Mar 14, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman talks with forward Trevor Booker (35) against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
As the Washington Wizards head into the offseason, there are a number of questions regarding what the future holds for the team. I’ve decided to ask myself many of the questions that appear to need answers as we head into the 2014-15 season. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and I admit to dancing around or flat out avoiding some of the questions, but I do try to address some of them.
Will Randy Wittman be back? At this point, I would imagine so. For what and for how long, who knows, but if I were a betting man, I’d say get ready for a couple more years of #WittmanFaces.
Will Ernie Grunfeld be back? This guy rises from the dead more than the Undertaker. At this point, yes, I guess he’s back as well. Hell, Mike Wise dropped the nugget earlier this month that Grunfeld is already under contract for next season. Either way, it looks like he’ll be back at the helm, and back for one of the most critical offseasons in a loooooong time.
Is the team re-signing Marcin Gortat, Trevor Ariza, or both? Or none? These are this offseason’s multi-million dollar questions. There are and undoubtedly will continue to be a number of opinions and commentaries on this. These questions truly deserve a separate post altogether to deal with the salary cap, luxury tax, cap holds (FUN!!), future cap implications, and what it means for the rest of the roster on a short-term and long-term basis.
I’ve seen it implied that Ariza could make upwards of $10 million a year on a new deal. I just can’t see that happening, but maybe his something in the neighborhood of his current rate is possible (he’s making $7.7 million this season). I would like Ariza back, but there HAS to be a walkaway dollar amount and contract length. Doesn’t there figure to be some regression with him after the incredible season he just had? Can he sustain shooting 41% from 3? Age will surely start to rob him of some of his ability to be such an active and versatile defender, so how long of a deal would you give him? I don’t know if this is leverage for the Wizards’ front office at all, but Martell Webster is still under contract for three more seasons and Otto Porter is still in the fold. I just keeping asking myself if the market for Ariza is going to be less bullish than we think it will be. You have to think soon-to-be 29-year old Trevor Ariza, who just had arguably his best season, would want to obviously be paid, but also begin to think more about winning and being in the best situation for him to flourish on the court. In other words, don’t you think he would want to sign with a playoff team with a good point guard? And along with that, how many of these teams are in a position to offer much more than the mid-level exception (the full MLE maxes out at $5.3 million for 2014-15)? This logic, if you want to call it that, would seem to put the Wizards in a pretty good position to re-sign him and not completely outbid themselves. Now, if some team offers the $9-10 million that has been suggested, maybe a sign and trade is an option that suits all parties. If I had my way, I’d sign Ariza to three years, starting at $6-8 million. This is probably why I am sitting here talking to myself instead of working in a front office.
Marcin Gortat is another story. The price point for him would appear to be a bit more than Ariza’s, as there really is no other true center on the roster (Nene seems to insist he is a PF), and there is more of a premium on big men than on swing players. Despite being 30, you could definitely see him getting eight figures per year in a new contract. But how long of a deal are we talking about here? Do you want to be paying a 33-yr old Marcin Gortat $12-14 million? Again, the Wizards have to think long and hard about not only the price of the contract, but also the length. I’m not sure yet what I would be willing to pay the Polish
Machine, but I’d know what is too much if you asked me.
If neither is back, the team could be looking at a decent amount of cap room, which leads to…
Will the Wizards use up all of the cap room flexibility that was presumably created to lure major free agents? This is what I was getting at above. Spending all of your cap room now to bring back Gortat and Ariza could jeopardize cap flexibility in the future. This offseason, quality bigs like Greg Monroe and Chris Bosh could be available. Would you want to give up the flexibility to sign one of them by bringing back Gortat and Ariza? Not that I think there’s much way it could happen, but what if Kevin Love’s ‘people’ told Timberwolves that if he isn’t traded, he’ll leave in free agency? Kevin Love really does come available via trade? Also, we have to keep in mind the pipe dream that is the 2016 offseason, when Kevin Durant becomes a free agent.
Will Martell Webster get traded if Trevor Ariza is back? As many, including me, have stated, if Ariza is back you’d have to think that Martell Webster somehow gets traded also. It just seems like conventional logic, right? Not only would there be too much money tied up in one position, I don’t even think a “GM For Life” could afford to redshirt the 3rd pick in the 2013 NBA Draft for two straight years. #FreeOtto must happen in some way, shape or form in 2014. A trade of Webster would undoubtedly require the team to take back at least equal salary, so maybe they could get a big or a guard out of the deal.
Can the Mid-Level Exception bring back a meaningful player? Because no matter what happens with Gortat and Ariza, the Wizards should have the full mid-level exception at their disposal. I would love to see Patrick Patterson or Jordan Hill brought in, and I know I’m not the only one with that sentiment.
Will Andre Miller be bought out? This is an intriguing question to me. Miller will be in the final year of his contract next season. He is due to make $4.6 million, however, only $2 million of that is guaranteed (I’m not sure when the decision has to be made on that). Professor Dre turned 38 in March. His on-court savvy proved invaluable at times down the stretch (or at least it seemed that way. I’m not sure if it was just all relative to what the team had going on at backup PG prior to his arrival), and I’d bet through osmosis some of his professionalism and smarts rubbed off on Wall and Beal off the court as well. More than likely I suppose he’ll be back, but what if Ariza and Gortat are re-signed, the MLE is used, and Webster is traded for a good, younger backup point guard. Couldn’t you see the team worried about being close to the luxury tax line and dumping the Professor? If the decision needs to be made by June 30 as to whether or not the full year will be guaranteed, the above scenario is moot.
Are Trevor Booker and Snakey (Kevin Seraphin) going to get qualifying offers? I’m not so sure about either. At their current rates, I definitely don’t know if Seraphin is going to be offered $3.9 million. Booker at $3.4 million? You’d like to think no, but Booker certainly showed some things this season, and definitely proved his value in the first round of the playoffs against Chicago. Steve Kerr, new coach of the Golden State Warriors, REALLY seems to like him. Would either of them come back at a cheaper rate? Will anyone else offer more than the qualifying offer?
What’s the deal with Tomas Satoransky? Funny you should ask that, because there’s a fantastic post that answers this very question on our site. As it stands, Satoransky is expected to play on the Wizards’ summer league team in July. Let’s hope he makes the team, as they may need him not only due to the seemingly dire depth at guard, but also because he could be a young, affordable option as a fourth guard at 6’7 with a combo guard skillset.
Will Drew Gooden be back? This is a good question. I hadn’t thought much about it, but after reading the piece by Greg Gottfired, it wouldn’t be the worst idea. The league minimum for players with 10+ years of service is just under $1.5 million, so maybe bringing him back is OK.
How about Chris Singleton be back? Nah…
Al Harrington? I doubt it, right?
Eric Maynor? Now you’re trolling…OK we’re done here.
All in all, there are a LOT of unanswered questions heading into the offseason. I hope the answers lead the Wizards in the right direction for years to come.