Free agency opens in less than 24 hours, and the Wizards don't have a lot of wiggle room. Aside from the bi-annual and mid-level exceptions, they also have a pair of trade exceptions. The one they gained in the deal with the Houston Rockets for Trevor Ariza and in the deal that sent Andre Miller to the Sacramento Kings four months ago.
The traded player exception can be packaged in a deal to help a team acquire a player without giving up one so they have value. They expire in one year which means the Ariza exception, which is about $2 million, is on the clock.
The status of the Wizards' unrestricted free agents, in order of importance, and how it'll be impacted by the decision from No. 1:
- Paul Pierce: Yes, the small forward has opted out the second year of his deal but the Wizards expect him to return. Pierce's other landing spot is the L.A. Clippers because of his hometown and affinity for coach Doc Rivers, but their lack of cap space and possibly losing DeAndre Jordan agency lessens their chances. By default, the Wizards' chances skyrocket and can have him play ahead or behind Otto Porter and allowing first-round pick Kelly Oubre acclimate to the pros or sent to the D-League. If Pierce returns, that means the Wizards probably will fill the bi-annual exception with a guard.
- Drew Gooden: The power forward's three-point shooting puts him on the short list of priorities. Pierce's return impacts this somewhat, but Gooden still is 6-10 on a roster that will lose some size. Gooden's versatility guarantees him an NBA home. Gooden would like to stay.
- Rasual Butler: Reached by CSNwashington.com last week, the 6-7 small forward believed no matter where he ends up that he won't have to go to training camp again to earn a contract which is what he did last year. Butler had positive feedback in his exit interviews, he said, with coach Randy Wittman and the front office. However, Pierce's return would almost eliminate the 36-year-old coming back. They'd likely go younger.
- Kevin Seraphin: This one is pretty quick and easy. Seraphin is gone, as he outlined after they lost Game 6 to the Atlanta Hawks in a one-on-one with CSN.
- Will Bynum: He did his job, draining clutch foul shots down the stretch of Game 3 vs. Atlanta for a victory. Bynum, however, appears to lack ability to stretch the floor with his shot which is what the Wizards ideally get in a guard. On the flip side, if Bynum is the best option available given the way he plays with pace and energy, that's not a bad thing, either.