Culture of Hoops

What’s the Washington Wizards’ plan beyond 2014-15?

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I’m not going to take back all the nice things I said about the Washington Wizards from last season, but I do wonder if the front office actually has a plan for the future. Signing Ariza would be shortsighted for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is cap space which the Wizards have in tiny pinches – Ariza has many suitors and doesn’t seem interested in a pay cut.

Good for Ariza. He’s a championship proven veteran and had a great contract year; however, the Wizards should be content with letting him leave because Otto Porter Jr., the no.3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, plays the same position. Randy Wittman, head coach of the Washington Wizards, kept Porter Jr. in the doghouse for the entire season by playing him only 8.6 minutes per game in 37 games overall. That’s not enough time for a 20-year-old rookie to develop. This is unlikely to change if Ariza is signed, and ownership is fine with this issue considering the extension that Wittman signed when the Wizards’ postseason run ended. Porter Jr. would be a trade asset except they are killing all of his value. I wouldn’t give up much for a guy averaging 2.1 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.3 assists per game.

Bradley Beal will be eligible for an extension next year and will command a max salary. Nene Hilario is still being paid $13 million each season. John Wall makes $13.7 million for 2014-15 and it escalates at least $1 million after each season. Every important player on the roster has missed more than 20 games in at least one of the past two seasons. Wizards’ fans have good reason to be optimistic about their chances in the Eastern Conference for next year, but the forecast beyond 2014-15 is murky. The front office is taking the route of least resistance by just re-signing all the pieces that got the team to the playoffs without seriously considering other options. This is not the way to improve a squad that was destroyed by the struggling Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Then again, maybe Wall takes it up a notch and completely shuts me up. I’m cool with being wrong.

Ooooo, hopefully not that wrong.

Featured image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

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