Wizards face slim pickings for final spot

Wizards face slim pickings for final spot
July 26, 2013, 6:00 am
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Should the Wizards have offered Wall a max deal?

The Wizards don’t have to sign a 15th player to the roster, and by all indications they're not going to rush into it.

They have plenty of forwards after drafting a pair in June. Coach Randy Wittman already as said he’d like to see another center on the roster as that remains the one area where they lack depth.

Last season, he occasionally called on Jason Collins, who is a free agent, to fill that void after he was acquired via trade in February.

With training camp on the horizon, the Wizards can invite as many as six players to compete for that spot though they're not obligated to do so or fill that spot with one of them. Teams must carry at least 13 players, only 12 can be active for games, but given the recent injury history of 7-footer Nene it's not a bad idea to have size behind center Emeka Okafor.

The Wizards aren't going to find any hidden gems here. They just need to find a serviceable big body that can play defense and adapt quickly in an emergency situation.

Invites haven't gone out, and of course, 29 other teams will extend them to players, too. But here are some of the best available centers who could fall into the Wizards' price range. They are restricted by the salary cap and aren't going to bust it and become a luxury tax casualty just to land a role player:

  •  DeJuan Blair: First, he's only 6-7. The Wizards have talked to his representatives but making a deal work is easier said than done. He’s only 24 and at one time was the starting center for the San Antonio Spurs but lost his spot to Tiago Splitter.  Blair started all but four games in 2011-12 but only had 16 starts last season when they advanced to the NBA Finals. He didn't play any significant postseason minutes and earned just more than $1 million.
  •  Cole Aldrich: Since coming in the league in 2010 as a lottery pick, has played just 89 games for three teams. At 6-11 and 240, he has the wide body but hasn't shown much else. No offense to speak of and if it wasn't for his sheer size, he'd probably be out of the league by now. 
  • Dewayne Dedmon: Surprisingly, entered the 2013 draft despite averaging just 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds as a junior last season at USC. Not surprising, he went undrafted. The 7-footer has physical gifts but is raw and a real project. Would he be ready if thrust into action two months into the season? Definitely not.  He played for the Dallas Mavericks in summer league. The Wizards aren't interested in putting another young, raw player on their bench. 

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