The Washington Wizards have made re-signing forward Davis Bertans their No. 1 offseason goal, but if they can't pull it off, they may have another option instead of letting him go outright.
Multiple teams without the cap room to sign Bertans are preparing to make sign-and-trade offers in free agency, NBC Sports Washington has learned. That is in addition to the teams that have the cap room to fit his salary without a trade.
The teams were not specified, though one source said there are two Eastern Conference teams and one from the West who are interested in sign-and-trade scenarios involving Bertans. That is along with at least three teams - the Hawks, Knicks and Suns included - expected to target Bertans early in free agency using their cap room, as NBC Sports Washington previously reported.
Though the teams looking at a sign-and-trade are not known, the dots could possibly be connected to those who were interested in Bertans before the trade deadline. That list included the Celtics, Lakers and Nuggets.
The Wizards aren't currently looking beyond their own hopes to re-sign Bertans, whom they kept at the trade deadline knowing they would have to make a competitive offer in the offseason to keep him. Just last week, general manager Tommy Sheppard told 106.7 The Fan: "Hopefully we re-sign Davis. That's our aim and that's been our intention this entire time."
The Wizards will get the first meeting with Bertans and the first shot at signing him, NBC Sports Washington was told. They have his Bird Rights, which means they can exceed the salary cap with his contract. The fact he would be an ideal fit alongside point guard John Wall, who needs a strong supporting cast coming off his ruptured Achilles injury, may add incentive.
Sign-and-trades are also relatively rare. The most famous recent case happened last offseason when the Miami Heat acquired Jimmy Butler from the Philadelphia 76ers. It ended up being a four-team deal and Philly got Josh Richardson back in exchange.
There are reasons why we don't see sign-and-trades often. Much of it has to do with the collective bargaining agreement which has a long list of rules involving such trades.
For example, the player has to sign a contract of at least three years in length, they can't go to a team above the luxury tax apron or that has used its taxpayer mid-level exception. The tax apron then becomes a hard cap for the rest of the season for the receiving team. (via Larry Coon's CBA FAQ)
The Wizards in some ways made their bet with Bertans at the February trade deadline. They knew he would be highly sought after and that he would be an unrestricted free agent. Soon, when free agency begins later this month, Sheppard will aim to close the deal.
But if he can't, they can explore this option rather than let Bertans go for nothing.