UNDER CONTRACT: F-C Emeka Okafor, C Nene, F Trevor Ariza, G John Wall, F Jan Vesely, F Kevin Seraphin, F Chris Singleton, F Trevor Booker, G Jordan Crawford, G Shelvin Mack, G A.J. Price, G-F Martell Webster, G Jannero Pargo
DRAFT PICKS: G Bradley Beal, F Tomas Satoransky
FREE AGENTS: G Morris Almond, F Brian Cook, F Maurice Evans
MOVES: Before the draft, the Wizards found a taker for the one year and $24 million left on Rashard Lewis’ contract, shipping him to New Orleans for veterans Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. From a financial standpoint, Washington took back more than $43 million in salaries over the next two years but retained its amnesty option – which GM Ernie Grunfeld used on forward Andray Blatche, removing his three years and $23.2 million left on his contract. The Wizards tried to trade the toxic Blatche but found no takers. Even with Blatche’s exile, the Wizards have considerable frontcourt depth, which may not be a good thing with youngsters such as Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton all having shown flashes last season. The Wizards also signed A.J. Price to back up John Wall at point guard and Martell Webster to provide depth at the wing. Price will have some help fr0m battle-tested Jannero Pargo, a late free agent signing after Wall went down for two months just before camp opened with a stress condition. Off the court, Washington added San Antonio assistant Don Newman to its staff. He should be able to improve a defense that was 20th last season.
TO-DO LIST: Webster will help a bit in fortifying the wing, but Washington really needs a veteran who will help coach Randy Wittman police the locker room. As of this writing, no one on Washington’s roster is older than 29. While Ariza, Okafor and Nene may welcome the chore of leadership, they could use some help. Given Wall’s injury, a good fit would have been Derek Fisher, who could use his proximity to the Beltway to get a jump-start on his potential next career in politics.
PROJECTION: Every year, the Wizards look like they have the young talent to make a quantum leap. And every year, they act the collective fool and end up back in the lottery. With apologies to The Who, I won’t get fooled again. Even in the Eastern Conference, Washington has a ton of work to do to even sniff the postseason.
(RELATED: What grade did the Wizards get?)
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