The DeJuan Blair sign and trade puts a lot of things into perspective. Washington now has 12 players under contract once that deal gets finalized, 13 if they add Garrett Temple. They had roughly $7-9 million in wiggle room under the luxury tax threshold prior to this, but now, their core is in place and you can take your best guess as to what Randy Wittman's rotation will look like.
Yet there's still one or two roster spots for the taking. Management will likely use at least one to fill a need and might leave the last one open for a trade (or Al Harrington) down the road.
There's still plenty to be cautious about as free agency comes to a close. A lot rides on Otto Porter taking the next step, and it will speak toward how confident the organization is in him should they choose to bring along another wing player. Andre Miller has to keep fending off Father Time to be Wall's full-time backup, and someone has to emerge as a rim protector behind Marcin Gortat.
But with money tied up, it's slim pickings from here. Here's a few fringe players left on the market that are candidates for these final roster spots:
Khem Birch: Let's start with someone already in-house. Birch is a high-energy big that runs the floor well. He's made some nice plays out of the pick and roll in Summer League, opening himself up to ball handlers and generally doing a good job of rolling into the open space. HIs offense consists of duck-ins into the paint for baby hooks, which was to be expected. He rebounds fairly well and is an excellent rim protector sliding over from the weak side. Problem is, he fouls a lot, which has to do with him compensating for his lack of strength and being out of position on pick and rolls.
Washington has a dilemma on their hands. Birch is still probably a year or so away from playing meaningful minutes in the regular season, but there's clearly some potential there. He's an expert shot blocker with great timing, and has shown in Summer League action the ability to recognize when to help off his man in order to disrupt shots at the rim. But he needs time to grow, the game still seems a little too fast for him and he would be better served redshirting next season.
But will management be patient, knowing the need for another shot blocker? They punted on the second round and are poised to be one of the older teams in the league this season. Birch may be out of place in Washington, and I'm skeptical whether the coaching staff will have the time to develop him during the year.
Peyton Siva: The Pistons officially cut ties with the former Louisville standout on Monday. He didn't make much of an impact last year as a rookie, but fits exactly what Washington is looking for in a backup point guard. He comes from the Rick Pitino school of super-aggressive defense that presses opposing ball handlers the length of the floor. His diminutive size will scare off teams, but if we're talking about stashing a project at the end of the bench, Washington could do a lot worse. When he turns the corner on pick and rolls, he constantly makes the right read and rarely turns it over. He still has to continue honing his jumper in order to keep defenders honest, but with Professor Miller in front of him, I think he can pick up a trick or two.
Al-Farouq Aminu: At the moment, Randy Wittman has no one he can insert into a game as a defensive stopper. Garrett Temple comes to mind, but he's limited to just guards and it's unclear whether Otto Porter is that man either. Aminu is one of the best rebounding 3's in the league and he has the tools to be an excellent perimeter defender as well. We saw what it was like to have Trvor Ariza switch onto players defensively, and while there was added value in the fact that he was an excellent shooter too, Washington has to be careful here. They don't have a great rim protector as the last line of defense nor do they have an elite perimeter defender. I know better than to doubt Wittman's system, but they're playing with fire. Signing Aminu, though, could fix some of that.
Chris Douglas-Roberts: Like the entire Charlotte team, CDR really turned it on after the All Star break. He does an excellent job getting himself open on the perimeter, hitting close to 40 percent of his outside looks, including 50 percent from the right corner. And he's a plus defender, though he saw his minutes dwindle in the playoffs with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist taking over as the LeBron-stopper. Will he take on a lesser role in Washington? Will he be out of Washington's price range.
Jordan Hamilton: He's been a gunslinger since his college days, but he provides that added scoring punch off the bench should he ever crack the rotation. You'd like to see him attack the basket more given his athleticism and he still has a ways to go on defense, but he's worth a flier.
Wesley Johnson: This may be out of left field given his reputation as a bust. He definitely benefitted from playing under Mike D'Antoni a year ago, but he's an athletic wing defender than can slide over to the 4, and he saw his three-point percentage jump from 32 percent to a respectable 37 percent.
Gustavo Ayon: Ankle and shoulder injuries limited Ayon in 2014, which makes for an interesting buy low candidate. He's not a great defender nor much of a threat to do anything offensively, but he has solid size and is a terrific rebounder.