With the Wizards now knowing for certain that Paul Pierce will opt out of the second year of his contract, they'll proceed as if he's not returning and secure a replacement (It may be a longshot but he still could re-sign here and get 120% of last season's $5.5 million salary).
They don't have any room under the salary cap so free agents such as DeMarre Carroll or Khris Middleton, blossoming, younger small forwards on the market who are in line for career paydays, are out of the question. The Wizards would have to acquire players of that caliber through a sign-and-trade but don't have the assets to facilitate such a deal.
They have to make it work with two salary-cap exceptions at their disposal: Mid-level of just more than $5 million (used to sign Pierce) and the bi-annual exception of just more than $2 million (used two seasons ago to sign Eric Maynor).
Option: 1: Trust that Otto Porter, who has yet to prove over the course of an 82-game season that he's ready to be a 30-plus minutes a game starter, is up for the job. Porter played spectacularly at times during the postseason behind Pierce but is that enough proof? Plenty of players have had short bursts but couldn't sustain it long-term. Based on the preliminary thinking about small forward Kelly Oubre, who was taken in the first round of Thursday's draft when the Wizards traded for the No. 15 pick, he's not ready to be Porter's backup. That means the Wizards would have to use an exception (ideally the bi-annual here) or find a player at the veteran minimum. Rasual Butler told CSNwashington.com last week that he still was in the mix to return. He played for the minimum which was $1.4 million last season. Others that can be had for the minimum who are available: Tayshaun Prince, Richard Jefferson, Omri Casspi, Luke Babbitt or Francisco Garcia.
Option 2: Keep Porter as the primary backup and Oubre stays the No. 3 player in the rotation and gets only spot minutes while he develops. Use the mid-level exception for a veteran as the starter such as Mike Dunleavy, Corey Brewer or Jared Dudley. Each has been a spot starter and the mid-level deal would be a raise above what they earned last season. Porter still would get 25 minutes a game here and the roles could be flipped at any point if Porter emerges as the best choice.
Option 3: Use both on guards since there's not much ball-handling after Ramon Sessions off the bench. C.J. Watson, who the Wizards courted in 2013 and made an offer to (he declined) before going to Maynor, is available. Jeremy Lin will take a massive pay cut now that he's unrestricted, though he might demand the mid-level. Donald Sloan had a career season for the Indiana Pacers. Watson made the bi-annual rate last season but Sloan would be getting a raise. Since Sessions isn't a good shooter, someone who can do just that would be ideal. If the Wizards use these exceptions on two quality guards who can shoot, they'll be smaller but offensively more versatile though lack size at small forward. A guard also could play his way onto the 15-man roster though summer league (Dez Wells or Roddy Beaubois) which probably would be a minimum salary.