antawn Jamison: Still available. You know all about him, so no need to rehash. The Clippers are interested.
- Anthony Tolliver: A decent shooting threat, if not a great perimeter shooter percentage-wise. The Wizards were interested in him last year, but he chose the Hawks. If only he shot as well as he did with the Timberwolves in 2010-11.
- Lamar Odom: He's not coming here.
- Luke Walton: Was actually OK for the Cavaliers off the bench last year. He's certainly a high-IQ player, though he's really slow as well.
- Luke Babbitt: All he can do is shoot, but that is what the Wizards need. Two years ago, he hit 43 percent of his threes. Still only 24.
- Lou Amundson: An energy guy that didn't play much last season. Can't shoot, so I don't see what kind of value he'd add.
- Linas Kleiza: Probably going back overseas after the Raptors let him go with the amnesty clause.
- Drew Gooden: Would certainly accept the minimum after being released via the amnesty clause by the Bucks. Has barely played the last few years, but Milwaukee's a weird situation, so it's possible he has something left.
- Tyrus Thomas: Is currently taking the Andray Blatche route and trying to rebuild his career with John Lucas. Would make for an interesting buy-low candidate.
- Cole Aldrich: Very much not a shooter, but is big and can provide six fouls. Was very good for Sacramento in limited time after being traded at the deadline, but otherwise hasn't done much of anything in his career.
- Johan Petro: See Aldrich, Cole.
- Vladimir Radmanovic: No.
- Earl Barron: Remember him?
- Jason Collins: Remember him?
Not the most inspiring list of candidates, that's for sure.
What if the Wizards went the trade route? While it's impossible to predict who is actually available and what it would cost to nab them, here are some players I'd consider.
- Omer Asik: I doubt the Wizards have enough to trade for him, but I'd be shocked if he spent the entire year with the Rockets.
- Thaddeus Young: The 76ers will be asking for a lot and he has two years left on his deal after this one, but he's a splendid player that's fantastic defensively, underrated offensively and still very young. Would I trade next year's draft pick for Young? Tough question, but I'd definitely think about it if the team starts off well. Young can't shoot like Ilyasova, but otherwise, he's the better player. Realistically, the Wizards may not be able to do much better than Young in free agency anyway.
- Patrick Patterson: The crowded Kings' frontcourt makes Patterson somewhat expendable, and he's a solid shooter and underrated post defender that also has a great relationship with John Wall. His small salary, though, makes it a little tricky to find a good offer to nab him. The Wizards would have to take someone else back if they include Ariza in the deal, for example. The Kings may prefer moving Jason Thompson, who has a bigger contract. (I like Thompson more than most, but he duplicates what the Wizards already have).
- Brandon Bass: He can't hit threes, but even in a down year, he was one of the league's best mid-range shooters. Can run pick and pop and isn't nearly as bad defensively as his reputation. The problem is his contract; he's owed $6.4 million this year and $6.9 million the following year. Is it worth eating into next year's flexibility to trade for him, considering he's not a three-point shooter?
- Channing Frye: Assuming he's healthy enough to actually play, Frye fits the Wizards' needs beautifully. He's a career 39 percent three-point shooter and can be used with either Emeka Okafor or Nene to spread the floor for Wall. He's not cheap, though, with a $6.4 million salary this year and a player option for $6.8 million next season.
- Charlie Villanueva: Is definitely a little better than people realize, though he remains very one-dimensional. More importantly, he has just one year and $8.5 million left on his deal. The Pistons are probably saving him to pursue bigger fish, though, and I wouldn't trade Ariza for him.
- Jordan Hill: The Lakers will probably need him this year, but if they embrace tanking, the Wizards may want to pounce if the price is right. Has an affordable contract with just one year left, and while he isn't much of a shooter, he's a pretty good garbage man otherwise.
- Derrick Williams: What happens to him once Kevin Love comes back healthy? Will he return to the block? If so, the Wizards should be one of the teams lining up to get him. Still very young, and while I doubt he'll be a star, he showed some growth by the end of last season. Alternatively: if he seizes a bench role, target Dante Cunningham, a proficient mid-range shooter and excellent defender that is constantly underappreciated.
- Andrew Nicholson: With Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic up front, Nicholson's a forgotten man despite having a decent rookie season. Orlando's not just going to give him up, but he's at least worth looking at.
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