Is Tomas Satoransky a Legitimate Option for the Wizards?
Editor’s Note: It depends on how the summer shapes out from a variety of directions—the draft, potential pre-draft trades, and the free agency of Martell Webster (among others, such as A.J. Price)—but 2012 second round pick Tomas Satoranksy could become a legitimate option for the Wizards. Washington currently has just three guards/wings under contract next season—John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Trevor Ariza. Even if Ernie Grunfeld were to re-sign both Webster and Price at affordable market rates, the Wizards’ backcourt off the bench would be extremely limited. Plus, the team might have a greater need of adding a defensive “stretch 4” per the request of Wall, the franchise point guard.
Filling an end-of-the-bench backcourt spot with Satoransky could be akin to filling it with any other second round pick in 2013—something the Wizards seem hesitant to do—even with considering the improvements Tomas made last season playing for his Spanish club, Cajasol. Then again, if the other option is Ernie Grunfeld pulling the next Earl Boykins or Jannero Pargo out from under his chair… No thanks. Satoransky could use another year of seasoning in Spain, but he could also be a cheap option for Washington, bringing future value worth integrating into the team sooner rather than later. Satoransky is just the type of third-string player who can handle a number of guard duties with decent results while still being young enough to have promise (he turns 22 in October).
The Spanish outlet, laopiniondemalaga.es, reported last week that Spanish club Unicaja Málaga was considering going after Satoransky but balked at his 500,000 Euro buy-out from the last season of a four-year contract with Cajasol. Another Spanish club, Saski Baskonia, has also apparently showed interest in acquiring his services. Cajasol, after a disappointing season, is evidently looking to cut salary, and getting a team to pay Satoransky’s buyout could provide a reprieve from financial strain, even if he was one of their best players last season. Under the previous NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Wizards could contribute up to $500,000 USD to the buyout of an overseas player, which does not count toward the team’s salary cap. Under the new CBA, that amount increases by $25,000 each season and would be $575,000 in 2013-14 (still above Cajasol’s current asking price, which is also certainly negotiable). Washington, looking to save money in a number of creative ways under Ted Leonsis, would investigate asking Satoransky to pay for his own buyout.
Either way, Satoransky should do what he can to show up and impress the Washington Wizards at this year’s Summer League in Las Vegas. The timing could be as ripe as ever for “Saty” to try to prove himself.
Below, TAI’s Lukas Kuba (@Luke_Mellow) provides a translation of an interview that Satoransky gave with the Czech outlet, basket.idnes.cz, at the very end of May. -Kyle W.
Another Czech in the NBA this year already? The decision will be made in June, reveals a tanned and smiling Satoransky.
May 31, 2013 – via basket.idnes.cz – translation by Lukas Kuba
What are the pluses of not advancing to the playoffs in Spain’s ACB League?
Well, after two years I finally have some free time. Of course, I’m not thrilled about it, but now that I have a sort of vacation, I’m going to enjoy it. I was really under a grueling workload over the last two years, so I’m looking forward to it—I’m not gona hide that.
Was the past season a challenge for you physically?
Definitely. I played 30 minutes per game. We even had twelve additional games in the Eurocup. It was challenging physically and mentally, because, as a team, we didn’t play the way we wanted [to play]. We were really down.
What did Cajasol coach Aito Reneses say to you in the exit interview?
I definitely got the most positive evaluation of all. Of course, he did rebuke me for something, told me what I have to work on, which is a good thing, because you gotta improve all the time. The coach helped me a lot, because he gives me freedom in our system—he gave me confidence, too. And also, he helped me to improve some of the little things in my game. He has so much experience.
How did the Wizards front office evaluate your season?
Very positively. Twice or thrice they did come to watch me play, at least to my knowledge. And fortunately, I did well in those games. For example, against Lagun Aro, when they came for the first time, I had probably the best game ever. They loved that my performances grew. And that I had progressed in everything that they previously had criticized. Now we’re in touch, but I don’t know what happens next yet. I got a contract for one more year in Seville, but as far as that is concerned, there are ongoing negotiations.
Do you already know how your next few months—leading up to EuroBasket—will look like? Randy Wittman did say he wants to have you on the roster for NBA Summer League.
In two and a half weeks I return to Seville, where I need to resolve a few things, and I’ll participate in a few practices with youth basketball players. Then we will see during June what’s the program for July. At the end of June it should be clear what will happen for next season. The only thing that might affect my plans [for this summer] is the Summer League. But I don’t really know [if I play in Summer League or not] yet.
But it’s likely that they are going to invite you to play in the NBA Summer League.
That might happen, but I don’t want to comment on it much yet, because I truly don’t know anything [at this point].
Could the upcoming NBA Draft influence the decision of having you on the Wizards roster for next season?
Probably, yeah. They [the Wizards] have the month of June to decide. For the time being, they’re saying they have time.
Did you discuss your situation with your close friend Jan Vesely?
With Honza, we’ve seen each other a couple of times [this month], but we mostly chatted about his season. He was obviously disappointed that he didn’t get much playing time.
Did you follow the situation of the Wizards’ backcourt? It played into your hands, right?
I tried to follow the entire Wizards season. With the return of John Wall came a big growth of the whole team. They kept changing a lot of the other point guards. It’s true that they are probably still looking for a backup guard. When comparing Wall and those other point guards, Wall’s performances were unmatched. I don’t know how much of a big plus it is for me, but it’s kinda good to know the team is shaky at the position of backup point. They have to find someone who complements Wall.
Does Jan Vesely’s rather troubling situation overseas discourage you from going over there, or not at all?
Our cases are totally different. He was drafted as the No. 6 pick with high expectations. Moreover, he’s stuck between the 3 and 4 positions. Every player has a different fate. Maybe it would help us both if I’m on the team [next season]. But that’s up to the people who call the shots there.