Wizards go bargain hunting…NBA style

We are just a few hours before NBA free agency gets started, and it is that time of year when sports talk typically turns to the changes that Ernie Grunfeld should make to Wizards. Well as many know, the Wizards have their own free agents to worry about – Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Roger Mason, Jr. After signing Gil and Antawn (and most likely losing Roger), the Wiz will not have a significant amount of money to spend on free agents, nor will they have a lot of roster space. They currently have 10 players under contract, not including Gilbert, Antawn, Roger and

The Wiz need someone in the paint who can rebound, block shots and occasionally score. And while Brendon Haywood had his best season last year and the Wiz just drafted JaVale McGee, it is important to look for help here – particularly since no one knows yet how Etan Thomas will play if/when he fully recovers. And because of the limited amount of money that the team is expected to have available, it is important to look at potential players that will not break the bank. Below is a list of potential free agents that appear to best fit this criteria.

NAME

TEAM

08 SALARY

POINTS*

REBOUNDS*

BLOCKS*

FG%*

FT%*

Primoz Brezec

Raptors

$2,750,000

7.6

4.1

.41

.500

.706

P.J. Brown

Celtics

$226,650

9.1

7.7

1.02

.460

.794

Theo Ratliff

Pistons

$199,452

7.9

6.1

2.63

.497

.711

Adonal Foyle

Magic

$1,219,590

4.1

4.8

1.64

.476

.499

DeSagana Diop

Nets

$2,146,000

2.1

3.9

1.19

.433

.517

Jamaal Magloire

Mavericks

$231,183

8.6

7.2

1.03

.479

.65

es*Career averages

  • Primoz Brezec, who is 28 years old and 7-1 and 252 lbs, could have the best long term potential. He is not much of a shot blocker, but he has showed the ability (in the 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 seasons), to score in the double-digits and pull down around 6 rebounds a game.
  • P.J. Brown has been a solid player for a number of years and at 6-11 and 239 lbs, he is not afraid to bang with anyone. However, at 38 years old, you may only get 1 more season out of him.
  • Theo Ratliff, at 35 years old and 6-10 and 235 lbs, is intriguing. Ratliff has been the best shot blocker on the list. If he is currently healthy, he could provide the Wiz with an excellent, defensive-oriented backup center for a season or two allowing McGee some time to develop.
  • Adonal Foyle (6-10 and 270 lbs) fits into the same category as Theo Ratliff, while not as proficient in blocking shots. And while he is two years younger (33 years old) and more expensive, I would tend to lean towards Theo Ratliff instead.
  • DeSagana Diop (7-0 and 280 lbs), much like Primoz Brezec, is an interesting choice because of his age (26 years old). He played on a team that runs (Dallas) and one that runs a similar offense (New Jersey), so you would think that he would have an easier time fitting in with the Wizards. And since he is still young, you have a player who can continue to develop and legitimately challenge for the starting position. Diop, like Brezec, are at the high-end of the pay scale for this list of players, but still in the range of bargain shopping.
  • Jamaal Magloire (6-11 and 265 lbs) at 30 years old still has a number of good years in him, but is also a former all-star performer at the center position. However, the style of play that best suits him is not the style that the Wizards play.

Considering this list, the two players that most interest me are Theo Ratliff and DeSagana Diop – for largely two completely different reasons. Theo was a very good shot-blocking center, but may be well past his prime. If he can be effective in limited minutes, Ratliff could be an effective defensive presence off the bench. He would be a short-term solution, buying the Wiz a year or two for some of the younger guys to develop. Diop, on the other hand, is better suited to compete with Haywood for the starting position – which could have a negative effect on Haywood. He is also young enough that he could be a potential fit for a few years to come. Given that the Wizards just drafted JaVale McGee, I don’t think picking up a young guy like Diop is the best move. However, the relatively low salaries of Diop, Ratliff and the other players mentioned above means that there are some potential bargains available to the Wiz if they are looking for a backup center to grab rebounds, block a couple of shots and score a few points in the paint.

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3 thoughts on “Wizards go bargain hunting…NBA style

  1. Pingback: Wizards sign Jamison « 202SportsBlog

  2. Gosh I’m so sorry for the wizards they will never will the championship now because they missed out on THE MAN THE MYTH THE LEGEND desagana diop!!! basketball.

  3. Hello Holden,

    A player like Diopp will not make or break the Wizards, but they need more help in the paint – preferably a big man – who will consistently rebound and block shots. Diopp was a player like that who they could have gotten for a relatively small contract. Diopp will instead return to the Mavericks for their MLE.

    My preference is that they don’t enter the season with just Haywood, Thomas and McGee as their 3 big men.

    Thanks for the comment.

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