Stop me if you heard this before, but the Wizards are focusing on the summer of 2016 as they ponder and makes moves ahead of the 2015-16 season. Washington added three veterans this offseason and re-signed Drew Gooden. All four have contracts expiring after this season. That's no coincidence. This is by design to ensure enough salary cap space remains for Kevin Durant or perhaps other notable free agents.
Again, this isn't breaking news, but rather a reminder. Here's a visual of the current roster and what it would look like following the 15-16 season (contract information from spotrac.com).
Power forward - Nene, Kris Humphries, Drew Gooden
Small forward - Otto Porter, Jared Dudley, Martell Webster, Kelly Oubre Jr.
Center - Marcin Gortat, DeJuan Blair
Wing guard - Bradley Beal, Alan Anderson, Gary Neal
Point guard - John Wall, Ramon Sessions, Garrett Temple
Now here's what the team looks like entering the summer of 2016
Power forward - None
Small forward - Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre Jr.
Center - Marcin Gortat
Wing guard - Bradley Beal
Point guard - John Wall
• This remaining group reminds me of Filet Mignon: Not the biggest piece of steak (i.e. total depth, especially inside), but what's there is awfully tasty, especially if the four perimeter players progress as hoped. Add a healthy Durant and we're talking a divine feast, or in NBA teams, title contender.
• Beal is eligible for an extension this summer. If the two sides don't agree on a deal, he would become a restricted free agent next summer. Either way, expect Beal in a Wizards jersey next season (and likely many more to come).
• The organization holds team options for Porter, Humphries, Gooden, Webster and Blair. Retaining Porter, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, is an obvious no-brainer. Of the other four, only Humphries ($4.6 million) seems like a realistic bet to have his picked up. Never count out Gooden from ultimately sticking around, though he'll be 35 starting the 16-17 season.
(Worth nothing that initial reports in 2014 had the Wizards agreeing to a three-year contract with Humphries with the third year a team option. Spotrac and other NBA salary sites show his 2016-17 salary as guaranteed.)
• Nene, Dudley, Anderson, Neal, Sessions and Temple would all enter free agency. Any or all could return depending on what transpires this upcoming season. Of this group, the versatile Dudley would seemingly be the most attractive piece.
• Not counted in this summary: Tomas Satoransky and Aaron White. Satoransky, a 6-foot-7 point guard selected early in the second round of the 2012 Draft, has remained overseas for the early part of his professional career. If minutes or a specific role played a major factor in his decision, such concerns would be eliminated in this scenario. Satoransky could slot into the third guard role behind Wall and Beal. White, Washington's 2015 second round selection, is expected to the spend the 2015-16 campaign overseas. Considering the bodies under contract, the 6-foot-8 forward will certainly have the opportunity to make the team with improvement.
Obviously, the main prize next summer is Durant. Even if the Oklahoma City Thunder star and D.C. area native passes on playing for his hometown team, Washington can offer others big money, a large role and the opportunity to play with a pass-first point guard in Wall and presumably a knockdown shooter like Beal. All of that combined should put the Wizards in a strong position to attract talent. In the crazy world of NBA free agency, that's the important first step.