Wall could lose long-time running mates this summer

Wall could lose long-time running mates this summer
May 28, 2014, 11:00 am
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Through all the off-key performances and noisy losses, through the melodic turnaround and raucous playoff games, John Wall could count on the presence of Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin.

After four years together, it's possible the band won't be back together.

The trio entered the league as first round picks in 2010 and finally experienced the playoffs in 2014. After four seasons, they're now the longest tenured players on the Wizards roster. They also now enter free agency for the first time in the NBA.

Well, not Wall, he of the five-year, $80 million extension, which starts this upcoming season. Booker and Seraphin will become restricted free agents in July.

The Wizards have plenty of roster decisions coming up this summer. What to do with the two big man backups falls somewhere in that mix.

"It would be totally different, but this is something that happens," Wall said recently about the possibility of not having his long-time running mates back. "It’s a business. You can’t bring everybody back. You know certain guys are going to get changed throughout the season. It would be great to have those guys back."

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Booker, who like Wall entered the NBA with a misfiring shot, would make $3.4 million in Washington next season should the team pick up his qualifying offer. For the first time in the league, the 6-foot-8 forward avoided significant injuries and played a career-high 72 games this past seson. Booker averaged 6.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and shot a career-best 55.1 percent from the field.

The ability to stay healthy contributed to another rarity: consistency in the regular season rotation. Booker started 21 games during the second half of the season when Nene missed games with a knee injury.

He also provided energy as a starter in Game 4 against the Chicago Bulls when Nene was suspended during the first round playoff series. Yet Booker became a backbencher in the second round versus the Indiana Pacers as coach Randy Wittman went with size and shooting which meant more Drew Gooden and Al Harrington.

Should he return, Booker would enter the season as Washington's first interior reserve off the bench based on the current options.

"This is the only team I know," Booker said recently when asked about his future. "Of course want to come back, but I have no clue what’s going to happen right now."

Seraphin's situation is arguably trickier and yet more direct. While Booker had a sizable role at least entering the Indiana series, the 6-foot-10 center rarely entered games after missing time with a knee injury. Gooden's arrival also played a factor, not to mention Seraphin's limitations in non-scoring areas.

Washington could pick up his $3.98 million qualifying offer and might rush to do so if there is any sense unrestricted free agent Marcin Gortat could sign elsewhere. Regardless, he offers the best bet for a backup center among the current choices.

Asked about his future, Seraphin recently stated, "I don’t know yet. That will be the first time I’m a [restricted] free agent in my life. As for whether he wants to return with the Wizards, "Yeah, for sure" was the response with an additional kicker.

"I want to play too," Seraphin continued. "We’ll see."

The Wizards have a full plate this summer. Somewhere in there, they must decide whether to keep the band together.

"They’ve been here from Day 1 with me, through the tough times we’ve been through," Wall said of his fellow rising fifth-year players. "It’s been exciting to have those guys here for year four and have them go through the process, a winning season with us. It would be great to have those guys back, but it’s not my decision."