Grading the Washington Wizards' Latest Free Agency Signings
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The Wizards don't have much cap space to work with unless they want to enter the luxury tax area, but they do have some flexibility with the mid-level exception. But after the team's three most recent signings, that money is slowly dwindling.
After securing Otto Porter with the third pick in the draft and picking up a backup shooting guard in the second round by trading for Glen Rice Jr., the Wizards were left to mainly fill in backup roles with free agency.
But, they went one step further and picked up a potential small forward to play alongside Porter when they brought back Martell Webster with a four-year contract. Washington did take steps to strengthen their bench by signing backup point guard Eric Maynor and it elected to bring back bench player Garrett Temple.
Now there isn't much money left for the Wizards to make major moves in free agency, and it looks like their roster is essentially locked in for the 2013-14 season.
So did the moves that Washington was able to make move the team in the right direction?
NBA contracts can always be tricky, so Grunfeld has to be sure that even the smaller contracts signed by players end up benefiting the team.
Martell Webster, Small Forward
From the get-go, it was clear the Wizards wanted to target Webster in free agency. Just a few days after drafting Porter, a small forward, Washington signed Webster to a four-year, $22 million contract.
Webster will presumably be the starting small forward with Porter backing him up to start the season, but is Webster really worth $5.5 million per year? Washington seems to be putting a lot of stock into the second half of the season when John Wall returned from injury and Webster began to excel in the offense.
The 26-year-old averaged 12 points per game during the last four months of the season compared to nine during the first three months. Webster finished the season with career-high numbers in points, assists and three-point percentage, but still was fourth on the team in points per game. Before last season, Webster had never averaged more than 10.7 points per game and had never finished a season with a shooting percentage of more than 44 percent.
Is Martell Webster's contract good for the Wizards?
Also, if Porter turns out to be the solid pro that everyone thought he would be, Webster could find himself coming off the bench. Or, if Washington chose to keep Webster as the starter, it could potentially stunt Porter's growth in the young offense along with Wall and Bradley Beal.
While Webster is a fine option at small forward for the near future, this signing would have made more sense if Porter hadn't been drafted, but now the $22 million contract could end up hurting the Wizards down the road if and when Porter is ready to start.
Final grade: C
Eric Maynor, Point Guard
After allowing A.J. Price to leave via free agency, the Wizards found a new backup point guard in Eric Maynor, who has spent time with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and the Utah Jazz.
Assuming Wall stays healthy all season, Maynor will only come off the bench and will probably only play about 17 minutes per game or so, judging by the amount of time that Price played when Wall was healthy.
Maynor had the best stretch of his career in Portland, averaging seven points in 21 minutes with the Trail Blazers this season. But when coming off the bench for the Thunder in the 2010-11 season, Maynor only had four points in 14 minutes per game. He has also battled injuries in the past, missing almost all of the 2011-12 season with a torn ligament in his right knee.
Since free agent contracts can't officially be signed until July 10, there is no word on how much his contract will be worth, although there are rumors it will be a multi-year deal, according to the USA Today. If he stays as a backup all year, Maynor should do just fine playing in only a few minutes per game, and if the contract total is fairly low, he could end up being a decent value for the Wizards.
However, his poor performance with the Thunder should be a concern, but if Maynor posts similar numbers to Portland, he will be a better backup than Price.
Final grade: B
Garrett Temple, Point Guard/Shooting Guard
The Wizards brought back Temple under a one-year contract after he started 36 games for Washington at both guard spots when Wall and Beal were out with injuries.
Temple managed to perform pretty well in games that he started, putting up point totals of 17, 14 and 13 in three appearances during the last month of the season.
Assuming that the Wizards can stay healthy, Temple won't be starting any games this season and will only come off the bench. The Wizards can hopefully avoid his duds, such as the last game of the season when he played 36 minutes but only shot 18 percent from the floor.
According to Slam Online, Temple's deal is only worth $900,000, and Washington could afford to make 10 of these moves before the offseason is done, so it's not a high-risk signing. There's nothing wrong with adding Temple as a bench player, and the Wizards presumably aren't expecting him to start.
In that case, this signing strengthens the Wizards bench and gives someone to backup Beal if Glen Rice Jr. doesn't work out.
Final grade: B+
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