Wizards

Wizards

When NBA free agency opens at 6 p.m. Sunday, for the Wizards, the range of best and worst case scenarios may be smaller than for others. They have little money to spend on external options and will mostly be focused on retaining their own.

Compare them to the Celtics, and the Wizards are likely to have a much calmer free agent period. But still, there are very different ways this thing can go for Washington...

Best-case scenario: The Wizards are going into free agency hoping to first retain Thomas Bryant and Tomas Satoransky. Those are their two biggest priorities and both will be restricted free agents, meaning the Wizards can match the best offer made by another team.

Any best-case scenario for the Wizards would involve bringing them back and ideally for a cheap price. Maybe Satoransky flounders in a loaded point guard market and his annual salary comes in around $8 million. That would be great for the Wizards.

Maybe teams are unwilling to give Bryant big money because he only has one full season of playing time under his belt. Perhaps Washington can get him locked up at a reasonable price on a multi-year contract, one he would be likely to exceed if he continues to develop.

Getting those guys on bargain contracts could allow them to then re-sign Bobby Portis or Jabari Parker, the next two players on their priority list. Portis is probably going to price himself out of Washington, but maybe Parker's number drops to $10 million and the Wizards can justify it.

 

If the Wizards could somehow fit some combination of those guys into the $29 million of room they have under the luxury tax threshold, they could then use one of their exceptions to add another veteran. At that point, a back-up guard would make the most sense.

Worst-case scenario: The Wizards know all too well what it's like to be at the whim of restricted free agency. In 2017, they were backed into a corner by the offer sheet Brooklyn gave Otto Porter Jr. 

They signed him to a max contract and, though he is a good player, he didn't then develop into an All-Star like John Wall and Bradley Beal did before him. His contract became prohibitive, and in combination with other factors, it forced them to trade him.

Bryant and Satoransky won't command max contracts, but they could conceivably field large offers in a summer where many teams have cap room. Bryant, in particular, could get a contract that far exceeds his current worth, if a team sees reason to bet on his future.

Satoransky is going to have to navigate a loaded class of point guards, so it's not crazy to think his price could drop. With Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving headlining the group, Satoransky is probably no better than the seventh-best point guard available and that's with Darren Collison's surprising retirement. 

Still, there will be significant interest and if his price reaches or exceeds $10 million per season, it will be tough for the Wizards to meet his demands.

A worst-case scenario would feature Satoransky, Bryant and Portis all getting offers the Wizards can't justify matching. Then, they would have to scramble to find replacements in a summer in which seemingly everyone has cap room but them.

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