The holiday season is all about shooting your shot. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, you have nothing to lose by asking for something big. The worst thing that can happen is you just don’t get the thing you want. So when SB Nation NBA asked us to write about what we wanted for Christmas, we decided to go big and ask for a complete re-do of the 2016 offseason.
Dreaming about a world where Kevin Durant or Al Horford is in Washington would be great – just imagine the shifts of power in the East if Horford is in Washington instead of Boston – but even when you take out that context, Washington’s offseason was a serious disappointment. Most of you are already familiar with how things went down, but here’s a quick review:
- Signed Ian Mahinmi to a four year, $64 million deal
- Signed Andrew Nicholson to a four year, $26 million deal
- Traded a 2021 second round pick to Utah for Trey Burke
- Signed Jason Smith to a three year, $16 million deal
- Signed Tomas Satoransky to a three year, $9 million deal
- Signed Marcus Thornton to a one year deal for the veteran’s minimum
- Signed undrafted rookies Sheldon Mac, Daniel Ochefu, and Danuel House to rookie minimum deals.
Only five of the nine players the team acquired 17 months ago in July 2016 are still in the league, and that’s only if you count House, who is on a two-way deal in Phoenix. Of those five, only one (Tomas Satoransky) is performing up to his contract in Washington. Everyone else has struggled with injuries and/or just haven’t been good enough to get consistent minutes in the rotation. Even in Satoransky’s case, it took over a season before he finally found his place with the team, and the Wizards invested two second round picks in other point guards (Trey Burke and Tim Frazier) as insurance in case he didn’t pan out.
But here’s the sad part: It’s hard to imagine many ways in which the summer could have gone much better, once you take Durant and Horford out of the mix. Take a look at the deals the 2016 free agent class and the deals they signed, minus those two and the other players who took max money to stay with their current teams. How many of those deals would you take right now? Maybe a half-dozen if you’re being generous, and you’d probably take even less once you tack on the premium the Wizards would have had to pay to beat out the offers those players received.
In reality, the failure of the summer of 2016 wasn’t who they signed (even though that was bad), but that they were in a position where they needed to make a big splash in the first place. The only teams who came out of the summer of 2016 looking good were the ones who either came away with a star, or the ones who proactively used up space to avoid getting caught up in the spending spree.
So in an ideal world, I’d ask for a way to go back in time and convince Kevin Durant or Al Horford to sign with the Wizards. But if I didn’t get that kind of power, I’d go back to 2014 when it first became clear they were going to hoard space for 2016 and tell them that they should probably start working on another plan.
Is that too much to ask for at Christmas? Probably, but it never hurts to ask. If anyone out there has a time machine, let me know.