By any stretch of the imagination, what coach Dave Joerger did with the Memphis Grizzlies was nothing short of remarkable despite the first-round exit in a sweep to the San Antonio Spurs. He led his team to a winning record (42-40) despite having a revolving door of a roster decimated by injuries (28 different players).
That said, the Grizzlies are in need of a roster makeover after failing to get back to the conference finals after advancing there in 2013. The organization made its first move in that direction Saturday by firing Joerger.
The Wizards will go into the offseason with as many as nine spots open. Their goals are to get younger, more explosive and identify a few two-way players in the process to improve their 21st scoring defense. Adding players indiscriminately isn't an option because of the cap. The big fish (meaning, big-name free agents) will get signed first. Assuming the Wizards land one, even if it's not named Kevin Durant, they'll construct the roster with the remaining money with as many as eight other spots open. More than likely they'll retain 2-4 of their own free agents which will cut that number of open slots from 5-7.
They'll need a solid backup for Marcin Gortat at center, a true scorer behind Bradley Beal and a backup point guard for John Wall.
These are the Grizzlies’ best free agents available, in order of best fit. (And yes, Mike Conley is a free agent but he’s not going to be a backup and the Wizards aren’t to offer a point guard like him starter’s money to be one so he’s not listed):
Matt Barnes: A spot starter at small forward and known for his fiery temperament, Barnes can average double figures in less than 30 minutes a game. He made $3.5 million and is unrestricted but unless the Wizards believe they need another body at that spot with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre adequately equipped to do the job, signing this 36-year-old wouldn’t make much sense. But Barnes does have a mean streak (sometimes to his own team’s detriment) that they can definitely use more of.
Chris Andersen: At 37 and an injury-riddled season, he shouldn’t get anywhere near the $5 million he made. Anderson is a hustle player who makes his living doing the dirty work, but that type of player can be found at the minimum and much younger. The Wizards would do better moving to retain J.J. Hickson if that were the case.
Lance Stephenson: A volatile personality, he’s coming off a deal that paid him $9 million. Stephenson mistakenly turned down a more lucrative deal from the Pacers two years ago anticipating he’d be worth more. He’s probably looking at not a penny more this summer as he was a backup for the Clippers and Grizzlies. His shooting has improved, a career-high 38.5% from three-point range. His decision-making remains in question, still unable to vibe with teammates on the court. Stephenson has the capability to be a starter though he’s a shoot-first guard. Too much of a risk
P.J. Hairston: A locker room problem at the time, the Hornets were eager to move him and did so. Hairston only made $1.2 million, is a good defender and has good size at 6-6 and can slot as a shooting guard and small forward. He averaged 6.2 points but still isn’t a good shooter from range.