Tuesday, October 25, 2011 3:53 p.m.
By Frank Hanrahan
When the NBA lockout ends there will be a free agency flurry as teams will have to scramble to get rosters set up for the shortened 2011-12 season. With just seven players under contract, count the Wizards as one of those squads that will have to shore up some spots quickly.
Here's what the Wizards do have:
Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld believes he has a good corps in place moving forward, with flashy guard John Wall as the leader of the team. Grunfeld has pledged his belief in young but often immature forward Andray Blatche and center JaVale McGee. Grunfeld also believes Jordan Crawford can be a solid 2 in the NBA, running alongside Wall. The Wizards hope energetic forward Trevor Booker can run the wing with the more up-tempo Wizards. Grunfeld gets back veteran (and poster boy for overpaid players in the lockout) Rashard Lewis, and added draft picks Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack.
Grunfeld will likely not re-sign any of the veterans on the team from last year who are free-agents-to-be -- such as forwards Josh Howard, and Yi Jianlian. Both were injury-prone and unproductive and they will find homes elsewhere in the NBA or abroad.
Where does that leave starting shooting guard Nick Young? Good question. Young had his best season last year and under the old collective bargaining agreement is a restricted free agent. If another team offers Young a long-term deal, the Wizards have the option to match or let Young walk. The Wizards will cross that bridge when they come to it, but they certainly like the way Crawford played in Young's absence late in the season. I wouldn't be surprised at all that if Young were offered a big deal by another team, Washington would let him go.
What they need:
Grunfeld has to get a veteran center to back up McGee and a backup point guard to Wall in case second-round pick Mack isn't ready for the NBA. Mack was a combo guard at Butler, but because he's only 6'-2," he will have to play point in the NBA. Will he pan out?
McGee is a finesse center and the Wizards need to have a physical man in the middle to come off the bench to spell him.
The lockout has thrown a huge wrinkle into preparation for the 2011-12 season. Will the Wizards be ready to make quick moves when the lockout is over? They had better be.