Davis Bertans Contract Will Be 'Priority' for Wizards in Free Agency, Per GM

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2020

Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans (42) dribbles the ball against Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter (15) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 6, 2020, in Washington. The Wizards won 118-112. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

As sharpshooter Davis Bertans prepares to hit free agency this offseason, the Washington Wizards are making it a priority to sign him to a long-term deal. 

"He's been a priority. I told him that. And really, nothing has changed there," general manager Tommy Sheppard said Wednesday, per Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Bertans chose to opt out of the NBA's restart to preserve his value before hitting the open market. Arturs Kalnitis, the Latvian's agent, spoke to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype regarding the decision:

"To be completely honest, Davis was prepared to play and then he made a last-minute decision to sit out. We're playing the cards that we were dealt. When the NBA announced that players who sit out wouldn't face consequences and would just lose 1 percent of their salary for each game missed, we sat down to discuss this. Davis is about to sign the biggest deal of his life, so he would be taking a big risk by playing. It wasn't a tough decision, to be honest. If the Wizards were in the fifth or sixth seed (or maybe even the eighth seed), it would be completely different. Davis is a competitor. But in this situation, he decided to sit out."

The 27-year-old had a career-best 2019-20 season, averaging 15.4 points and 4.7 rebounds while emerging as one of the best shooters in the sport. The 6'10" forward knocked down 42.4 percent of his threes while taking 8.7 per game, becoming an integral part of a Wizards offense that surprised many with its efficiency.

No one knows quite what to make of how free agency will go in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's becoming increasingly likely that the NBA will play at least part of the 2020-21 season without fans or with limited fan attendance if the league wants to restart in December as scheduled.

NBPA president Michele Roberts has said the league may need to begin the season in a bubble. It's also possible league ownership seeks to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement amid concerns due to financial losses.

That would significantly impact the free agency of Bertans and every other player on the market this offseason. As it stands, the overwhelming odds are on Bertans and most free agents sticking with their current teams—perhaps on a short-term deal to get through the pandemic.