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Wizards pass-first guard Tomas Satoransky gets his shot at defining his role in free agency

Wizards pass-first guard Tomas Satoransky gets his shot at defining his role in free agency

WASHINGTON -- The future is unclear for Tomas Satoransky.

There is one thing the Czech native knows for sure about his position entering restricted free agency for the first time.

“I’m a point guard. I’m definitely a point guard. I will never be agreeing with someone that tells me otherwise,” Satoransky said. “I know how I feel here.”

The man who played point guard more than any other Wizard this season spoke with NBC Sports Washington Tuesday shortly after conducting his exit interview with the local media. The group chat included Satoransky recapping the Wizards’ frustrating season, finding positives and early thoughts entering free agency after setting career-highs in points (8.9), assists (5.0) and minutes (27.1) per game.

The big picture gossip surrounding Satoransky’s circumstances, including a multi-year contract extension, epitomizes the Wizards’ challenges this off-season.

John Wall’s season-ending heel surgery in January afforded the 6-foot-7 Satoransky the opportunity for a larger role than the expected backup point guard job he’s held the last two seasons.

The scenario, including the lack of another proven “one” on the roster pushed head coach Scott Brooks into providing Satoransky with steady minutes.

“I'm finding him minutes. I don't care who [it affects], I'm finding him minutes,” Brooks said after Satoransky keyed Washington’s Nov. 20 comeback win over the Clippers.

That hasn’t always been the case.

Since Washington’s 2012 second-round selection arrived stateside in 2016, the Wizards deployed several others as Wall’s backup. Twice the team traded second-round picks for a point guard (Trey Burke, Tim Frazier) with Satoransky on the roster. They added free agent Brandon Jennings shortly after the 2017 trade deadline and Ty Lawson hours ahead of the 2018 playoffs.

In most instances, Satoransky appeared to be the best option on the roster or at least the one with the greater potential. Some voices in and around the team are not convinced “Sato” is aggressive enough for full-time lead guard duties especially with creating his own offense.

Brooks fell into the camp at times. He may still.

During a recent interview with NBC Sports Washington, Brooks was asked about the future for rookie Troy Brown Jr., a skilled 6-foot-7 player with the ability to play several positions.

“I think he’s going to have to be a utility basketball player kind of like what Tomas does,” Brooks said. “Tomas does a lot of good things on all different spots on the floor. I think Tomas is that type of player.”

Satoransky, 27, told NBC Sports Washington he recognizes the value in versatility. He’s also in a situation to take a stand on his position.

“I think these three years helped me to adjust how to play shooting guard, the 2-3 position, so that’s OK because it gives you some more versatility,” Satoransky told NBC Sports Washington, ”but I’m a point guard.”

Some league voices covet Satoransky’s efficiency, size and high energy. He will generate interest this summer, even though it seems unlikely another team would build around him as their starting point guard.

Midway through the season league sources gauged a potential free agent market between $7-10 million per year. Projections likely changed a little after he averaged 10.7 points, 6.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 32 minutes in 54 starts while shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers.

“We had Tomas step up in a big way,” Wall said Tuesday.

Washington, now in the hunt for a new general manager after the recent firing of Ernie Grunfeld, checked in with Satoransky’s camp around mid-season to express their respect and interest in a long-term solution.

Not surprisingly, no deal was struck. The Wizards were in crisis mode often during the season and Satoransky presumably was in no rush to re-sign. Even though Washington maintains the right to match any offer sheet he receives, Satoransky's financial position improves with additional suitors.

While the two sides remain focused on a solution, the Wizards' scenario offers near and long-term considerations. 

Washington only has five players under contract for next season including Wall, who underwent surgery on his ruptured left Achilles in February. It might serve the organization best to sign players with its limited salary cap space to short-term deals until Wall recovers. That might not sit with a player having his first shot a lucrative contract.

However, Wall might not return until February if at all next season. In the interim, someone handles starting point guard duties. The obvious candidate is Satoransky, who started 84 games the last two seasons with Wall sidelined.

The Wizards could use their first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft for backcourt help. Washington finished the season with the sixth-best draft lottery odds.

Yet whenever Wall returns, he reclaims the starting gig. Others fill in the gaps. Such a scenario could have Satoransky returning to a nomadic role.

“Obviously, a lot of Wizards fans and people around the Wizards know what my mentality is,” Satoransky told NBC Sports Washington. “They’re always (saying) you have to be more aggressive. I always feel like I have to play on the court to get my teammates better, put my teammates in the best position. It was just the way I was taught to play basketball.”

The reporter wondered aloud if he were perhaps over-thinking Satoransky’s positional situation.

“I don’t know if it’s over-thinking,” Satoransky responded, “but I’m definitely thinking about it right now. Obviously when you’re about to sign a big contract or terms of years, a longer contract, you obviously have to see all the [angles].”

The angle includes Washington retooling after a trying campaign. Satoransky, a popular teammate known for his positivity, sought the silver lining in the trying 32-50 season.

“Even if it was (a) bad season, you were put in a situation that they teach you how to handle them,” Satoransky said Tuesday. “I think we also had good times on the court." 

Great times came away from the game. His wife, Anna, gave birth in February to their heir infant daughter, Sofia. When it comes to finding a home for their family, Washington has pole position there.

“I feel really comfortable here and my family feels comfortable here,” Satoransky said. “I love the city, I love the fan base. … But, there’s also the basketball situation. Have to figure it out.”

Either way, the pass-first point guard is in position to take a shot at securing his basketball future. 

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What would the Rockets have to offer for the Wizards to consider trading Davis Bertans?

What would the Rockets have to offer for the Wizards to consider trading Davis Bertans?

The Rockets are in a difficult position with the NBA Trade Deadline less than two weeks away. 

They've fallen to the sixth seed in the Western Conference, James Harden is in the middle of a terrible shooting slump after carrying Houston's offense for the last three months and the Russell Westbrook experiment hasn't produced the results general manager Daryl Morey was hoping for. 

The West is a bloodbath this year, and outside of Harden and Westbrook, the Rockets don't have any reliable offensive weapons with Eric Gordon posting by far the worst shooting percentage of his career (36 percent). With two stars who don't fit well together and a collection of journeymen veterans filling out the roster, Houston is trying just about anything to upgrade their roster. 

According to Shams Charania, the Rockets are making future draft picks available in trade discussions ahead of the deadline. The Wizards have received a ton of interest regarding Davis Bertans and will have to decide whether to trade him before the deadline or risk losing him for nothing in free agency. Could the Rockets sway Washington towards trade?

Bertans' fit with the Rockets would be seamless. They've struggled with floor spacing while Harden has the ball because nobody respects Westbrook's jumper and Gordon continues to struggle. Bertans would alleviate everything for that offense and become one of Harden's favorite kick-out targets. Bertans currently leads the NBA in catch-and-shoot three-point makes per game (3.2), so just imagine the kind of damage he'd be able to do off of Harden's dribble penetration. 

So the Rockets have plenty of reasons to be interested. The next part would be getting the Wizards to part with the Latvian sharpshooter. According to Chris Mannix, any and all trade inquiries into Bertans have gone nowhere, so the Rockets would probably have to come with their best offer to convince Tommy Sheppard to change his mind. 

Here are a few packages that could work. The Rockets and Wizards need to match salary in any trade. A Bertans-for-picks scenario would not be legal under the current CPA. 

Rockets receive: Davis Bertans

Wizards receive: PJ Tucker, 2021 first-round pick

The Wizards are straddling two different timelines at the moment. They have a number of promising young players and might end up with a top-five pick in this year's draft, but they also have Bradley Beal under contract for at least another season and John Wall returning from Achilles surgery next season. 

This trade would give the rebuilding timeline a first rounder far enough in the future where the Rockets could be in the midst of a tear-down, while giving the win-now timeline an established veteran who can knock down threes and defend at least three positions.

If the Rockets think this is too much, they may want to consider the direction of their franchise past this season. It might be time to go all-in. 

Rockets receive: Davis Bertans

Wizards receive: Danuel House, Ben McLemore, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick

This one would be an alternative if Houston refused to give up Tucker.

If the Rockets acquired Bertans via trade, they'd own his bird rights. This would allow them to re-sign him in the summer without using cap space, which holds significant value to a team like Houston given the fact that Harden and Westbrook will make over $80 million combined for the next two seasons at least. 

It's not certain whether the Wizards would be interested in any of these potential offers or if they even plan to consider talking to teams about Bertans.

Maybe they feel confident in their ability to re-sign Bertans in the summer. There aren't many teams with cap space this year after last year's free-agent spending spree, and the ones that do aren't very good. More money and familiarity could be the way to ensure Bertans stays in DC to play with Wall and Beal. 

What we do know is that there's bound to be more speculation before February 6 and until the clock strikes 3 p.m. on that day, teams will continue to leak information to get the market moving. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Bradley Beal's dominance left Cavaliers fans wondering what could have been

Bradley Beal's dominance left Cavaliers fans wondering what could have been

The Wizards may be 15-29, on pace for fewer wins than last year and sport the worst defense in the league by a wide margin, but Wizards fans can find solace in one simple fact. 

They aren't the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Heat one night before, the Wizards waltzed to their easiest win of the season. Bradley Beal was unguardable, Davis Bertans caught fire from three and Cleveland's top-five pick, Darius Garland had another rough shooting night. 

Suffice to say, Cavs fans weren't feeling great after the game last night. Here are some reactions we felt Wizards fans would want to see. 

Sad fans wanting to jump ship

"Absolutely disgraceful performance. In all my years as a fan of this team, I’ve never seen a group of players so lazy and pathetic. I’m taking my fan-hood to San Antonio where it looks like they know how to run a basketball team," said @FreakySportz

"Why do I continue to watch this team smh," wrote @cmcgoingal98

"PLAYERS DON'T CARE!! THIS GARBAGE IS UNREAL!!" @El_Matador92 screamed through his keyboard

"This is a wasted season... They need to trade [Kevin] Love now. He isn't a difference-maker," said @chanowski_j

What could have been with Bradley Beal

Beal had 36 points and eight assists on 15-22 shooting against the Cavs Thursday night. Nobody on Cleveland's roster could contain him, and after the game, it had Cavs fans wondering what could have been if Beal fell past the Wizards in the 2012 NBA Draft.

"We missed him by one spot in the draft," wrote @Hockey_Wolf

 

"I love Bradley Beal's game," said @The Real_DiO

"Beal 15-22 from the floor. You have to go into the game knowing he's the primary scorer. How many wide-open looks did he get?" wrote @CLESportPrspctv

"Not much you can do when a team is that committed to getting their star open shots. And Beal is great when free to shoot or drive... Wizards just were committed and determined to get him free," said @KirkLOB

Love brings Beal back to life

The best moment of the night came after Beal took a charge in the second half and laid flat on his back once he got hit. Then Love came over and did his best to revive the star shooting guard. 

Naturally, the jokes were flying at the Cavs' expense. 

"Love is so ready to be traded lol," wrote @ife_any

"Someone needs to revive Kevin Love's career," said @JRaviloi

"Should've left him for dead. Did you see what he did to us last night?" wrote @Belasic_Mark

"Highlight of the night," said @MomOnWarpath

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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