Despite a very successful 2013-2014 NBA season which included a run to the semi-finals in the NBA Playoffs, the Washington Wizards will still have some needs to address this off-season. Like most playoff teams, the Wizards will look to bring back some key free agents that played a big role in their postseason run, including Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza. All signs point to the Wizards re-signing both Gortat and Ariza, but they could still use some upgrades to bolster their roster, more specifically their bench.
– Scoring Guard
Washington’s success will be determined by their backcourt play comprised of John Wall and Bradley Beal, but besides their starting guards, the Wizards don’t have much depth at those positions. The Wizards were desperate for a backup point guard after they completely botched a chance at acquiring a backup capable of playing spot minutes behind Wall by signing Eric Maynor to a two-year deal this past off-season. After it quickly became apparent that Maynor cannot play at an NBA level any longer (and by quickly apparent I mean during preseason), the Wizards managed to ship Maynor to the Philadelphia 76ers and Jan Vesely to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for veteran point guard, Andre Miller.
Miller filled the backup point guard role perfectly with the Wizards, but at 38-years old, he’s not getting any younger and there’s still some uncertainty regarding his future in Washington. Although it looks like the Wizards will bring Professor Miller back, they could work out a contract buy-out since Miller is only guaranteed about half of his salary next season if Washington wants to part ways. At this point, I think it’s unlikely that Miller isn’t brought back, but that doesn’t mean Washington couldn’t find use for a backup guard.
The Wizards are pretty much set at the small forward spot, especially if Trevor Ariza is re-signed. Washington re-signed Martell Webster to the full-mid level exception last summer and Otto Porter is expected to play a bigger role next season, but none of the three players are natural guards.
With that said, Washington will likely add another scoring guard off the bench, even if Miller is retained. Having a guard capable of adding a scoring spark off the bench is pretty common and since the Wizards will use the majority, if not all, of their cap space on Ariza and Gortat, then adding a cheap scoring guard off the bench is something they should address this off-season.
List of unrestricted free agents that could fill the need: Nate Robinson (player option), Ramon Sessions, Patrick Mills, Jerryd Bayless, Mo Williams, Darren Collison (player option), Jordan Farmar, Devin Harris, D.J. Augustin, Aaron Brooks
– Backup big man
It’s no secret that the Washington Wizards got some much needed veteran help from Al Harrington and Drew Gooden this season, but the AARP unit might not be the same next year since both forwards will be free agents and the Wizards could look in a different direction. Harrington hasn’t been able to stay healthy and likely won’t be returning to the nation’s capital, but the team might look to bring back Gooden on a veteran minimum contract, especially since he showed that he’s still capable of playing at a pretty high level off the bench.
Washington’s other backup big men, including Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin and Chris Singleton, will also become free agents this summer. Booker was terrific against the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, but Seraphin and Singleton didn’t get much court time throughout the entire season. Seraphin has expressed interest in returning to Washington, but he also wants more playing time. He wasn’t able to crack the rotation despite injuries to Nene and Al Harrington, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Wizards move on from Seraphin this off-season. Singleton still has some upside, but the Wizards are stacked at the small forward position and he’s still not capable of knocking down the 15-18 foot jumper and can’t fill the stretch 4 role.
So, while Trevor Booker and Drew Gooden are reliable bench players, the Wizards could still add some depth at the power forward/center position, especially since they’ll have the mid-level exception to work with during the summer.
Nene hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy and Washington should look to bolster their front court depth. Getting more athletic should be something the Wizards try to do this summer, and they’ll certainly have options.
List of unrestricted free agents that could fill the need: Josh McRoberts (player option),
Andray Blatche, Kris Humphries, Boris Diaw, Jordan Hill, DeJuan Blair, Jason Smith, Ivan Johnson, Darrell Arthur (player option), Chris Kaman, Emeka Okafor