Big decisions await Wizards as free agency opens

Big decisions await Wizards as free agency opens
June 30, 2013, 9:00 am
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Work ethic the key to Porter's success

The next step for the Wizards is free agency which opens Monday, and they’ll have decisions to make on Martell Webster, A.J. Price, Garrett Temple and Cartier Martin.

Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins also are free agents who were acquired in a late-season trade but the Wizards won’t make any serious efforts to retrain them. Barbosa never played a game because of knee surgery.

They might not be able to afford Price, who will draw significant interest. The Wizards may not be able to afford Price but they need someone with his abilities. When he was out with a hamstring strain they couldn't execute in the half court without John Wall and Bradley Beal because they lack ball-handlers.

Price averaged 7.7 points and 3.6 assists in 57 games, starting 22 of them when Wall out to start the season with a knee injury. He only made $854,389 

Temple was a D-League signing who was pressed into duty when Beal went down with ankle sprains. Coach Randy Wittman tried to use others at shooting guard, but Temple started 36 of 51 games played because of his ability to distribute, defend and relieve pressure from Wall in the backcourt.  His jump shot improved with the extending playing time, finishing the season with averages of 5.1 points, 2.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds.

It’ll be easier to retain Temple as a free agent because he’ll come at a smaller price tag. He has played on five previous NBA teams since 2009 and had never appeared in more than 27 games in a season.

The Wizards could make him a restricted free agent by extending him a $1.1 million qualifying offer. 

Martin couldn't stay healthy because of a hyper-extended knee. He had a chance to prove himself at the end of the season when the Wizards were wearing thin but Martin’s time was reduced. Martin, a 6-7 small forward, ended with averages of 6.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 41 games. He shot 40% from three-point range, but the guess here is that he won't return. 

Webster averaged career highs of 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 42.2% three-point shooting in 76 games, 62 starts. Webster wants back in, and owner Ted Leonsis said Webster is an off-season priority. It is clear that Webster wants a raise above the $1.6 million he made last season and a multi-year deal that provides him more security. The caveat is his ability to stay healthy. He had two back surgeries before coming to the Wizards and had his season ended prematurely because of an abdominal strain.

Given the Wizards inability to score by averaging an NBA-low 93.2 points, Webster is a lot more affordable than a red-hot free agent such as Kyle Korver who made $5 million with the Atlanta Hawks. And Webster is a much better defender.

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