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October mailbag answers: Who will the Mystics return in 2020, Wizards disabled player exception and more

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We answer your questions on the Wizards and Mystics for October.

WNBA Finals Portraits
Let’s say that Mike Thibault has his hands full this offseason. He has to re-sign both of his MVP forwards!
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Thank you for your questions for this month’s mailbag. My answers are below!

We will have another mailbag in mid-November. And as always, keep the questions coming throughout the month and the year in your comments, social media and more!


How likely is it that everyone on the Mystics will be back in uniform next season? — Jim Ivery, email

I can say that it’s basically a guarantee that the roster will have some turnover for 2019.

According to Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops, Washington has $528,362 in cap space committed in 2020. Assuming the salary cap is $1 million, they only have about $470,000 to spend on signing free agents and re-signing key players

Their highest priorities are to re-sign Elena Delle Donne, Kristi Toliver and Emma Meesseman who will hit unrestricted free agency.

Using the previous CBA rules, Washington can core one of them, but not both. Tianna Hawkins, Aerial Powers and Kim Mestdagh were also coming off the books entering the season. Hawkins signed a contract extension before the playoffs.

As for the stars, my hunch tells me that they will sign Delle Donne without having to core her. Same with Toliver, who’s one of the Wizards’ assistant coaches.

However, they will likely be forced to core Meesseman to prevent her from signing with another team, even if she misses the 2020 season due to the Olympics. Belgium will be in this winter’s Olympic qualifying tournament, and that’s going to determine what happens to her status regardless on how the new CBA treats European players like her.

If Belgium makes the Olympics, Meesseman and Mestdagh will probably miss the 2020 season, at least in my opinion.

Did the Wizards receive the requested Wall injury OK from the NBA to spend another $8 million without cap consequences? — Dave, email

No, they have not. At least not yet. However, there’s a very, very small chance that their request will be denied.

Even if the Wizards get their player exception granted today, it’s not like the extra $9.258 million is going to turn their team from a likely lottery bound team to a playoff team. Anyone whom they sign with the exception will be on for just one year. On a team that is trying to preach a new culture, I’m not sure if bringing in a mercenary aligns with that when they are not contending for the championship.

The Capitals won a title. The Mystics won a title. Are the Wizards Next? — GreatWallofWizards, comments

I will go with the Nationals winning the World Series before the Wizards hold up their second Larry O’Brien Trophy. The Lerner Family, the owners of the Nationals also are partners in Monumental Sports.

Could Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant share the front court regularly? — Expatde, comments

A three-man frontcourt of Bertans at small forward, Rui Hachimura at power forward and Bryant at center looks good to me. Right now, that may be one of their key frontcourt trios for this season. As for long term, we’ll just have to see how they grow together against other NBA frontcourts beyond the simple results on the court.

When will the Wizards have a real head coach? — CzechWizFan, comments

I’m guessing that your question is rhetorical. As in ... why is Scott Brooks not as good as Mike Thibault?

For now, Brooks is the head coach until he is fired for someone else. Hopefully he can make the most out of this rebuilding effort over the next couple seasons so we won’t have to write about an unceremonious exit.

Will Elena Delle Donne need surgery to repair her herniated discs? — Jim Ivery, email

Good question. I’m not a doctor, but I can say that many people who have these types of problems do not necessarily need surgery. Delle Donne was able to play through the WNBA Finals without needing surgery. So on the surface, she probably won’t have to be on the operating table, at least right away.

But if Delle Donne does have to have it at some point, it could affect her availability to play for the USA Basketball women’s national team’s NCAA tour in November. The Americans will play Stanford on Nov. 2, Oregon State on Nov. 4, Texas A&M on Nov. 7 and Oregon on Nov. 9.

Will the Wiz scour the NBA cut list next week to pick up a few more talented players than they presently have on the roster? — Dave

They have signed Anzejs Pasceniks to an Exhibit 10 contract earlier this week. Pasceniks was a 2017 first round draft pick to the Orlando Magic. He was later traded to the Philadelphia 76ers and renounced. Hopefully, he’ll have a better go-round with Washington.