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Open court: Do any Raptors free agents fit Wizards?

Open court: Do any Raptors free agents fit Wizards?

After a franchise-record 56 wins in the regular season and advancing to the conference finals for the first time, the Toronto Raptors’ season was a major success despite bowing out to the heavily favored Cleveland Cavaliers in six games.

The Wizards will go into the offseason with as many as nine spots open. Their goals are to get younger without sacrificing experience (like Portland), 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.

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These are the Raptors’ best free agents available, in order of best fit:

Bismack Biyombo: He blew up in the playoffs, and he certainly will decline his $3 million player option for  next season. In a league where going small is emphasized over size, Biyombo is both. He's 6-9 and is strong enough to play center (listed as a power forward) and has elite shot-blocking ability to protect the rim and he's agile enough to switch out onto guards on pick-and-rolls. Biyombo's value, as a result, has skyrocketed despite not being much of an offensive threat outside of garbage putbacks. He'll cost $15 million to $17 million, one front office exec told CSNmidatlantic.com. That'll price him out of D.C. as long as Gortat ($12 million per) remains. A big with Biyombo's skill set as a backup at center, however, is ideal. 

James Johnson: An energy guy, he's a 6-9 career backup at forward. Johnson isn't know as a shooter but was a Toronto fan favorite. He made 37 starts but was hot and cold. Johnson earned $2.5 million, has experience but isn't old (29) and could be an option to fill out a bench. The Wizards were terrible when it came to 50/50 balls and hustle plays. With averages of 5.0 points and 2.2 rebounds, Johnson wouldn't cost as much as some of the options that follow. 

DeMar DeRozan: The 6-5 scorer will decline his player option for $10.1 million but it appears he'll likely remain in Toronto when he renegotiates his deal. He manufactures his offense from the foul line in a way that Beal could only hope and he stays healthier, but in every other category -- particularly when it comes to playoff performance on the road -- Beal has the edge. Wall is a better three-point shooter than DeRozan. In the unlikelihood that Beal and Wizards can't come to terms during his restricted free agency, DeRozan is a solid Plan B. But it won't come to this anyway.  

Luis Scola: The power forward, an unrestricted free agent, was the weak link in an otherwise strong starting five. Scola, 36, saw his time dwindle in the postseason. He's a good bench option if size is needed. Despite his age he started in all 76 games in which he played. Scola was like a fish out of water in the playoffs (25.8% shooting) and lacks three-point range which is what the Wizards need in a four off the bench.

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5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

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Associated Press

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

The Washington Wizards signed point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day free agent contract on Thursday. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player...

**Sessions has played for Washington before. He was acquired by the Wizards at the trade deadline in 2015 and played out the 2014-15 season, appearing in 28 regular season games and 10 more in the playoffs. Sessions then spent the whole 2015-16 season with the team before leaving the following summer to sign a free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets. In 1 1/2 seasons with the Wizards, Sessions averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He shot 46 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three.

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**Sessions played one season for the Hornets and spent part of this year with the New York Knicks. The Knicks waived Sessions on Jan. 13. Over the past two seasons in Charlotte and New York, Sessions has averaged 5.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 37 percent.

**This is Sessions' 11th NBA season. In addition to the Wizards, Hornets and Knicks, he has spent time with the Bucks, Cavs, Lakers and Kings. He began his career in Milwaukee after getting selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.

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**Sessions went to the University of Nevada from 2004 through 2007 and left an impressive legacy as one of the best players in the program's history. The school's practice facility is, in fact, named after Sessions. It is called the 'Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center' and Sessions donated $1 million towards construction costs.

**Sessions overlapped with former Wizards player JaVale McGee at Nevada. Sessions was in his final season as a junior when McGee was a freshman. The Wolfpack were quite good that year. They peaked at No. 10 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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Remember Ramon Sessions? Wizards bring back familiar face, sources confirm

Remember Ramon Sessions? Wizards bring back familiar face, sources confirm

For the Wizards, with a tough stretch coming and with John Wall still sidelined, depth and health is of the utmost importance.

With the team set to begin the second half of the 2018 NBA season on Thursday night against the Cavaliers, Scott Brooks and company decided to make a move to shore up their backcourt depth, a commodity the team cannot have enough of.

Veteran guard Ramon Sessions, who spent the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons in Washington, D.C., has been signed by the Wizards to a ten-day contract, NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller confirms.

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The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN . Sessions played in 110 games for the Wizards over the course of his two seasons, playing in all 82 games during the 2015-16 season.

He joins the Wizards again having been waived by the New York Knicks on Jan. 13. Sessions averaged 12.8 mpg in 13 games for the Knicks.

Sessions is rejoining a former team for the third time in his career, having played in Milwaukee and Charlotte on two separate occasions.