Washington Wizards Apply For Injury Exception: Potential Free Agent Targets


Yesterday it was announced that Washington Wizards forward Martell Webster will undergo season-ending hip surgery.

Prior to the beginning of the season, Webster had lost a significant amount of weight and was preparing to regain his role as one of the team’s primary offensive options. Unfortunately, this procedure will keep him out the rest of the year, which essentially marks the second consecutive season missed by Webster.

Given his situation, Webster’s contract for next season will become partially guaranteed, meaning he’ll make just half of his regular salary — $5.5 million. Since Webster has missed a significant amount of time over the past several seasons, Washington is looking to potentially obtain some roster flexibility.

Currently, the Washington Wizards have 15 players under guaranteed contracts, which is the most allowed by the league. Webster will continue to be on the team’s books, but they could work out a buyout deal next season if the ownership decides to go that route.

Right now, though, the Wizards are hoping to receive the disabled player exception from the NBA.

Here’s a breakdown of the exception, via SportingCharts:

"The team’s selected replacement player may be signed for a maximum salary of either 50% of the injured player’s salary, or the mid-level exception for a non-luxury tax paying team, whichever is less.  Since this exception is dependent on a player being seriously injured, it requires an NBA-assigned physician to verify the extent of the injury."

If the Washington Wizards receive the exception, they’ll be able to acquire a 16th player for nearly $3 million. They will be able to use this exception on a free agent or a trade.

There’s really no way of telling whether or not the Wizards will receive the exception, but for the sake of assumption, we’ll operate as if they’ll receive it.

So, who could they target? I comprised a list of players that would be available for the exception and considered the Washington Wizards’ current needs.

Chris Douglas-Roberts

CDR has been in-and-out of the NBA for quite some time, but he’s more than capable of sticking on a roster if he finds the right fit.

At 6’7″, CDR has played both shooting guard and small forward. Washington isn’t nearly deep on the wing as we thought coming into the season. Kelly Oubre Jr. has been forced to play a lot more than originally expected and Alan Anderson is still out following an ankle procedure.

Washington has relied on three guards and they could use another wing to make up for the loss of Webster and Anderson.

CDR would be available for the veteran’s minimum, and more importantly, he could help the scoring void created by the absences of the aforementioned players. Plus, he has fantastic hair.

Austin Daye

Ernie Grunfeld‘s key off-season goal was to acquire players that can space the floor for John Wall and Bradley Beal. In order to space the floor effectively, you need forwards that can knock down shots from the perimeter.

Jared Dudley is finally finding his rhythm from deep, but he’s virtually the only forward on the roster that has a reputation of hitting shots from three. And no, I don’t trust Drew Gooden. The Gooden Experience hasn’t been a good one this season.

Austin Daye is a career 35 percent three point shooter. And, oh yeah, he’s 6’11”.

Daye is essentially a 40-year-old version of Kevin Durant. We still don’t know if KD will come to D.C., but Daye would be our super-poor man’s version.

He’s still only 27-years-old and it feels like he’s been in the league forever. Daye is talented enough to be a rotation player in the league, it’s just a matter of staying consistent. Playing along side two All-Star guards and a stable second unit would help him do that.

Jaron Johnson

Remember him, from the Washington Wizards’ training camp and preseason?

He’s still pretty much an unknown and there hasn’t been much news concerning him after he was waived by the Wizards prior to the beginning of the season. Still, Johnson showed some flashes of being an effective scorer when he did get playing time during preseason.

Johnson is playing in the D-League, and of course, he’ll been lighting it up on occasion. He’s only 23-years-old, but has pro-basketball experience and that’s huge for someone who went undrafted.

Damien Wilkins

Wilkins is 35-years-old and he’s still trying to find a way to make an impact in the NBA. Sound familiar?

Wilkins’ path resembles Rasual Butler’s, who was essentially out of the league last year before earning a roster spot with the Washington Wizards. Wilkins was recently waived by the Charlotte Hornets but was close to making their team. Ultimately, they decided to take Aaron Harrison, a 21-year-old guard, over the veteran wing.

Wilkins would be a cheap replacement for Webster. Last year with the dreadful Philadelphia 76ers, Wilkins shot nearly 46 percent from the field. He can score in a number of ways and he’d serve as another veteran in the locker room.

Next: A Potential Trade, Humphthrees and More

The Washington Wizards probably won’t sign a free agent immediately if they receive the disabled player exception. Instead, they will likely wait until the trade deadline and after buyouts occur for players that weren’t able to be traded. Regardless, if they do get the exception, they could really end up benefiting from it if used correctly.