Washington Wizards Mailbag Monday: If Kevin Durant Doesn’t Come To DC and More


Last week was a tough one for the Washington Wizards.

After beating the San Antonio Spurs at home, the Wizards dropped two straight games to the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks. Both defeats were, well, disappointing. Washington turned the ball over approximately a billion times and seemed discombobulated on the defensive end of the floor. Those are legitimate reasons to be concerned.

Thankfully, the season is long. We’re just six games into the campaign.

To start off another week of wacky Wizards basketball, let’s get to Mailbag Monday.

Today’s questions come from Twitter. As always, if you’d like to be featured, please send us a question: @WizofAwes.

OK – let’s cover the Bradley Beal question first.

John writes for the site, and as you can tell, he’s super worried that the Washington Wizards are going to lose their star shooting guard. John isn’t alone. But, I can assure you guys this: Brad Beal is going to be a Wizard for a very, very long time. The team will give him the max contract and that’s been inevitable for quite some time.

If another team does offer him the max, the team will match it. I don’t even think we’ll get to that point, though. If I had to bet on it, the Wizards will likely agree to a four-year max contract with Beal. They signed John Wall to the five-year extension last year, so he’s their designated player.

Now, on to the Kevin Durant question.

It’s no secret that Durant is their primary target next summer. He’s the hometown kid, after all. They’ve hired his high-school coach as an assistant and they’ll probably give his mom a position in the front office if he signs with the team. That last part was a joke, but at this point, I’m not even sure. They’ve done everything to give themselves a chance to sign Durant.

But it’s not a guarantee that he’ll come.

If he doesn’t, then I’m sure Washington will look to pursue Al Horford — who would replace Nene quite wonderfully as the big Brazilian rides off into the sunset. If they fail to get Horford, then Washington could look to get a player via trade. They’ll have the cap to absorb a max-level player, so trades will be an option.

DeMarcus Cousins‘ situation in Sacramento is always changing. Will he stay — will he go — will the Kings finally learn how to play competent basketball under a competent ownership group? Who knows? If he becomes disgruntled, the Washington Wizards could look to pursue Boogie. That should be their second option if Durant stays in Oklahoma City.

Let’s really hope Beal doesn’t mix extended time. They don’t have an open roster spot, so free agency isn’t even an option. Even if they did, who could they possibly sign to fill the void? There aren’t many, if any, decent options available.

I’m guessing Gary Neal would take his spot in the starting five and Kelly Oubre would get an increase in playing time. The Washington Wizards aren’t as deep as we thought prior to the beginning of the season. Injuries to Alan Anderson and Martell Webster have hurt the team more than we expected.

Missing Beal would certainly hurt Washington way more than it would’ve a few years ago. He’s become a legitimate star and he’s playing at an extremely high level. Neal and Co. just cannot fill the void. It would be done by committee and I don’t think the committee is good enough.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t miss time.


I’m terrified too, guys. Missing Beal would seriously hurt.

They have a full roster, so free agency isn’t an option. Ernie Grunfeld might look to address the issue in the future by making a trade, but it’s too early to even think about that.

Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries are still getting accustomed to playing together and it’ll take some time. Gortat is a good rim protector and Humphries is solid too. They have the tools to protect the basket, they’ve just been inconsistent.

In the future, I would be surprised if Randy Wittman doesn’t end up playing Gortat and Nene together more often. Both players have size and they excel defensively together. They’ve played as a duo for two years, so they’re familiar with how they rotate and their tendencies. It’s not ideal, but it might be the only option at times.

Find a time machine, go back a few years and bam, suddenly you have a young front court. There’s no way to solve the problems from a personnel standpoint. The Washington Wizards have what they have. The bigs are old and they’re going through slumps. Unless they acquire another big through a trade, they’re stuck with Gortat, Nene, Humphries, Drew Gooden and an out of shape Jared Dudley.

So, to answer your question, it really depends on what problem you’re talking about.

If it’s defense, then Wittman will probably have to play Gortat and Nene together more often than originally anticipated. If it’s the fact that Dudley and Gooden cannot jump over the new edition of YellowPages, then there’s no answer to that problem.

The only way to solve the “problem” is to get better big men. Right now, they have no other options. They’re stuck with what they have. The bigs just have to play better. I don’t think they’ve played nearly as well as they’re capable of playing. Eventually, they’ll turn it around — I hope.

Will the Wizards get a true stretch four that is healthy before the trade deadline? Dudley is simply not getting the job done and Humphries is more of a backup player than a starter. – via Shaidester

Glad you asked! Fim recently wrote about five players that the Washington Wizards could potentially acquire — all of whom can play the stretch four position.

Will they, though? It really depends on who’s available. If Markieff Morris or Ryan Anderson become available, the Wizards should make the call. Dudley isn’t hitting threes, but I think he eventually will. Remember, he just had back surgery and he’s working his way back. He missed, like, 14 weeks of basketball. It will take some time to regain the rhythm.

Humphries is in a weird situation. He should be playing from the mid-range/post area. He just doesn’t seem comfortable with playing the stretch four role, and really, he shouldn’t be. He’s been a bruising big man his entire life and he’s good at it. It’s like asking a science teacher to teach algebra. Could he do it? Probably, but let him teach science. (Great analogy, Ben…)

But, yeah, I think they should look to acquire another big than can space the floor. Will they? That can only be answered in time.

Next: Assessing A Strange Week Of Wizards Basketball

Once again, if you’d like to be featured in next week’s edition of Mailbag Monday, send us a question: @WizofAwes. To those who participated and read, thank you.