Free Agency Grades: Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards narrowly missed out on the playoffs last year, but look poised to return to the postseason. General Manager Tommy Sheppard retool in a big way, wapping John Wall - who hasn’t played ball in two years - for former MVP Russell Westbrook.
The rest of the offseason was simply filling in the gaps. Here are the signings the Wizards made and how each player fits in Washington:
Davis Bertans re-signs for 5 years, $80 million
The Latvian Laser was one of the team’s best offensive weapons last season. He’s among the league’s top sharpshooters and was expected to be in high demand.
Wizards fans were able to exhale as they kept him on board, perhaps softening the blow of losing the beloved John Wall.
It seems like a lot but it’s really a reasonable price, especially when you consider that Danilo Gallinari, Jerami Grant and Joe Harris each got around $20 million per year. Yes, it’s a chunk of change but Washington didn’t have to break the bank. Plus there's an early termination option after year four.
With a big market for Bertans and talk all year about him likely leaving, keeping his services was a big win for Washington.
Robin Lopez signs a one year, $7.3 million deal
The Wizards had to address their hole at center at some point. Lopez fills that spot, but I’m not sure how well.
He’s less than average on both offense and defense at this point of his career. I’m guessing he will provide Washington with veteran knowledge and leadership while setting solid screens.
More players should take a look at Lopez’s agent because at just under the full mid-level exception, the man got paid. No one else was going to pay him anywhere near what they did.
I mean, for depth, I get this. Other than that, I do NOT. Especially at that price. Well, Thomas Bryant is likely going to get a lot of playing time.
Raul Neto signs a one year deal for vet minimum
Raul essentially replaces Jerian Grant and when you look at it that way, it’s an upgrade with some added international flair. However, with Westbrook, Ish Smith and Cassius Winston, he will have to fight for his minutes.
On a minimum deal, you could do a whole lot worse for point guard depth. He has a solid chance of becoming the team’s backup floor general.
He’s a career 37.9 percent three-point shooter that can score in a hurry when given the opportunity and makes smart plays. Neto is not going to help the Wiz on defense. They’ll miss Gary Payton II but he’s useful off the bench when needed.