The Wizards have agreed to a deal with 30-year-old big man Jason Smith, according to Shams Charania of the Vertical. Smith last played for the Orlando Magic, where he averaged 15.5 minutes per game off the bench.
Free agent center Jason Smith has agreed to a deal with the Washington Wizards, league source tells The Vertical.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 5, 2016
Smith makes a lot of sense for the Wizards, who could use a third center on their roster behind Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi. Smith averaged 7.2 points and 2.2 boards last season in 76 games, and while he was outplayed by Orlando's younger centers, he's a good pickup as the final big man on the roster.
But here's where the reports get surprising:
Jason Smith agreed to a three-year, $16M deal with Washington, league sources tell The Vertical.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 5, 2016
Washington Wizards and Jason Smith agree to a 3-year, $16 million deal, per league source. Third year is a player option, I'm told.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) July 5, 2016
In a vacuum, paying Smith a little over five million per year is understandable. He's not flashy, but he is steady, and while he's not a good enough shooter to really count as a "stretch" big he does have some range for a 7-footer.
However, the Wizards now have over 33 million dollars (more than 34 percent of the cap) committed to the center position this year, to players who really shouldn't be sharing the floor together much.
Fans have been speculating about whether or not Gortat would get traded every since the Wizards committed starter money to Mahinmi. J. Michael of CSN said on Twitter that this doesn't necessarily mean Gortat is going to be traded, but it is a curious move by the Wizards. Five million dollars a year isn't a lot for a good big man these days, but it is a lot of money for a guy barely expected to play on a team that still has quite a few roster spots to fill.