Top 5 free agency targets need to sign to help new young core

Here are five free agents the Washington Wizards should target to help their young core.
Washington Wizards, NBA Free Agency, Kyle Lowry, Patrick Williams, Caleb Martin, Tyus Jones, Joe Ingles
Washington Wizards, NBA Free Agency, Kyle Lowry, Patrick Williams, Caleb Martin, Tyus Jones, Joe Ingles / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Washington Wizards are building something cool. They got an absolute haul in the 2024 NBA Draft. They snagged three impressive rookies who should be able to develop well.

Washington took Frenchman Alex Sarr with the second pick, Pittsburgh guard Bub Carrington with the 14th pick, and Miami wing Kyshawn George with the 24th pick.

Now, it’s up to them to maximize their development moving forward. If Washington wants to help their young core thrive, they need to surround them with the right talent.

They don’t have real cap space, but they will have access to their $12.86 million non-taxpayer MLE exception. With that in mind, here are the top five players the Wizards should sign to help their young core.

5. Joe Ingles

The Orlando Magic just recently declined their player option for Joe Ingles, and if the Wizards can get in on the action, he would be a great fit with their young core.

Ingles is getting up there in age. He’s already 36 years old. However, he could still give the Wizards minimal rotation minutes and would be a great mentor for the rest of the team.

The veteran is a quality 3-and-D player and a loud-mouth on the court, which would create a fun environment. But most importantly, he provides a valuable veteran presence.

In his only year with the Magic, the team made the playoffs. And while that was largely due to their overall talent and growth, Ingles’ insight as a veteran almost certainly helped.

4. Tyus Jones

This is cheating a little bit, but bringing back Tyus Jones in free agency will be a crucial step of the process for the Wizards as they attempt to field a quality team around their youngsters next year.

If Jones is back on the roster, the Wizards will have a guy who can effectively organize the offense and get their young players great scoring looks.

Plus, Jones would take a ton of pressure off of Bub Carrington. With Jones around, he wouldn’t have to step in as the primary facilitator right away.

There will be plenty of other teams vying for Jones this summer, but the Wizards should absolutely be one of them. And they should be at the front of the line.

3. Patrick Williams

Obviously, Patrick Williams isn’t a veteran, and the Wizards would have to clear some cap space to steal him away from the Chicago Bulls in restricted free agency, but they should be willing to make the effort.

After trading Deni Avdija to the Portland Trail Blazers, bringing in another 3-and-D power forward could be a smart idea for Washington, especially if they could do it without making a trade. Williams’ defense would take some pressure off of Kyshawn George and create a very intriguing defensive duo with big man Alex Sarr.

Again, though, this would be a very difficult move to pull off, as the Bulls have the right to match any offer.

2. Caleb Martin

If the Miami Heat are willing to offer Caleb Martin their full MLE, then he’ll likely go back, but if they’re not, the Wizards should be willing to dish out some dough to grab him.

Martin is a quality 3-and-D player who steps up in a big way in the brightest moments of the postseason. Obviously, the Wizards probably won’t be there next year, but having a guy ready to roll would be useful.

His defense would take some defensive pressure off of the youngsters, and his three-point shooting (when he’s on) will give Carrington and Sarr easy kick-out options.

(Martin is only above Williams on the board because he’s a much more realistic target.)

1. Kyle Lowry

Calling Kyle Lowry the Wizards’ top target in free agency seems very backward, and he’s almost certainly going back to the Philadelphia 76ers, but he would be a great help to the team’s youngsters.

Lowry is entering the final years of his NBA career and would provide invaluable insight for Washington’s young core while simultaneously providing the team with some decent minutes.

As an NBA Champion and one of the longest-tenured veterans in the league, Lowry would be a huge help in Washington, especially for Carrington.