Porter continuing to develop in Summer League play
During his first media session since the Wizards made several moves in free agency, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he believed more roster shaping was required. Apparently, the rumor mill believed him.
One weekend report stated the Wizards showing interest in doing a sign-and-trade deal with San Antonio for free agent forward DeJuan Blair. Another had Washington kicking the tires on free agent guard Nate Robinson.
The Wizards have 14 players under contract, leaving one roster spot open. Let's look at the likelihood they use it for either of these intriguing options.
- Let's start with Blair, another member of the shouda, coulda, woulda Wizards. The team passed on the undersized power forward with no ACL's during the 2009 draft, instead trading their selection to Houston for cash considerations. Like Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Curry, fans haven't forgotten.
Of course, for stretches this season including the playoffs, it became rather apparent that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich looked past Blair when he needed on-court assistance. The former Pitt Panther played a career-low 14 minutes per game and averaged just six in the postseason.
As for a fit in Washington, CSN profiled Blair's game back in April. Essentially, he is a rather imposing rebounder despite his limited height and Blair offers solid pick-and-roll skills. It would be a stretch to consider Blair a go-to scorer, but he's shot at least 50 percent from the floor in each of his four NBA seasons. The Wizards will need scoring options for those 20 or so games Nene misses.
The issues are twofold: One, the Wizards do not have money to pay Blair more than the veteran's minimum (they could offer more with a sign-and-trade). Two, there is that logjam of young frontcourt options already with Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker, who offers some of the same qualities as Blair.
On some level, dealing any of the three to clear space for Blair is a lateral move. Also, Wittman said his preference is adding bigs. Presumably that means more tall than wide. However, with his board work and potential exuberance about getting out of San Antonio, adding Blair on short-term deal could be worth exploring - if others are moved.
- As for Robinson, our Wizards Insider J. Michael spoke with a source who denied any contact between Washington and Robinson's camp regarding him joining the team. The reality is whatever opportunities existed for a marriage likely ended after the Wizards signed Eric Maynor and kept Garrett Temple. Still, let's play this out a little. Here is what I wrote back in April, just as the explosive guard started racking up scoring highlights in the playoffs:
Robinson would essentially be a 2-for-1 signing in that he can play backup point guard behind John Wall and fills the instant offense/high confident bench scorer role left empty since the Wizards traded Jordan Crawford. The pocket-sized point-producer with crazy leaping ability and slithery driving skills can carry an offense for stretches when injuries or ineffectiveness strikes elsewhere, as was often the case in Washington this season. Seeing as Robinson started this season with a non-guaranteed $1.15 million contract, he should fit into the Wizards limited financial options even after his solid season.
Now, neither Maynor nor Tempe is scoring threat. Rookie wing Glen Rice Jr. has that potential, but he'll need time to realize the best shot does not always come a nanosecond after receiving a pass. Martell Webster could receive minutes in the backcourt, along with Otto Porter and Trevor Ariza, but none offers sincere ball handling ability.
Robinson can help alleviate those issues, but other teams can surely offer more playing time and at least some more money. Only way it could remotely make sense in Washington would be if the Wizards:
- trade Trevor Ariza, thus leaving enough minutes for Webster and Porter up front while opening time in the backcourt.
- The team decides they need more options behind Bradley Beal no matter size and shape.
Even then, hmmm. There is no question it would oodles more fun watching the Wizards with Nate Robinson on board. It's just hard imagining that it will happen.