Washington Wizards have missed Ian Mahinmi’s rim protection this season, but Larry Sanders will be in town next week for a workout.
After failing to acquire a top-tier free agent this past summer, the Washington Wizards opted to revamp their bench with hopes of adding depth and regaining their defensive identity.
For most of the 2016-17 NBA season, the Wizards’ second unit has been at the bottom of the league in terms of production.
Washington’s bench is averaging 23.9 points per game, which is just above the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are last in bench points scored, per Hoops Stats. The bench is also last in rebounding and defensive efficiency.
Now, the coaching staff has begun stunting the starters’ minutes, making it easier for the Wizards to compete for 48 minutes, instead of just when the starting five are on the floor.
For the Wizards to seriously compete in the NBA Playoffs and maintain a chance to move up in the standings, shaking up the roster might be necessary.
Since the team has used virtually all of its cap space, the Wizards’ only avenues for improvement are internal development, through free agency and small trades.
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The Wizards have 15 players under guaranteed contracts, which is the most allowed by the NBA, but three of them – Sheldon McClellan, Danuel House and Daniel Ochefu – are undrafted rookies who rarely get playing time.
Marcus Thornton, who agreed to a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum in the summer, has been out of Brooks’ rotation since January 3rd.
If the Wizards were to clear a roster spot for a free agent, one of the four players would have to get waived.
Right now, with the NBA season technically past the halfway point, the talent pool of free agents has dried up considerably.
There are, however, a number of interesting names still available that could potentially bolster a team’s roster before the beginning of the postseason.
Keith P. Smith of CelticsBlog reported that the former NBA center worked out for the Boston Celtics.
According to a source, Sanders, who went to Virginia Commonwealth University, will be in Washington next week for a workout.
Sanders signed a four-year, $44 million extension with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013, but due to personal reasons, he felt the need to walk away and tend to himself. Since he’s last played in the NBA, Sanders has spent most of his time with his family. Sanders has also been producing music.
During the 2012-13 season, Sanders averaged 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
Ian Mahinmi signed a four-year, $64 million deal with the Washington Wizards in the off-season and was supposed to provide similar services. The 7-foot big man has been bothered by knee injuries and has only played in one game this season. There is no timetable for his return.
Sanders, like Mahinmi, would provide rim protection and rebounding, which is something the Wizards have desperately needed this season, especially off the bench. Since Sanders hasn’t played in over a year, his deal would likely be for the remainder of the current season.