Are the Wizards Done with Roster Moves? Wittman Wants More; He Really Likes It, He Wants More | Truth About It.net

Are the Wizards Done with Roster Moves? Wittman Wants More; He Really Likes It, He Wants More

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Updated: July 11, 2013

[Are the Wizards done with roster moves? Not according to Randy Wittman.]

[Are the Wizards done with roster moves? Not according to Randy Wittman.]

As June rounded out and the Washington Wizards prepared for the 2013 NBA Draft, they technically had seven players under contract for 2013-14. Then came Otto Porter and Glen Rice, Jr.—drafted rookies who were recently signed, officially. Nine players. During the process, the given that Emeka Okafor would not opt-out of the remaining season on his contract and that Trevor Ariza would opt-in to the final season on his contract occurred. Eleven players. More recently, the signing of free agent Eric Maynor, the re-signing of Martell Webster, and the re-signing of Garrett Temple has brought the roster total to 14 players. NBA teams must carry a minimum of 13 players and can carry a maximum of 15.

So are the Wizards done with moves for the summer? Sure seems like it… they struck fast and appear to be on the fast-track to cost-effectiveness. Or are they? Recently, Wizards coach Randy Wittman sat down for a radio chat with LaVar Arrington and Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan. The key quote for the purpose of this post:

“… we have all summer to really analyze what we have, the pieces we have, and see if we can package one or two together and see what else it might bring. So we’re not done.”

Not done? Well, what, exactly, can the Wizards do? In consideration of the salaries being paid to Okafor ($14.5 million) and Ariza ($7.7 million) which will expire in 2013-14, it’s fashionable to play NBA trade machine. Completely understandable to think that either of these two could be moved, but don’t count on it.

Okafor is, in fact, a player whom the Wizards would love to bring back next summer—at a reasonable rate and given quality production in the coming season. Ariza is currently the team’s best perimeter defender. Right now, with a contact-high off the faint smell of last year’s generally good health and the success that came with it, Randy Wittman treasures the defensive culture shift that Okafor and Ariza helped build. He does not want to see them traded. That said, if Otto Porter develops on the defensive side of the ball faster than expected, particularly on the perimeter, Ariza becomes expendable for possible frontcourt help—a 3-point shooting, rebounding tall guy … like our friend Ersan Ilyasova. (Such a shame that that role cannot be filled by either Singleton or Vesely—”it is what it is.”)

But otherwise, money is tight for Ted Leonsis’ basketball team. The NBA’s luxury tax threshold for 2013-14 has been set at $71.748. The Wizards, by liberal calculations, are $2.45 million below that number; estimating conservatively, $1.8 million below. Leonsis will avoid paying the luxury tax this season at all costs, as well he should. He knows that one season he might have to dip into that territory, and the longer he can delay unnecessarily starting the “repeater tax” clock, the better. Under the new CBA, if a team pays the luxury tax in three of the previous four seasons, the dollar-for-dollar penalty for every dollar over the luxury line increases by at least a dollar (repeater teams are penalized $2.50, or more, for every $1 they are over the cap). That’s some heavy, costly shit. Worth remembering: a team’s potential luxury tax hit is not calculated until the last day of the regular season. So, the Wizards could always dip their toes in luxury tax water and later scramble to get out of the pool by mid-April.

The “assets” the Wizards would like to explore moving include, well, the Wiz Kids that Martell Webster and Garrett Temple so gladly re-upped with. Kevin Seraphin (making $2.76 million in the final season of his rookie deal before the qualifying offer summer), Trevor Booker ($2.35 million this season before the 2014 summer QO), Jan Vesely ($3.34 million this season, still a $4.23 million team option on the table for 2014-15), and Chris Singleton ($1.6 million this season, still a $2.5 million team option on the table for 2014-15)—these are the underdeveloped, youthful assets that the Wizards would like to pawn for the betterment of the franchise. The issue is that underdeveloped part … do any of these guys really spark the fancy of an opposing GM? Possibly, but not likely at this point (which is why the summer league is very important for Vesely and Singleton especially—a potential audition, if you will).

For instance, if the Wizards were so inclined to give up Kevin Seraphin and Chris Singleton (or Trevor Booker) in exchange for Brandon Bass, an eight-year veteran, would Boston be inclined to listen? Is Bass worth more? Less? A future protected draft pick, too?

We are all well-aware of Boston’s situation and the fact that they have a lot of young guys who play Bass’ position; the fact that Bass, who turned 28 last April, might be the oldest player on Boston’s roster next season; and most importantly, the fact that Bass has three years and just under $20 million left on his contract. The rebuilding Celtics would appreciate the young players/expiring contracts, in essence… perhaps. ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg reports that Bass is “not sweating the future,” but the feeling that Danny Ainge could be looking to move him is definitely there.

For the Wizards, it would be a go all-in-ish move. They would be giving up on two relatively cheap players (and perhaps more) for a veteran who might further restrict the ever-treasured salary cap flexibility. Then again, if you want a stretch 4 off the bench, John Wall, Bass is your guy.

Last season, amongst NBA forwards who attempted at least 2.5 shots from the 16-to-24-foot range per game (Bass was on the low side with 2.6 FGAs over 27.6 minutes per game), Bass’ 45.2 percent from that distance fared better than Carlos Boozer (43.4%), David Lee (42.1%), Blake Griffin (34.3%), Pau Gasol (39.4%), and LaMarcus Aldridge (41.9%). [stats via NBA.com/stats]

Peruse and compare the shooting heat maps of Bass to Nene, Okafor, Booker, Seraphin and Singleton, and you see that Bass would clearly bring a different offensive spacing component to the frontcourt: the short corner!

Brandon Bass

2012-13 Shooting Heat Map

[Brandon Bass 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

[Brandon Bass 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

Nene Hilario

2012-13 Shooting Heat Map

[Nene Hilario 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

[Nene Hilario 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

Emeka Okafor

2012-13 Shooting Heat Map

[Emeka Okafor 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

[Emeka Okafor 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

Trevor Booker

2012-13 Shooting Heat Map

[Trevor Booker 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

[Trevor Booker 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

Kevin Seraphin

2012-13 Shooting Heat Map

[Kevin Seraphin 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

[Kevin Seraphin 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

Chris Singleton

2012-13 Shooting Heat Map

[Chris Singleton 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

[Chris Singleton 2012-13 shooting heat map via Basketball-Reference.com]

Of course, Bass rebounds like a small forward. His 11.2 rebound percentage more closely resembles those of Carmelo Anthony (10.8), Kawhi Leonard (11.1), Paul Pierce (11.2), Paul George (11.3), and Kevin Durant (11.8). Then again, he’s better than Kevin Seraphin (11.1).

Booker is a better rebounder and passer than Bass, and perhaps even a better defender. Although, Bass was credited for playing decent defense against Carmelo Anthony during last year’s playoffs, Booker has the potential to do the same. Both players are susceptible to the small side of “tweener” status with Bass 6-foot-8 and Booker listed at 6-foot-7. (True story: Bass is only two years and seven months older than Trevor Booker, yet has five more years NBA experience; still, if Booker is a poor man’s Bass, why not keep him?)

Also noted: Bass gets to the free throw line more than Seraphin (2.4 FTAs per 36 minutes compared to 1.8; Booker averages 2.9 FTAs/36), and Bass makes them at a much better rate than both Wizards. In fact, Bass’s 86 percent from the charity stripe would have been a team-best in Washington last season (not counting 2-for-2 efforts from Jannero Pargo and Jason Collins, and a 15-for-15 effort from Shaun Livingston). Seraphin barely shoots 69 percent from the line and Booker is even worse at 55 percent. Unacceptable.

In any case, a potential acquisition of Bass would be certainly an offensive-minded move and at best, a lateral move on defense. and a money-saver for the in-transition Celtics. But there are other moves, other options out there—there always are—but it will come down to how creative the Wizards want to get and what they are willing to sacrifice.

Done? No, the Wizards aren’t done. Randy Wittman wants more… he wants more. He really likes it, he wants more.

You hear that, Ernie?

Then again, don’t be surprised if nothing else happens until the start of the season. Because sometimes that’s how Wizards do.


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