With the Wizards looking toward 2015-16, they'll have to address core roster issues while moving forward. This isn't to speculate on whom the replacements might be -- because with the draft next month and free agency in July it's too early to tell -- but assess the likelihood of where they'll be heading and the reasons:
Stretch 4: Ideally, instead of having Paul Pierce (if he returns) log time here or depend on Kris Humphries to develop a three-point shot for the firs time in his career, the Wizards could find a quality starter who can do both. The Wizards have the No. 19 pick in the draft and it's very unlikely that player will be starting quality his first day in the league. My best guess: The more likely path to finding a power forward with three-point range will be through free agency.
Martell Webster: His production has declined and moving his contract, with as many as two guaranteed years on it (the final one is a partial guarantee), will be problematic. Webster earns a little more than $5 million per season and appeared in just 32 games, sitting out until January because of offseason back surgery, which was his least in any full season of his 10-year career. If his contract was expiring it would be easier. The best-case scenario here is for Webster to suddenly return close to the form from two seasons again which resulted in his current deal or show positive signs in actual games to make him a more valuable trade chip. Otherwise there isn't any wiggle room. My best guess: Webster spends the entire season here.
Nene: First, he's getting a lot of grief for what happened in Game 5 vs. the Atlanta Hawks, when Al Horford stormed in to steal the offensive rebound out of his hands for the winning putback. Nene sealed Paul Millsap, who'd gotten free from Paul Pierce and a free run at the basket, and no one picked up Horford for him. Be that as it may, Nene didn't have a good playoff showing after the first two games in a first-round series with the Toronto Raptors in which he averaged 11 rebounds. He is due $13 million. Expiring deals are good, particularly by February when a receiving team isn't responsible for the full amount. A lot of playoff-bound teams that are missing that one piece, especially if it's a big man due to injury, could suddenly be put in the market. My best guess: If the Wizards lose Kevin Seraphin (they will) and free agent Drew Gooden they'll be really thin in the post. Coach Randy Wittman already has said Nene playing center behind Marcin Gortat is what he's considering doing more of next season. If that's the case, Nene doesn't go anywhere because he'd be a solid No. 2 there and can stretch the floor about 18 feet with his jumper. Nene gets his time restricted as a backup and gives the Wizards a different look behind Gortat. If a deal comes up that's too good to pass up, of course, that's another matter but the Wizards won't get rid of him just to get rid of him.
DeJuan Blair: Based on how the Wizards want to play next season -- even faster, according to Wittman -- it's difficult to see how the little-used center fits. The Wizards wanted to add low-post depth because of the problems they had the previous year with injuries to Nene and Seraphin late in the season so they went heavy on bigs. Blair played a career-low 29 games and was inactive for the entire postseason. That shows where he ranked in the pecking order. My best guess: The Wizards will make a serious attempt to move him.