Throughout the NBA playoffs, we will highlight a new 2013 free agent playing on that given day while projecting a possible fit with the Wizards. Washington currently does not have significant salary cap space for any big-ticket items, but six players on the current roster will hit the open market this summer including Martell Webster, A.J. Price, Garrett Temple and Cartier Martin. Others still on the roster are potential trade candidates. Obviously re-signing some or all of the aforementioned free agents is an option, but those pieces won't solve all their needs. The Wizards have three draft picks, including a first round selection, but whatever positives rookies might bring will not include NBA experience. That's why we want to know these free agents a little better...
Free agent: Marco Belinelli, SG, Chicago Bulls
Vitals: 6-foot-5, 192 lbs. Turned 27 in March
Stats: In his first season with the Bulls, the perimeter threat played in 73 games, averaging 9.6 points, 2.0 assists and 26 minutes. Belinelli turned in a career-low 35.7 3-point shooting percentage and finished under 40 percent overall (39.5) for only the second time during six NBA seasons. His 83.9 percent clip from the foul line represents a personal best.
Playoff Matchup: No. 5 seed in the East, the Bulls are tied 3-3 with the Brooklyn Nets after losing two straight. Game 7 is Saturday night at Brooklyn.
The fit: With Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich sidelined for Game 6, Belinelli started, played 46 minutes and led the Bulls with 22 points. When injuries crushed the Wizards at different points of the season, the roster proved bereft of professional scorers off the bench, especially once the team dealt the volume shooting Jordan Crawford. Though classified primarily as a wing guard - a position that remains open behind starter Bradley Beal - Belinelli also has lead guard experience, making him a potential third-guard fit. Despite his downturn in 3-point accuracy this season, he is a 38 percent career shooter from beyond the arc.
Chances of becoming a Wizard: Considering the draft is shaping up to bring the team frontcourt help, Washington could end up dipping into the free agent waters for needed guard depth. Even if the Wizards re-sign Price and Temple, an opening for a scoring backup behind Beal remains. After entering the league with the Warriors followed by stops with the Raptors and Hornets, Belinelli signed a one-year, $1.957 million contract this past offseason with Chicago. Growing up in Italy as a Michael Jordan fan, Belinelli may have found a home with the hard-nosed Bulls. Of course, Chicago's backcourt will take on a different look next season when Derrick Rose returns. While Belinelli is arguably the highest priority among their five free agents including Nate Robinson, the Bulls must also leave cap space available for Deng in 2014. The Wizards have both their mid-level exception, which next season starts at $5.15 million, and a bi-annual exception ($2.016 million).
NBA Free Agent profiles