Davis Bertans had 80 million reasons to stay with the Washington Wizards in free agency, but there was also a lot he liked about the long-term basketball fit which factored into his decision.
As Bertans weighed his basketball future, he was intrigued by a partnership with five-time All-Star point guard John Wall. Wall is one of the best passers of his generation and Bertans is among the best catch-and-shoot players in the game.
The two could form a symbiotic relationship on the floor. Wall will help Bertans get open shots and shoot them in rhythm, while Bertans will help Wall get more assists and add more spacing, which could be important as he returns from rehabbing a ruptured Achilles tendon.
"Having John on the court is going to make my percentages go up," Bertans said.
That suggests Bertans could be an even better shooter than he was last season for the Wizards when he knocked down 42.4 percent from long range on 8.7 attempts per game. He made 200 threes in only 54 games and would have shattered Bradley Beal's single-season franchise record of 233 three-pointers if the NBA season wasn't cut short due to the coronavirus. He may have set a new mark if he didn't opt out of the team's final eight games in the bubble restart.
As long as Wall isn't traded, and that's a question at this point, Bertans feels he can make even more threes with Wall setting him up.
"His ability to get down in the lane and kick out to open shooters is something not a lot of players have," Bertans said.
Bertans said he's "excited" to play with Wall after watching film of him in the 2017 playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. They also shared the court briefly last year once Wall returned to practice right before the season shut down in March.
Bertans was impressed with how unselfish Wall played in scrimmages.
"To see a leader on the team do that and help the team means it's more than words," Bertans said.
There were also words that stood out, however. Bertans heard from other teammates how impressed Wall was watching him play this past season and that stuck with him many months later as he weighed the potential fit in Washington.
"I heard that last season he said to some guys on the bench 'we've gotta re-sign this guy' during one of the games," Bertans said.
Bertans also said some things in his post-free agency press conference on Tuesday that Wall will appreciate, about wanting to finish what he's started in Washington. Wall is a big proponent of loyalty in the NBA and not joining other teams to chase championships.
Bertans described his own mindset in that regard and it sounded very similar to what Wall has said in the past.
"Maybe some teams are in better position to win the championship, but I'll be more happy to be part of a team that is growing together and hopefully maybe have a chance to win a title. Even if it's down the stretch, in 15 years, and if I'm part of the first steps towards a championship, I'll be happy with that," Bertans said.
With Bertans, the Wizards feel they are one step closer.