You've probably read Zach Lowe's definitive look at the Washington Wizards' challenge this summer. If you haven't, start now. He weaves through every possible consideration that Ernie Grunfeld (or whoever is the GM) must make this summer when deciding the future trajectory of the franchise.
- Bradley Beal is becoming a star, giving the Wizards two building blocks instead of one.
- League executives believe Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat will make a combined $15-20 million next year.
- The Wizards want to keep both.
- The lack of a third star is the big problem and it goes back to botched draft picks from 2009-2011.
- The Wizards could let Ariza and Gortat walk and try to keep the cap sheet clean for future stars, but they will struggle to replace their production, especially in the playoffs. They could also sign-and-trade them for other players to fill the gap, or they could talk to the big fish, then circle back and renounce their rights if a deal is agreed upon.
- The East stinks, so the Wizards may be closer to contention than one would think. Plus, the salary cap is expected to rise significantly in the next couple years.
The larger point: there are no easy answers. Every decision comes with a trade-off, as much as we want to believe there's an easy fix.
We'll be spending lots of time breaking down all of those possibilities in the coming weeks once the Wizards' playoff run ends. For those who want to start the discussion now, use this space to do so. For those who don't (which I totally understand), use any of the other threads on the site.