For the first quarter of the Wizards’ season, Davis Bertans has been one of the high points. He began games sitting on the bench, but has quickly become a fan favorite, is second on the Wizards with 15.4 points per game this season and is shooting 45.6 percent from three on 8.5 attempts per game.
So when it comes to the team’s offseason moves, he ranks at the top.
And according to Bertans’ longtime agent, Arturs Kalnitis, the appreciation is mutual.
"Tommy [Sheppard] has done an incredible job of putting together this staff, team, and the players feel super cared about. It's been an all-around great experience," Kalnitis said in a phone interview last week. "After Davis' first two weeks with the team, he called me and said, 'This is great.'
"Davis is super confident in Washington and this situation really allows him to showcase his abilities. If he stays in D.C. next season they'll have an even more interesting dynamic with John [Wall] healthy. Davis truly believes they can be a force in the East so I'm sure that will be a strong point for him," Kalnitis added. "Winning is important."
Shortly after the interview, Sheppard, on a Wizards’ team podcast, said Bertans was in his plans for the future. “We have every intention of retaining him,” he said. “He's the exact type of player we want to have in our organization.”
Among the reasons to want him with the Wizards: his shooting. While Bertans’ shooting may be a pleasant surprise for Wizards fans, Kalnitis expected it.
Kalnitis has been representing Bertans for the past 11 years. He's the man who facilitated Bertans' first contract in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
"Him shooting at this clip isn't a surprise to me whatsoever," Kalnitis said. "When Davis was 12 or 13 years old he had a game in which he shot 12-for-12 from 3-point range. He's an incredible basketball player."
Though Sheppard seems invested in Bertans at least for now, the future is a little murkier. While Bertans is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Washington holds his Bird Rights -- the ability to exceed its salary cap in order to re-sign him at any amount up to the maximum salary.
"This will be an interesting summer for Davis as many teams are high on him," Kalnitis said. "Every team needs players like him to win a championship."
So while he may remain a Wizard at the trade deadline, his offseason plans depend a lot on just how much Washington is willing to put up to keep him - and what market they’ll be competing against.
However, one thing's for certain: Bertans is going to continue to take advantage of the role he's playing in Washington.
"Knowing him, he's not thinking about any of that right now -- he's trying to be the best Wizard he can be. It's all about winning."
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