Should the Washington Wizards target this former All-Star free agent?

Nikola Vucevic of the Chicago Bulls (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Nikola Vucevic of the Chicago Bulls (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

The future of the Washington Wizards is in a constant state of unknown, but it has never been so shrouded in mystery as it is right now. There’s new leadership in town and the plan going forward hasn’t been made clear just yet.

Assuming the Wizards draft a point guard with the eighth pick in the draft, the biggest weakness on the roster would end up being the center position, even if Kyle Kuzma walks in free agency. That is why it’s important for the Wiz to be exploring options at that position.

If the goal is to contend as soon as possible, there seems to be one player available that could greatly improve their chances as soon as next season. That player is Nikola Vucevic, a former All-Star who has played his last two seasons with the Chicago Bulls. Another team that went all in but has nothing to show for it besides a mediocre record.

Vucevic averaged 17.6 points, and 11 rebounds per game this season on the Bulls on incredible efficiency. His size and strength also allow him to contest shots and not get bullied in the post, although he is much better defensively next to other great defenders like Patrick Beverley or Aaron Gordon than he is on his own.

How could the Washington Wizards sign a player like Nikola Vucevic?

The first thing that would need to happen for this signing to take place is Kyle Kuzma needs to decline his player option and walk in free agency, preferably in a sign and trade situation. This would create the cap space necessary to sign the seven-footer.

The next thing is offering Kristaps Porzingis a contract more along the lines of what he has produced for them. With his injury history, that would be around the range of $25-30 million a year, a nice discount from the current $36 million he is set to make if he opts in on his player option.

These two moves in combination would allow the Wizards to make an attractive offer to the Bulls center. He is likely going to be looking for a deal that would give him around $20-25 million per year.

Why should the Wizards target the Swiss big man?

Adding the former All-Star to the roster would give the Wizards a projected starting lineup of Anthony Black/Cason Wallace, Bradley Beal, Corey Kispert, Kristaps Porzingis, and Nikola Vucevic. A towering lineup with real potential on the defensive end especially if they select Black in the draft.

This is definitely a formidable starting five. Four elite shooters, two players seven-foot or taller, two playmakers, and a lock down defender all in the starting five. This certainly looks like a great outcome for the Wizards.

Vucevic could also be looking for a change in scenery as he has struggled to find his footing with the Bulls, not replicating his success with the Orlando Magic.

He also brings stability with his very limited injury history, only playing under 60 games thrice in his 12-year career, and under 70 five times. Having a big man who can reliably give you 70+ games a year is something the Wizards could use. As they say, the best ability is availability.

While Daniel Gafford has played 72+ games for the Wizards in both of his two full seasons with the team, he was only able to reach 97 total games played in his first two years in limited playing time.

Adding Nikola Vucevic would give the Washington Wizards another layer of depth to their offense with two big men who can space the floor. He would also bolster their frontcourt’s reliability and depth. This is why the Wizards probably should at least explore the possibility of signing the former All-Star.

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