After re-signing center Marcin Gortat to a five-year deal worth $60 million, the Washington Wizards have turned their focus towards bringing free agent small forward Trevor Ariza back. However, some other free agents on the market may catch the eyes of the Wizards as well.
Due to the re-signing of Gortat, the Wizards currently have a 2014-2015 payroll of $60,598,922. This means they have roughly $2.5 million dollars to spend before going over the NBA cap maximum of $63,200,000. However, the Wizards can still choose to go over the cap maximum in order to sign Trevor Ariza. They would just incur penalties. As long as they do not go over the luxury tax of $77,000,000 like the Brooklyn Nets then they will not spend too much money.
It would be smart for the Wizards to sign a backup shooting guard to help fill up the scoring column when Bradley Beal takes a rest. Below are some potential free-agent targets that would fit in well with the Wizards’ lineup:
1. Rodney Stuckey(SG)
This 6-foot-5, 205-pound guard could be a dependent scorer off of the bench for the Wizards. Stuckey, a 7-year veteran never quite became a dominate scorer in the league but has developed into one of the most dependable scorers off of the bench in the NBA. Stuckey averaged 13.9 points for the Detroit Pistons last season before entering free agency. Stuckey made $8.5 million last year, so his salary could push the Wizards over the salary cap maximum.
2. Chris Douglas-Roberts(SG)
Douglas-Roberts,27, averaged just 6.9 points for the Charlotte Bobcats last year but his length and improved shooting ability cannot go unnoticed. Douglas-Roberts is 6-foot-7 , which allows him to be a threat on the defensive end. He also shot 38.6% from three-point range during the regular season and 50% during a 2014 playoff series against the Miami Heat. Douglas-Roberts would give the Wizards a nice boost if they brought him on board. His salary in 2014 was only $678,208. Therefore, the Wizards could pick him up and still have cap room for another solid free agent.
3. Nick Young(SF)
That’s right. Bring “Swaggy P” back to DC! Nick Young began his career with the Wizards but after he started to emerge as a leader for the ball club in the 2010-2011 season, he was moved to the Los Angeles Clippers. He had brief stints with the Wizards again and then the Philadelphia 76ers. Last year, Young revitalized his career by averaging a career-high 17.9 points off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers. Now 29 years old, Young is a free agent and at the height of his career. So…why not sign him Washington? Clearly Young can come off the bench and do just fine. Young made just over $1.1 million last year, which makes him a highly affordable player.
4. Trevor Ariza(SF)
Last but certainly not least is Trevor Ariza. In fact, if the Wizards don’t grab a new player, then they at least need to re-sign Ariza. This 29-year-old was terrific for the Wizards last season. He averaged 14.4 points and a career-high 6.2 rebounds in the 2013-2014 season. Ariza also shot a career-high 40.7% from three-point distance last year and was fourth among small forwards in steals with 1.64 steals per contest. The point is he is steadily improving. If it ain’t broke,then don’t fix it. Simple as it gets. Ariza made $7.7 million last season, so he might get a contract in the $8-9 million range if the Wizards choose to re-sign him.
The Wizards’ best bet is to re-sign Ariza. He will put them over the cap maximum but at least the Wizards know they are getting one of the best two-way players in the league back on their side. On the other hand, the Wizards have to weigh their options and guys like Douglas-Roberts, Stuckey and Young A.K.A. “Swaggy P” would be nice acquisitions for a franchise looking to continue to stay on the right path.
*Figures from www.spotrac.com contributed to this report.