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March Mailbag: Why support the Wizards if you’re a new NBA fan, the third center question and more

Here are the questions in our March mailbag.

Washington Wizards v Houston Rockets
The Washington Wizards still have a center rotation question to address this offseason.
Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

Thank you for your questions this month. Our next mailbag will be in mid April!

Should the Wizards keep Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for next season, or try to trade him (and his $14,004,703 salary)? (CDKA)

Yanir: interesting dilemma indeed. I’d say it all depends on the price. I’d imagine that if they had good offers, KCP would have been traded already by the deadline. Perhaps on an expiring deal the market will look brighter. I’d be suprised if they can get anything more than a high 2nd rounder (i.e., something in the 30’s). But perhaps, maybe, if they swallow some bad contract in return they can even get a first.

John Heiser: With the need at PG everything has to be on the table. KCP’s contract is only guaranteed for $4,888,118. The guarantee date is June 28. That’s 5 days after the draft but before free agency begins, even the legal tampering period. His contract value in a trade is equal to the guaranteed portion of his salary, not his full salary. The NBA closed the un-guaranteed loophole after some GMs tried to drive a monster truck through it. If they want to use him in a deal at his full salary they would have to guarantee it first.

The Wizards are in a spot because they absolutely have to find a point guard and only have so many assets with which to accomplish that goal. KCP is the type of 3+D player they’ve wanted for years. He’s played 30 minutes per night and shot 39% from 3pt range in 68 games, so it shouldn’t be easy to pry him loose. They aren’t looking to sell low. If they trade him it should be for an upgrade. The team needs more creation and more playmaking.

Matt Modderno: I think any and all things should be on the table. If it improves the team, trade him. If keeping him gives you the most complete roster, keep him. Basically, it just depends on what options are on the table.

Kristaps Porzingis is very weak defensively and too slow to guard 3 point shooting centers and too slow to chase shot for a block. With that said gafford is also too slow to defend quick attacking guys.

Should the Wizards add another big man who can block shots, and if they did, should they let Thomas Bryant walk? (GreatWallofWizards)

Modderno: Adding a third, veteran’s minimum big man seems pretty likely in my estimation. With Porzingis’ history you probably want to be overly cautious with his minutes and Gafford still hasn’t really shown he can play high volume minutes either. Based on that, having a capable third big seems like like a good measure.

Albert: I feel that the Wizards will have to decide whether they want to keep Bryant for another contract, or trade Gafford away. Of the two, my feeling is that Bryant will be the one who leaves. This is primarily because his potential as a stretch-five overlap with Porzingis’. Gafford already has the shot blocking aspect of the game when he’s on the floor.

KP is the upgrade at the center position and I don’t see any major changes to the position at the moment. If they add a third center, he would likely play behind both Porzingis and Gafford/Bryant, depending on which center they keep.

Heiser: The team is going to need the centers next year. I think we’ve got the long slender type covered. With the bulk that we need to prepare for I would totally support having a third center that can hold their position defensively and at least slow down opposing power centers.

With Porzingis’ injury history it could be easier to convince a veteran that there will be minutes. Outside of free agency the Wizards have two trade exceptions ($3.9M and $5.2M) they could use to acquire players without having to match salaries in a trade.

Yanir: I think it all depends on whether Thomas Bryant is retained. Hard to tell. I’d hope they can get someone better than Lopez or Len, with no disrespect to those two that I like a lot.

I’m struggling to come up with a legitimate reason to keep following this team, other than proximity and habit. Drafting has been poor, free agent signings have consistently disappointed, and management is beyond inept (I suppose I repeat myself). Ownership sets the bar on the floor and the team still can’t clear it.

I guess my question is - if a friend said y’know, I think I’m gonna get into basketball - who should I follow? At this juncture, how would you craft an argument that THE WIZARDS are the team to spend their time, money, and energy on? (jakenbake)

Yanir: I think the argument would be: if you follow the Wizards, you’re gonna get a lot of great content on a site called Bullets Forever.

Albert: I did not tell Yanir to write that, though I endorse it! I’ll add these two points for someone who is based in Washington.

  • Being a fan of the city one lives in: I’ve lived in the D.C. area for nearly my entire life. And part of that identity as a sports fan from the area is by supporting the teams based here. Even if the performance and/or ownership isn’t ideal, those teams are all part of that identity as a sports fan. Sure, we may be angry at the team for bad losses, like the Houston one last Monday. But if we wouldn’t be fans of the Wizards if we weren’t pissed about those losses at some level, right?
  • Enjoying the growth of young players (and more) while they are in D.C.: We get to see players get drafted or traded here and see some of them over extended runs. For example, we had the opportunity to see John Wall and Bradley Beal grow from a promising top draft picks to consistent All-Star players. We also got to see Marcin Gortat grow and be the consistent big man both Wall and Beal needed early those seasons and enjoy some Polish Heritage Nights along the way.

Modderno: They’re SO bad for all the reasons you pointed out. And because they haven’t been good for so long, the payoff will be THAT much sweeter when they eventually win something (assuming it’s in any of our lifetimes). That’s what I keep telling myself at least. We’ll be drunk at the Championship parade laughing about the Mike Miller / Randy Foye trade and that will make it that much better.