When free agency opens, the bigger names or priorities for teams get taken care of first before working their way down the list. For the Wizards, once they settle on a "stretch" power forward and likely a shooting guard to fill out their roster, they'll turn to the rest of the supporting cast. Of their four remaining unrestricted free agents, now that Paul Pierce has exited, Drew Gooden appears to be most likely to return, a person with knowledge of the situation told CSNwashington.com.
Gooden has the size (6-10) and three-point shooting that's needed off the bench with the second unit. Where he'll slot, ahead or behind Kris Humphries who is more of a mid-range shooter, probably will depend on the opponent. But one area where the Wizards had to improve after a 46-win season is getting younger legs so they won't wilt late in an 82-game season. Without Pierce, who'll be 38 and plays some of that "stretch" power forward role, bringing back Gooden is an affordable and logical choice.
Gooden has played the last two seasons in Washington on one-year deals at the veteran minimum of $1.4 million and likely will receive a similar deal.
As Pierce's departure proved, however, the tide can shift quickly if another team intervenes offering more than the Wizards have under the salary cap. Gooden will be 34 and older vets are usually willing to take less money if it means more security.
Gooden shot 39% from three-point range in the regular season but jumped to 46.2% in 10 playoff games.
The other unrestricted free agents for the Wizards: Rasual Butler, Kevin Seraphin and Will Bynum.