Recapping the Wizards' Free Agency Moves

Let's take a closer look at Washington's moves during the 2016 free agency period.



Now that the 2016 NBA free agency moratorium has come and gone, let's examine the moves made by the Washington Wizards' front office. Despite rumors that the Wizards were intending to sign a big-name player to pair with perennial All-Star John Wall, GM Ernie Grunfield opted for a more reserved, methodic approach. The Wiz entered free agency with only five players on the books: Wall, Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, and Kelly Oubre. This allowed for quite a bit of flexibility in terms of available salary cap space. Several new faces were added to the Wizards' official roster in a few short days, so let's examine each signing and how these players might contribute and impact the team for the 2016-2017 season.


Bradley Beal, SG:

Beal is a very talented sharpshooter that is essential to the Wizards' young core. Despite his issues with staying injury-free, resigning him was paramount. Sure enough, he received a max contract purportedly worth $128 million over a five year period. There was little doubt that the Wizards would let Bradley walk this summer, but it is reassuring nonetheless that Ernie and owner Ted Leonsis recognize Beal as a vital part of this team's offense and plan for the future. Critics are sure to tout on about how Beal's past injuries may hamper his contract worth, but considering how the shooting guard position is relatively shallow in today's NBA, this move is crucial in forming next year's roster and beyond. Beal's 3-point shot and electrifying scoring abilities will be gladly welcomed back in our nation's capitol. Grade: A-


Trey Burke, PG:

Burke was not a free agent but found himself in a point guard logjam on the Utaz Jazz's roster after the Jazz traded to receive PG George Hill. He was dealt to Washington for a paltry 2021 second-round draft pick. This deal is an absolute steal for the Wizards, as they acquire another young, talented ball-handler more than capable of backing up J-Dubs. Trey was a monster in college when he played for Michigan, as he broke Reggie Miller's sophomore season career point total and set a new Michigan record for single-season assists. While he is a skilled passer with great handles, Burke has some struggles with his shooting percentage during his time in the NBA. Backing up Wall figures to be a great opportunity for the 23-year-old guard, as he stands to learn from one of the league's premier floor generals and develop under new coach Scott Brooks. Expect Burke to assume Ramon Sessions' role from last year. Grade: A


Ian Mahinmi, C:

This big man from Indiana signed a four year/$64 million contract for the Wiz, bolstering up the center position along with Marcin Gortat. Gortat will have a solid backup in Mahinmi, an imposing defensive presence that rebounds well and also averaged 1.1 blocks a game last season. His skill set is essentially a counter to the offensive Marcin "The Polish Hammer" Gortat; this gives Washington more defensive strength at the low post as well as insight from an 8-year, former NBA champion veteran. Mahinmi was not a major presence on Dallas' 2011 championship team, but having someone on the roster who has experience of that caliber is crucial. Over the years, Mahimni has shared a team with talents such as Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, and Paul George (just to name a few). Let's hope he can channel those experiences along with some advice for our young players and help lock up the frontcourt. Grade: B


Tomas Satoransky, PG/SG: 

After playing strong Euroleague ball for Barcelona the past two years, Satoransky has decided to sign with the team that initially drafted him back in 2012. This 6-foot-7 Czech player is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, as he can stretch positions and has a deep repertoire on offense. He can shoot, dunk, steal, and pass, but his skill has yet to be translated into the NBA. Barcelona is purported to be one of the higher echelons of Euroleague difficulty, so it is plausible that Sato will be able to implement his dynamic play in Washington. He fits seamlessly into the roster as both a guard and a forward, and has the potential to see a high number of minutes if he can contribute. If he becomes a reliable sixth-man, this will be one of the Wizards' best values, as he is signed for a three-year/$9 million contract. Grade: B-


Andrew Nicholson, PF:

This 26-year-old big man from Orlando also found himself at the wrong end of a logjam while playing fort the Magic. Orlando stacked up their frontcourt this offseason, acquiring Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, and Jeff Green, which left Nicholson without a qualifying offer from his former team. The Wizards signed Nicholson to a four-year/$26 million deal which also increases Washington's frontcourt strength. Nicholson has shown flashes of brilliance on offense, as he has great post-up moves and put-backs. He will likely come off the bench at the 4 spot, but could also see time as a center if Coach Brooks decides to opt for a small-ball lineup. His addition to the roster is a welcome replacement for the aging Nene Hilario. Grade: B-


Marcus Thornton, SG: 

Thornton was acquired from the Rockets in early March and was immediately thrown onto the Wizards' sinking ship to help backup Beal for the end of the season. A 29-year-old veteran, Thornton can score off the bench and was one of the team's better offensive options for the final three games, where he averaged 16.3 points per game. Thornton signed a one-year/$1.3 million contract at the league's minimum, so his presence is certainly at a bargain price. Don't expect anything brilliant, but he will be adding some much-needed depth at the shooting guard or small forward position. Grade: C


Jason Smith, PF/C:

Entering the growing roulette of frontcourt players is Jason Smith, a seven-foot power forward/center that can do a little bit of everything, including space the floor by shooting from long range. He is signed to a three-year/$16 million contract and figures to play at either position down low. Smith's performance has been consistent over his eight years in the NBA but his addition to the roster raises questions about Washington's committal to three different centers. Grade: D+


Jarell Eddie, SF/SG (Likely signee)

Eddie was on Washington's roster for the 2015-16 season, best known for occupying the bench and his supreme towel-waving celebrations. He didn't see many minutes during the season but he can knock down three's when given a decent look. He and Kelly Oubre have been developing together in the NBA Summer League and figures to play a larger role for the Wizards in the 2016-17 season. His steal leading to a buzzer-beater layup clinched a win for the Wizards against the Brooklyn Nets during Tuesday's exhibition in Las Vegas, an encouraging flash of grit for the young swingman. He struggled defensively last year but will likely be brought back and ink a contract if he continues to play consistently throughout the summer. 


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