Instead of the usual five takeaways from a game that has no significance other than whether or not the Wizards could avoid a losing record -- they did with a 109-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in the regular-season finale Wednesday -- there was ample discussion before tip off about having too many players on one-year deals.
Ramon Sessions (22 points) led Washington (41-41) over Atlanta (48-34) to even the season series at 2. It was the Hawks who ended the Wizards' season last year, except it was in Game 6 of the East semifinals at Verizon Center. Nene (19 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) had his best statistical game of the season and exited to a standing ovation.
John Wall brought up who he'd like to back in uniform for the 2016-17 season. Who are the three? And who else has a shot to return? I take a look:
Drew Gooden: Technically he has a contract for next season but it's a team option to meet CBA requirements when he signed the deal last summer under Early Bird Rights. Gooden will be 35. The guess here is the Wizards will go younger and move on. Gooden told CSNmidatlantic.com earlier in the day that he wasn't retiring.
Alan Anderson: A second left ankle surgery in October and a return that kept getting pushed back until after the All-Star break ruined what could've been. Anderson will be 34. Can the Wizards afford to take a risk on him again? He'll be 34 in October. The guess here is no though until this season health has never been an issue with him. He wants back in. Wall wants him back.
Garrett Temple: He was given a chance to become an NBA player because of coach Randy Wittman, who respected his defense-first mentality (Wizards were a top 10 scoring D the previous three seasons), work ethic and penchant for being an occasional three-point shooter and ball-handler in a pinch. Wall gave his endorsement for Temple's return and he comes relatively inexpensive. The guess here is he'll be in uniform here again.
Ramon Sessions: When Andre Miller was no longer getting it done, the Wizards flipped him from a score-first, change-of-pace point guard on a great contract and it also gave them a bigger trade exception. Sessions should get a healthy raise as a backup point guard/scorer from $2.1 million he has made in each of the last two seasons. He'll get offers. The guess here is walks unless he gets a sizable raise with the salary cap going up.
Jared Dudley: He's open to coming back as long as Wittman isn't the coach. But at this point in his career, Dudley wants to make the most money possible. That means he wants security, meaning years. Though he was the other player Wall said he wanted back, the guess here is Dudley walks.
Nene: The Wizards became a serious team that made two playoff runs because of the Brazilian. This never would've happened with JaVale McGee, who was shipped to the Nuggets for Nene. He made $13 million in the final year of his deal and won't command anywhere near that in the open market but a championship level team that needs a big who can play solid 40-45 games a year can use him at a discount. if Nene wants to play, he'll find a home for something around the veteran mid-level and possibly a ring. The guess here is he walks regardless.
Jarell Eddie: He's played on a minimum salary and could've had a better season had he been used a bit more. But Eddie has made the most of the time he has had and has NBA three-point range, something that's not always a given with a player who lights it up in the D-League. The guess here is the Wizards try to keep him, but Eddie will have other options.
Marcus Thornton and J.J. Hickson: Both were brought on board late to help an injury-plagued roster. Thornton was signed after Gary Neal, who had to have surgery to repair torn cartilage in his hip, was released and Bradley Beal was still out injured. It's difficult to assess exactly where they stands given his little time here but instant offense and a hustle player who can be effective without the ball always are needed in the NBA. The guess here is both go elsewhere.
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