Now that we're removed from the intense portion of the NBA offseason, there is time for reflection on what the Washington Wizards accomplished and a chance to look at the road ahead. For the next couple of weeks, CSNwashington.com Insider J. Michael and Wizards correspondent Ben Standig will examine various issues and answer questions as the Wizards move toward the 2015-16 campaign.
Surprised about Kevin Seraphin not getting more interest in free agency?
J. Michael: Yes. Over the last few years I’d had several team front offices ask me about him, and given the lack of quality scoring centers in the game, Seraphin’s potential and the salary cap jumping by $20 million it seemed as if he’d get at least $7 million-$8 million per year. He ended up signing for $2.8 million in a one-year deal with the Knicks.
This means one of two things: Seraphin had offers early in the process but held out because he thought he was worth more and the money/roster spots dried up or teams just weren’t that into him.
Who’s more accomplished in the NBA, Aron Baynes (three years, $20 million from the Detroit Pistons) or Seraphin? Every year, there’s an odd man out in a free agency. The good news for Seraphin is when the cap jumps even higher, above $100 million, next summer and he could be in position to cash in then to make up for the short money in 2015-16. But he needs to show progress in New York. In his final season in Washington, he was in better shape and clearly more focused (lost 20 pounds going into camp) thanks to the tough love he got from coach Randy Wittman. He has something to build on.
Ben Standig: Definitely. Look, for all of Seraphin's flaws - defensive rebounding, tunnel vision shooter with ball in his hands - his offensive game is rather impressive especially when compared to other second-unit big men. Based on conversations I had with league sources during the season, it seemed likely that Serpahin would receive a healthy offer. So, what happened?
Timing is crucial for the non-top tier free agents. Whether his representatives thought more offers would pop up or not, they may have waited too long. It became clear the market turned when Bismack Biyombo "only" landed a two-year, $6 million contract from Toronto.
Here's another factor: We're now in the small ball era. Big men remain important and some certainly received fat contracts. However, even just a modest financial change in roster allocation by a few teams could limit opportunity. Washington went with one fewer true interior option this year compared to last season's roster.
Anyway, as J. Michael noted above, Seraphin can add to his wallet next summer when the salary cap jumps up. Whether he'll find enough minutes in a frontcourt with Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez, Kyle O'Quinn, Krystaps Porzingis and Derrick Williams is the question. Either way, working on those flaws makes sense in a dollars and cents kind of way.