With the NBA‘s annual moratorium on transactions lifted as of yesterday, the Washington Wizards‘ free agent acquisitions have now become official. Martell Webster, Garrett Temple and Eric Maynor make up the list of Washington’s free agent signings, with Maynor being the only new addition.
Compared to the splashes other teams have made this offseason, like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, Washington’s moves seem very bland. The same can be said about Washington’s draft picks, with Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. not being very flashy picks.
With Washington currently having 14 players under contract for next season, chances are the Wizards will remain with the status quo. Nonetheless, I am withholding judgment on Washington’s offseason because their most valuable chips are best served to be played at next season’s trade deadline.
Those chips would be the expiring contracts of one Emeka Okafor and one Trevor Ariza. After seeing Golden State essentially turn the expiring contracts of minimal contributors Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush into Andre Iguodala, I’m confident that Washington will at some point turn these middling players into a valuable asset.
Seeing how last season was ruined by injuries at the outset, I can understand Washington’s restraint thus far. Playing out the season and evaluating where the team is headed is the safe and logical move for the Wizards. If the team remains relatively healthy and is contending, trade the expiring contracts of Okafor and Ariza for a player capable of nudging Washington into the postseason.
If deja vu occurs and the Wizards’ training room is again heavily occupied, trade the expiring contracts of Okafor and Ariza for future draft considerations and assign their vacated minutes to prospects like Porter, Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin. Furthermore, in this scenario Washington would net a lottery pick in the hyped 2014 NBA Draft, thus gaining a player/asset that could expedite their rebuilding job.
So before you assign that failing or average grade to Washington’s transactions, remember that their best hand hasn’t been dealt yet.