Washington Wizards: Free Agency Recap and Grades 2016

Mar 5, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi (28) prepares to shoot as Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) defends during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi (28) prepares to shoot as Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) defends during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Wizards missed out on a top free agent, but they still landed some key pieces. How well did they do this summer?

After a mediocre .500 finish last season, the Washington Wizards looked to acquire a big-time free agent this summer.

Kevin Durant, whom the team had been attempting to lure for years, didn’t even set up a meeting with his hometown Wizards. He joined the dark side in Golden State.

The team’s second option, Al Horford, was reportedly super close to choosing the Wizards, but decided to lace up with the Boston Celtics instead.

Once that domino fell, the Wizards started to fill out the rest of their roster.

1. Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard, Washington Wizards 

The first move Washington made was re-signing their own, agreeing to a five-year max deal worth $130 million with Bradley Beal.

The 23-year-old missed 81 games in his first four seasons. Washington decided to take the risk, given his All-Star potential.

Even with his injury history, Beal has proven he can be a top tier shooting guard in the NBA.

In the 2015 NBA Playoffs, he averaged 23.4 points, 5 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 10 games.

Beal signing will validate the backcourt for years to come. Now he has to share franchise leading duties with John Wall.

Overall Grade: A-  

2. Ian Mahinmi, Center, Indiana Pacers 

After missing out on Al Horford, Washington quickly signed Ian Mahinmi to a four-year deal worth about $64 million.

At first I wasn’t a big fan of the signing, but Mahinmi is a center known for his defensive ability and rim protection.

He’s coming off a career season, averaging 9.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and nearly 60 percent shooting from the field. He played in just 25 minutes per game and showed his durability by missing just five contests.

Mahinmi is going to be one of the highest paid backup centers in the NBA, but at least he will help the Washington Wizards regain their defensive identity.

Overall Grade: B-

3. Andrew Nicholson, Forward, Orlando Magic 

Andrew Nicholson and the Wizards agreed to a four-year deal worth $26 million.

Nicholson, who was a first-round pick in 2012, hasn’t found his groove in his short career.

Last season, he averaged 6.9 points, shot 36 percent from the 3-point arc and 47 percent from the field in 56 games for the Magic.

Nicholson is a low post scorer and a stretch four that can provide depth for a bench that was depleted last year.

He’s shown flashes of his potential and the Washington Wizards hope to get the most out of him under Scott Brooks.

Overall Grade: B

4. Trey Burke, Point Guard, Utah Jazz 

Trading for Trey Burke was one of my favorite moves for Washington this off-season.

The Wizards acquired Burke from Utah in exchange for a 2021 2nd round pick.

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Burke had early success before entering the league.

At Michigan, he became a star for the Wolverines, winning accolades and leading them to a championship in 2013.

In the NBA, he hasn’t found his rhythm yet, spending his first three years in and out of the lineup and struggled in the starting spot.

Even with the ups and downs, he continues to show promise.

Last season he averaged 10.6 points, had career highs in 3-point and field goal percentage, but career lows in rebounds, assists and games played.

Washington brought him to D.C. to be the primary backup for Wall. They’re hoping that a change of scenery will help Burke adjust to the next level.

Overall Grade: A

5. Tomas Satoransky, Combo Guard, Barcelona

After four years of patiently waiting, Satoransky finally agreed to a three-year deal worth $9 million.

He was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 32nd pick of the 2012 draft and played for them in the summer league.

Sato stayed in Spain for four years and signed with Barcelona in the summer of 2014.

In those two years he led his team to a  Spanish Supercup Championship last year and had career highs in points, steals, assists, field goal percentage, minutes played and games started.

Washington lacks ball handling and wing depth, so Satoransky will be thrown into the fire early.

He’s 24-years-old and won’t be treated like a typical rookie. He has years of professional experience under his belt. It’s sink or swim time.

Overall Grade: A+ 

6Jason Smith, Center, Orlando Magic 

This one maybe the most questionable move of the off-season.

Smith signed a three-ear deal worth $16 million with Washington.

Smith isn’t an awful player, but the Washington Wizards already signed his teammate, Nicholson.

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The veteran big man won’t bring anything to the table that Washington really needed.

He’s not necessarily a stretch big man nor is he an elite defender.

If the Wizards waited, they could have landed a younger big – like Jared Sullinger or Terrence Jones – for less money.

The upside for Smith, however, is he can provide depth to a bench that wasn’t good last season.

In his only season in Orlando, he averaged 7.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, shot 25 percent from three and 48 percent from the field in 76 games.

Smith can space the floor as a pick-and-pop big, but with other players on the market at the time, the signing will still cause some headaches.

Overall Grade: C- 

7. Marcus Thornton, Shooting Guard, Washington Wizards

I’m still iffy on this move.

Thornton inked a one-year deal worth $1.3 million, which is the vet minimum.

After playing 46 games and averaging 10 points with Houston earlier last season, he was cut and the Washington Wizards signed him, letting the injured Gary Neal go.

He averaged 8.4 points, but shot 33 percent from three and 39 percent from the field in 14 games.

The Washington Wizards signed Thornton so he can be a veteran leader in the locker room.

Still, the Wizards could’ve looked elsewhere. Jason Terry, Steve Blake, Caron Butler and Alan Anderson are still available too.

Thornton will provide a scoring punch, but I’m not certain he can be relied on.

Overall Grade: D 


“Meh” is a solid way to describe the Washington Wizards’ off-season.

They found a capable four, a backup point guard, finally signed Sato and Beal got a max deal.

The head scratching signings were inevitable, but the positive thing is, the Wizards are a younger, more versatile team than they were before.

Next: Wizards Should Sign Lance Stephenson

The summer is quickly winding down and there is still room to make a move or two, but this is pretty much what the Washington Wizards are entering the 2016-17 season with.

Overall grade for the off-season: B