Before any other decisions are made, the Wizards front office will have to resolve unsigned free agents Dāvis Bertāns and Ian Mahinmi. Hopefully, the team can sign Bertāns on a fair contract and let Mahinmi walk, but fans know better than to expect a best-case scenario — or even a reasonable one.
The first and most likely situation is that Tommy Sheppard offers too large of a contract to Bertāns. If so, the team won’t have much cap room and would look to fill the fourth guard spot with a young guard with much to prove. I doubt the team is sold on Gary Payton II as the backup PG for the future, so in the case the team doesn’t draft a guard, it makes sense to grab another couple players in free agency.
Options here include Bryn Forbes (SAS), known for his lights-out shooting and Shabazz Napier, who played 15 games with the Wizards after the trade deadline before the season ended due to COVID-19 concerns. A slept-on option would be Treveon Graham, a player that hasn’t seen too much time in the NBA but showed at VCU that he could be a strong finisher at the rim with his large frame for a guard.
Another reasonable case would be grabbing a grizzled veteran at the wing spot, as the team’s wings are composed of players on rookie or minimum contracts. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (TOR) is one option — a reliable, athletic, energetic defender is comfortable both coming off the bench or starting.
The outlook changes significantly if the team isn’t able to bring back Bertāns. It depends whether Tommy Sheppard is looking to bring the Wizards to a position of playoff contention one of complacency, waiting for the season after next to make a deep run. In the case of strong contention this coming season, let’s take a look at some of the team’s options.
Some of the most exciting unrestricted free agents out there include Jordan Clarkson (G/UTA), Glenn Robinson III (G/F/PHI), Marcus Morris (F/LAC) and Mo Harkless (F/NYK). If the team is looking for some offense, Clarkson and Morris have each averaged 20 points per game over extended stretches this season. And if the team is looking for more balanced production, Robinson III and Harkless are exciting, young options to help the team’s inexperienced wings.
If the Wizards are looking to take their time, Furkan Korkmaz (G/PHI), Juan Hernangomez (F/MIN) and Josh Jackson (F/MEM) are three players that look primed to take another step up in their career. These players lack name recognition but would fit in nicely with the team’s rotation. They are serious candidates to level up their play, whether it be for their three-point shooting, length and defensive talent or playmaking ability. Each of these players have shown flashes of those attributes, and the right amount of playing time in Washington could be the right step for them to become a real contributor for a playoff run in 2021 and beyond.
Due to the team’s logjam at PF/C, there aren’t many moves I think the team should take in free agency. Re-signing Bertāns would be a great call, and finding a young big in the draft would be fun too (Onyeka Okongwu, anyone?).