The start of free agency has been rather quiet for Washington, but it hasn’t been for the targets they’re looking to re-sign. The Kings, Nuggets and Hawks all have “serious interest” in Bojan Bogdanovic per a report from ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
Restricted free-agent sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic receiving serious interest from Sacramento, Denver, Atlanta, league sources tell ESPN.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 1, 2017
Bogdanovic made $3.7 million last season and played a majority of his season with the Brooklyn Nets. He’s a restricted free agent, so the Wizards have the right to match any offer Bogdanovic gets on the open market.
Bogdanovic averaged 12.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game with the Wizards while shooting 45 percent from the field and 39 percent from deep. Washington traded a first round pick for the Croatian swingman last season and he produced shooting off the bench early on for Washington, hovering around 50 percent from three for the first few weeks after the trade.
His hot shooting tailed off toward the end of the season and never recovered for the playoffs. He was Washington’s most reliable bench shooter, but struggled to find a rhythm during the postseason.
What does this mean for Washington?
Like we said before, the Wizards have the right to match any deal Bogdanovic may sign with another team. But the big question for them is how far will they be willing go, considering it could push them deep into the luxury tax?
Atlanta, Sacramento, and Denver all have hoards of cap space available and will be able to offer Bogdanovic a substantial deal if they want to. If they do, it will probably be a deal Washington won’t be willing to match.
The Wizards have the 10th highest payroll in the league at this moment on July 1 — that’s without having a deal in place for Otto Porter. They’re $8 million under the salary cap right now and about $28 million under the luxury tax point at $119 million.
A max deal for Porter, if he’s able to go out and get one on the open market, would be valued at around $25 million. The Wizards would be able to go into the luxury tax to keep Porter around because they have his Bird rights, but they’d be dedicating all of their remaining cap room to re-sign players to Porter before they hit the tax threshold.
Any Bogdanovic deal would have to come at an extremely cheap rate at that point, and it’s unlikely the Wizards will be willing to go that far to retain a bench player — no matter how valuable.
Can the Wizards sign Porter to a max deal and keep Bogdanovic?
It would take some real salary cap gymnastics to do it. A Bogdanovic deal could range anywhere between $8 million to $20 million per year. To keep him, the Wizards would have to move one of their larger contracts. Which contract they move would depend on the size of the offer sheet Bogdanovic brings back.
If he brings back a $20 million offer? The Wizards would likely need to find a way to move Ian Mahinmi or try moving some combination of smaller deals out for little in return. If it’s toward the smaller end, they may be able to swap out Mahinmi for Jason Smith and move from there.
But is Bogdanovic really that important? Probably not. At that point, it’s probably just best to let him walk. He’s 28-years-old and, while he was productive in stints last year, couldn’t put it together when the Wizards needed him most last season.
We’ll see what happens here, but the likelihood of Bogdanovic returning seems slim-to-none at this point. The Wizards do have his Bird rights as well and also extended him a qualifying offer, so they’ve got a backup plan in case things go sour with Porter. But they’ll probably end up wishing Bogdanovic the best and moving on.