By Ben Standig and Brian Jackson
The Wizards have been busy this offseason. Ben Standig and Brian Jackson break down their best move or non move.
The decision not to meet Trevor Ariza's contract demands. Much respect to the sleek two-way player. Ariza shot a career-best 41 percent on 3-point attempts last season. He locked down opposing small forwards on defense and provided the locker room with leadership. Ariza's absence might be truly noticeable this coming season though maybe not. For the long haul, moving on rather than paying him more than the $32 million over four years he received from the Houston Rockets was the way to go.
Washington needs to see what Otto Porter, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft, can do consistently in game action. Minutes would be scarce behind Ariza. Less so backing up future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, who the Wizards added hours after Ariza signed with Houston. Ariza's offense is dependent on others creating shot opportunities for him. The wily Pierce is a self-contained unit and a cold-blooded scorer. The 36-year-old is also on a two-year deal. If portions of this NBA offseason were the Summer of (Kevin) Love, the summer of 2016 sets up to be all about the D.C. area's favorite son, Kevin Durant. Signing Ariza to a four-year deal adds complications for such pursuits. Now, it's game on for the Wizards while remaining in position for a deep playoff run this season.
The easy choice here is bringing back Marcin Gortat. Their number one priority was to bring back the Polish Hammer and they accomplished that on the first day of free agency with a 5-year, $60 million deal. Yes he’ll be making $13.6 million in 2018-19 at 35 years old but the Wizards couldn’t afford to let their 2014 first-round pick go for nothing.
But what could prove to be a major move is declining to give Trevor Booker a qualifying offer and subsequently brining in DeJuan Blair, via a sign and trade. Looking strictly at the numbers Blair averaged 14.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per 36 minutes with Dallas last season. Booker saw inconsistent minutes and averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Wizards. Washington really struggled with front line depth last season but the additions of Blair, Kris Humphries and the resigning of Drew Gooden should ease those concerns. When you compare the two-year, $10 million deal Booker got in Utah to the three-year, $6 million (3rd year team option) Blair signed in Washington. The Wizards could really have gotten a steal.