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February Mailbag Part 2: How much will Porzingis play and re-signing Beal without a supermax

Here are the rest of our questions from this month’s Washington Wizards mailbag.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Washington Wizards
We want to see Porzingis play in a uniform, not be in street clothes!
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the second part of our mailbag! Part 1 is linked below.

Here’s an over-under: Porzingis plays 82 games total for this franchise - jayscott

Albert: Under. Because that would be #SoWizards.

Matt Modderno: He tends to play about 2/3 of his games so I’ll take the over.

Brad has shown that if you put a legitimate Superstar with him, the Wizards can win: Brad/Russ both healthy finished the season on a 17-6 tear and the #8 seed in the East. Playing with average to below-average NBA players. Why shouldn’t the Wizards do everything they can to get a 2nd Superstar (and then try for a 3rd) to RUN WITH BRAD? - jmpalomo

Yanir Rubinstein: Too small of a sample size. The Wizards also were playing a pretty easy schedule to finish last season, including many teams that were actively tanking. The other problem is how to convince a bona fide star to sign here. Russ was not really a superstar, already last year, and even he could only take it for one year here, apparently.

Matt: Who says they’re not trying to do that? They probably don’t have the assets or cap space to make it happen though.

John Heiser: The stat that won’t die no matter how many times we post that they had one of the easiest schedules in the league. This one is different in that is celebrates the heights of... the 8th seed. All Brad needs to get to 8th in the conference is a SUPERSTAR teammate. Well then, we had better supermax that young man immediately so as to make acquiring an actual superstar even more difficult than it already is.

Even if the Front Office assembles the Wizards’ godfather offer in this scenario there’s no All-Star going back. There are mid-level vets on decent contracts. There are encouraging young forwards. There’s the Wizards’ 2022 first round pick. They aren’t allowed to trade it ahead of time but they can draft a player and trade their rights. That's not a superstar package.

Without Brad, Ish, TB, Neto and KCP, other Wizards’ cap space would be well under $70 million with KP taking up half. If healthy and playing well, KP could likely be moved next season and certainly be moveable the following season if he even accepted the PO.

If KP were to opt-out, we could have one of the smallest payrolls in my memory(?)

Could we attract any FAs with that available $$$, It would be more fun than watching this group struggle under the weight of another 2nd level player paid like a top-five player.

This roster is perfectly positioned for a remake…..if we don’t get trapped into the supermax - BeforeWes

Albert: The Wizards are going to have a tougher time attracting another All-Star without having an existing All-Star. Given Porzingis’ injury history, it’s difficult for me to say that D.C. will become a free agent destination, assuming Beal doesn’t return.

Is there a way to sign Beal to a non-albatross contract without him being insulted by a rational offer? Rhetorical question. Follow-up:

How much offensive talent can you lose in Beal and still win more games as a team? What kind of skills and intangibles would you look for in a guard if Beal leaves?” - WhyNotTyler

Albert: We are seeing a crash course on this at the moment with Beal not playing for the rest of the season.

If Beal is no longer on the team, I would like to see a starting guard be a player who is an above three-point shooter, an area where Beal isn’t good at anymore. This guard should also be a strong passer like Beal, who averaged a career-high in assists per game this season.

Beal has an offer of $180 million or so on the table, for four years, which seems fair to him and to the Wizards. given his age and level of relative stardom. It’s a ton of silly money of course, adding up to $326 million lifetime in his career of guaranteed money.

Brad says he wants to be “loyal” to Wiz. Is he loyal only if they offer him the super-max? If he doesn’t get it, then he just picks the best fit for him? For example, a team ready to compete for the ring where he is a missing piece? Looking at it from Wiz POV, what should they do? I’ve seen too many third contracts backfire on teams.” - EDDC

Albert: If Beal is only “loyal” to the Wizards because of the possibility of a supermax, then he’s not loyal at all. If such a situation like this happens, they should look to trade him for some younger players and picks to accelerate a rebuild, before they let him walk for nothing.

Is Kyle Kuzma a long term player for the Wizards? If so, how might he fit in the salary cap and which players would that impact?

I’m asking this because I’m looking at the payroll after next season when Kuz will certainly opt-out and working on the assumption that KP opts in and Beal signs the SM. The Wiz, without Kuz, are already at about $107-110 mill and that’s with no other guards besides Beal, that’s a year before a possible Deni extension, Rui is also without a new contract, and no KCP.” - City of Oaks

Matt: I would certainly like to see him here long term because I think there’s still room to improve and he’s seemingly one of the few people trying to take a leadership role on the team and set a good example for younger players. Also championship experience and being able to pass on what he learned from players like LeBron and Rondo is invaluable. That said, I wouldn’t overpay to keep him. He’s not good enough to warrant grossly outbidding other teams for his services.

Raul Neto is a very streaky player. When he is hot and playing great defense, he is capable of changing a game. However, he is a two-guard at heart and is another bad fit for this team to think he can play point guard for extended periods of time. Do you want to see Ish start down the stretch and is it a good idea for this team to see Ish get 27-32 minutes a game at the point guard position? (Michael Durso)

Albert: I think this has been decided already by default with Dinwiddie getting traded and Smith already having past experience in Washington as a backup point guard who can also start in a pinch. I see him playing 27-32 minutes per game for the rest of the season as you described.

Your site and others have mentioned Malcolm Brogdon as a potential fit next season. How would the Wiz fit in his $22 million in salary? Almost certainly either Rui or Kuz would have to go and not sure who else for salary purposes. - City of Oaks

Matt: They would have a hard time making that work and I don’t see it being particularly realistic. To my knowledge, there’s been no real reporting linking him to the Wizards and Indiana has maintained they intend this to be a soft rebuild and want to make the playoffs next season. I would imagine he’s in their plans at least for the short term.

John: Either KCP or Kuzma would need to be included. The Pacers would want one of the rookie-contract forwards too and/or a pick. Brogdon has averaged less than 60 games per season in the 3 seasons before playing only 28 this year. He’s closer to the end than his prime. There’s not much out there in free agency so it can’t be ruled out but I’d hope we can find someone younger.

Yanir: Why would Brogdon want to come to D.C.? I would imagine he would have more attractive offers given his talent.