Best Bargain-Bin NBA 2014 Free-Agency Options for Washington Wizards
Where they go from here is vital. Washington's foundation is in place with John Wall at point guard and Bradley Beal by his side off the ball. Marcin Gortat is already 30 years old but just signed a five-year, $60 million contract that will keep him at center for quite some time.
From there, things get interesting. The Wizards already have limited cap flexibility and are committed to re-signing swingman Trevor Ariza (who hits the 30-year-old mark next June) to a long-term deal. In order to improve, they can't afford to whiff on marginal signings.
Outside Wall and Beal (two youngsters who've already suffered various injuries in their brief careers), this roster isn't young. It needs depth and production off the bench. Here are five bargain-bin players who may be available on minimum-level contracts or the biannual exception after Washington uses its full non-taxpayer mid-level exception.
The players are ranked by how helpful they can be next year.
5. Evan Turner
The market for Evan Turner is almost non-existent. According to 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson, the Minnesota Timberwolves are showing interest. But otherwise things are quiet. The former No. 2 overall pick couldn’t get off the bench in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals and was horrible on both ends of the floor.
But on a minimum-level contract? That skews the lens just a bit. Before he was traded to the Indiana Pacers, Turner averaged 17.4 points per game in 54 contests with the Philadelphia 76ers. (The Sixers' insanely fast pace augments those numbers just a bit, but 17 points is still 17 points.)
He showed he can attack the rim, get to the free-throw line and make plays off the dribble.
Whatever happened to him last year obviously wasn't great. But he still has value at the age of 25 in a new environment with less pressure on his shoulders. As a scorer off the bench, Washington would love to have him.
4. Jerryd Bayless
According to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, the Wizards will in fact bring back Andre Miller next season:
The Washington Wizards have picked up the $4.6 million option in Andre Miller's contract, bringing him back for next season, his agent Andy Miller told ESPN.com. Andre Miller proved to be an effective pick-up at the trade deadline for the Wizards as he served as a backup to star John Wall.Miller, 38, is going into his 16th season. He averaged 4.0 points and 1.0 assists during the Wizards' playoff run.
But that doesn't mean they're set in the backcourt. Coming off a so-so season with both the Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics, Jerryd Bayless is a solid combo guard who can play either on the ball or off it. The Wizards could blend him beside Wall or Beal or even experiment with all three on the floor at once.
It'd give them speed and several quick-thinking decision-makers. A very tough lineup to guard. He'll either be available on a minimum-level contract or for the biannual exception.
3. Kris Humphries
Kris Humphries is actually coming off an extremely productive year with the Boston Celtics, mostly playing out of position as an undersized center but still impacting games with brute strength on the glass.
So it’s probably a bit unfair to classify him as a “bargain-bin” free agent. After all, he did make about half his shots and post a career-high 18.2 PER. The Wizards would love his veteran presence backing up the oft-injured Nene.
He sets fantastic screens, can protect the rim, has respectable touch from the outside and can defend a few positions. Most importantly, Humphries would give Washington depth in an area it could stand to beef up.
2. Shawn Marion
Shawn Marion's market is difficult to predict. He could sign for a chunk of someone's mid-level exception or possibly even carve out a nice little two-year deal using a quality team's cap space (the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans are all candidates).
But if those teams pass (Marion is 36 years old after all), the Washington Wizards would more than love to have him. In limited minutes, he'll be able to defend multiple positions, score in transition (the Wizards should be an up-and-down team next year) and make plays off quirky cuts to the rim.
He can rebound too and would add a veteran's punch to Washington's currently thin second unit. The Wizards want to take the next step next year, and throwing Marion into the mix with their biannual exception wouldn't hurt.
1. Ray Allen
It’s unlikely Ray Allen won’t play beside LeBron James next season whether that be on the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers or Jupiter’s third moon. For the past two years, the world’s best player (and arguably its smartest passer) has set the table for Allen’s quick wrists time and time again, and as a result, it’s extended his career.
In Washington, John Wall would be Allen’s new setup man. The Wizards franchise point guard is one of the league’s best at knifing his way into the defense before locating an open teammate on the perimeter and firing him a cross-court fireball.
Allen hasn’t lost his accuracy from beyond the arc and could be a fantastic influence on Bradley Beal. If for whatever reason he’s unable to finish his historic career with LeBron, the Wizards present a beneficial home.