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June Mailbag Questions Part 1: Will Emma Meesseman return to the Mystics, and what should the Wizards’ front office do?

Here is the first part of our mailbag for June 2021.

Washington Mystics v Atlanta Dream
We answered a question whether Emma Meesseman’s return will help the Mystics’ chances.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Thank you for your questions for June’s mailbag. The first part of the mailbag is here. Additional answers will be up this weekend, due to the number of questions and answers, which is a good thing.

Our next mailbag will be in July!

Do you think Davis Bertans is on the trade block this year? (SpaceBoyWinston)

Yanir Rubinstein: Yes, but he brings little value and would require a pick to get rid of.

John Heiser: There’s no reason to move Bertans for spare parts, if that’s what you mean by trade block.

I get that people aren’t happy with how his season played out. From showing up unfit, getting injured and then leaving the playoffs on account of the same calf, he had a rollercoaster of mostly downs. His percentages mostly held though. He left Game 5 vs the 76ers with 15 in the half. He went out blazin. Davis is always going to have value shooting 40% from 3pt range, shooting deeper 3’s AND off of movement. With 4 years and $65 Million remaining on his contract, my inkling is that those terms will look pretty good in comparison after this offseason’s spending spree.

Osman Baig: Yes. The message from Tommy Sheppard after the season was they will not just run it back.

People were rightfully skeptical when it seemed like Brooks was returning, but the news that he is not going to be back leads me to believe other changes will happen as well. The Wizards have limited tools to improve their roster so trading Bertans for a more complete player makes a lot of sense.

Frankly, the team should look to trade any player outside of Bradley Beal (and Westbrook for the sake of this discussion) who cannot defend. That would include Bryant in addition to Bertans.

Will Emma Meesseman come back in time to fuel a Mystics championship run this season? And what about Elena Delle Donne’s status? Or will the next season be their next opportunity? (SpaceBoyWinston)

Greydy Diaz: As much as I’d love Meesseman to come in time to help the Mystics, I have a feeling she won’t. I’d love to be wrong on this one. I’m worried that Delle Donne won’t return this season and I wouldn’t want her to suit up if she wasn’t feeling close to 100%. She might never feel 100% ever again but I’d rather her wait until next season if it means she feels completely comfortable.

Diamond Holton: IF Meesseman does come back, she could possibly help the Mystics make a deep playoff run, but that also can affect the team since they’re already starting to sync as a unit. That’s not to say Meesseman will jeopardize what Washington has going on, but I don’t think Coach Thibault is thinking about her too heavily at the moment.

As far as EDD, it’s looking like she may not return until after the Olympic Break. There are only a couple of games left in June and only two games in July before the Olympics begin. Plus she hasn’t even begun any five-on-five drills yet.

Realistically the Mystics can make a run this year with Tina Charles but looking at the depth of other teams it’ll be tough to do.

Albert: If Meesseman returns and the Mystics keep playing like they have the last five games, then this team will have one more shot at winning the title. Due to EDD’s injuries and the uncertainty around her, I’m going to go so far to say that Meesseman’s impact on the rotation could very well be more than Delle Donne’s.

That said. we also need to understand that due to cap reasons and the players who they already decided to build around, this will almost definitely be Meesseman’s last season in a Mystics uniform if she returns. We sh

Should the Wizards consider hiring Donnie Nelson to some front office role (not necessarily replacing Tommy Sheppard) & Rick Carlisle as HC? (Alviman)

Note: Carlisle was hired to be the new Indiana Pacers head coach on Thursday. The answers below were made before that announcement.

John Heiser: Adding Donnie Nelson doesn’t mean you get Carlisle. It would certainly make things awkward with another decision-maker suddenly added to the mix. If you want him to be GM just do that. If not, he can scout from his home. The Wizards’ ownership has shown a willingness to pay a coach big money. It will take that and more to land Carlisle.

There are some recent rumors on the Los Angeles Lakers trying to trade for Russell Westbrook. If such a deal is made, why would Bradley Beal stay? (satchmore)

John: If Westbrook is traded it’ll be part of the reset that accompanies a Beal deal.

What are your thoughts on why Ted Leonsis seems content with just making the playoffs year in and year out? (WhyKnotUs)

Osman Baig: It kind of is what it is. As fans, we have to hope Sheppard is not content with that and can find a way to raise their ceiling or rebuild.

Albert: Ted has always said this point with any of the teams he owns: If a team’s going to win the championship, that team has to make the playoffs first. As Osman has mentioned here, Sheppard was not content with the Wizards being the No. 8 seed and doesn’t want to see the team have an excellent April just to get to that seed. So I don’t think Ted’s content with just making the playoffs either. In short, I think Ted’s just hoping that the Wizards can beat the odds one season and somehow get to the Finals.

The Capitals won the 2017-18 Stanley Cup Playoffs after a long period of struggling to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Mystics won their 2019 WNBA championship despite not being the preseason favorites.

As for the NBA, this is the kind of season where a team built like the Mystics in 2019 could sneak a title in where they have an elite offense, a competent defense, an MVP or MVP-caliber player and great coaching while some other more talented teams get hit by injuries. The Wizards unfortunately didn’t have all of those components. Hopefully, the Wizards can start having a team that has most of these components so they can at least be in the conversation for a title.

Would you let Robin Lopez go and re-sign Alex Len or sign Hassan Whiteside? (GreatWallofWizards)

Osman: No, I would keep him for something like 2-years at $8-$10 million if we are here interested. He played well for the team last year and gave them a half-court scoring option who defenders COULD NOT GUARD.

I would treat the center position like the running back position in the NFL and spend as little as possible. The Wizards could conceivably trade Bryant and go have three centers on the roster making combined under $10 million per year. That could really help mitigate for the money invested in their two max contracts.

Ben Mehic: Lopez made more than $7 million this past season. If you told me that he would be due for a raise, I wouldn’t believe you. Lopez was a consistent presence offensively with his hyper-efficient hook shot and teams around the league love him as a locker room player. The fit, though, is questionable.

The Wizards have the center rotation fixed with Thomas Bryant and Daniel Gafford. Do they really want to pay more than $7 million to a third center, especially when they desperately need help on the wing? Probably not. Hassan Whiteside is an awkward fit for today’s league and his numbers make him look more impressive than he is. Re-signing Alex Len to a league-minimum deal wouldn’t be a bad idea, though. All in all - the focus should be on the wing, shooting, and defense.

What can the Wizards learn from the Phoenix Suns? In 2018-2019 the Suns were the worst in the West and now they are in the WCF. Phoenix is also a small market team while Washington’s a large market team that seems to operate more like a small market one. What can the Wizards learn from their success? (_maxp_)

John Heiser: Learn to keep drafting wings even if a few go astray. Kelly Oubre didn’t work out. Josh Jackson didn’t work out. Troy Brown Jr is still working it out, elsewhere. Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson look pretty good! Keep looking and raise the bar on shooting.

Is there a case to be made for trading Daniel Gafford? His on-court value vs contact is crazy right now. What do tax-paying teams (Warriors, Mavs, Lakers) give for a starter who makes $1.5 million? I feel like he’s got a unique value at the moment and the Wiz should be trying to fleece someone. (DJMIlk)

Osman: No. Why wouldn’t you want to keep a young, talented center who’s signed for less than $4 million over the next two seasons?

Yanir: I doubt Gafford is a starter on a top 15 team. He would probably bring back a low 2nd round pick at best.

John: This is why we can’t have nice things. The organization says it's big swing time but its fans are selling their good young talent for rookie futures.

I can’t see Daniel Gafford bringing back more than a late first-round pick (and that’s even a stretch. The player drafted in that range is far less likely to bring what DG does next season and beyond.

You collect draft picks to find guys like Gafford. You don’t throw him back when he’s IT. TWO SEASONS of salary control are invaluable on a balance sheet that starts with Russ and Brad.