The signing of Alan Anderson, a 6-6 small forward who has spent six years in the NBA and four years abroad professionally, solidifies the Wizards' game plan going into the 2015-16 season: They wanted to accrue as much depth as possible to contend with LeBron James in the Eastern Conference.
The Wizards, CSNwashington.com confirmed from a person with knowledge of the situation, are signing him to a partial mid-level deal for one year at $4 million. Anderson, who will be 33, is a physical defender who averaged seven points in his last two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets and shoots in the mid-30s from three-point range. The Wizards already have Otto Porter (6-8), drafted Kelly Oubre (6-7), acquire Jared Dudley (6-7) when free agency opened last week and now Anderson.
As CSNwashington.com reported Sunday, the Wizards were intent on loading up on wing players to contend with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the Eastern Conference last season. The Golden State Warriors, who beat them in the finals, had success by throwing multiple wing defenders at him: Andre Igoudala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green. All three also had three-point range and wore down James who was rarely as good in fourth quarters.
The Wizards now have 14 players under contract and $1.5 million remaining from their mid-level exception that they can apply to another player. Drew Gooden, who has played the last two seasons with the Wizards, could complete the 15-man roster or it would be left open.
Last season, the Wizards kept open 15th spot for flexibility going into training camp and as late as the trade deadline in February. But going with Anderson instead of Gooden shows that he was more of a priority -- because of his ability to defend the wing -- over a 6-10 power forward such as Gooden who also had three-point range.
And, of course, Anderson's deal doesn't tie up money for the summer of 2016 when the Wizards plan an all-out strategy to go after Kevin Durant and reconstruct the roster around him.