Past Perspectives: Why The Wizards Shouldn't Join The Free Agency Bonanza

This year's crop of free agents in the NBA has the opportunity to drastically alter the landscape of the league, but there are some pretty good reasons why the Wizards should avoid going after this year's headline players. As a matter of fact, there are 31.

Admit it. At some point or another in the last year, you've dreamed about seeing one of this year's marquee free agents donning a Wizards uniform and teaming up with John Wall for alley-oops for the next several years. Whether you've thought about Amar'e holding down the low post, Dwyane Wade slashing to the hoop with reckless abandon or if you have the guts to envision LeBron in Chinatown, at one point you know that you've thought about it.

There's nothing inherently wrong with dreaming about a big time NBA player in town. It keeps rumor mills and photoshoppers in business, after all, but there are still plenty of reasons why they should avoid pursuing the big names this season.

1. The Wizards don't have the cap space they once did. Remember all the cap space the Wizards created when they jettisoned Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison? Most of it is still there, but there isn't quite enough to sign someone to a max contract, thanks to the Wizards acquiring Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian. In other words, say goodbye to LeBron James, Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson right off the bat.

2. Dirk Nowitzki still has some good years left, and I'm sure the Wizards wouldn't mind having him on the team, but he's not going to have any interest in Washington. He's after a ring, and he's there are plenty of teams out there with better shots of winning a title who would be willing to give him the money he wants.

3. Likewise, Paul Pierce is not going to go somewhere that gives him a worse shot of winning a title than he has right now. Even if Doc Rivers decides to stop coaching and Kevin Garnett never returns to form, he still has a better chance of getting another ring with the Celtics than he does with the Wizards during the final years of his prime.

4. Ditto for Ray Allen.

5. If the Wizards had loads of defensive ability and were one 20-10 guy away from being a legitimate contender, Carlos Boozer would be a great fit, but they aren't. There's no point in shelling out big bucks for someone who turns 29 in February when the team's franchise player is 19. By the time John Wall has a firm grasp of the NBA, Carlos Boozer will be in his 30s.

Besides, he went to Duke. No one around here wants to see a Blue Devil dressing up for the home team.

6. David Lee? A much better fit than Boozer, but still not great. He'll still be a useful contributor when Wall enters his prime, but then there's the issue of where David Lee would fit in Washington. In the last week, the Wizards have acquired Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, Hamady Ndiaye and Yi Jianlian. And let's not forget Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee deserve minutes in this rotation as well. How big of a log jam do you want to create?

7. Rudy Gay fits well. He's only 23, and he plays small forward, where the Wizards are lacking at the moment. On paper, it seems like a good fit, but I have to think the Wizards will be a little wary of adding a small forward from UConn who isn't that great of a passer or defender. Plus, Rudy Gay is a restricted free agent, so even if the Wizards sign him to a deal, the Grizzlies have the opportunity to match that offer.

If the Wizards pursue anyone asking for more than $30 million, it would be Gay, but even still, there are reasons why signing someone to a big deal just doesn't make much sense for the Wizards at the moment.

8. A new Collective Bargaining Agreement looms at the end of the 2010-11 season. Although the players' union will fight tooth and nail for every penny they can get, odds are, the salary cap will go down after a new agreement is signed, which means anyone the Wizards sign now will eat up more space after next season than they do right now. Wouldn't you rather save that cap space to put the right players around John Wall when he's ready to lead the Wizards to a title?

9. Let's not forget, as long as Gilbert Arenas is still on the Wizards, he's going to eat up a significant portion of the Wizards' cap space. Washington can't exactly afford to gamble on another high price player at the moment. Outside of the James, Wade, Bosh and Stoudemire, you can't exactly say anyone else left in free agency is a 100 percent guarantee to bring back complete value on their contract, so why risk it?

10. Washington doesn't have the best track record when it comes to signing marquee free agents. Try not to weep as we go through this list.

11. Gilbert Arenas - Six years, $111 million

12. Juwan Howard - Seven years, $105 million

13. Albert Haynesworth - Seven years, $100 million

14. Jaromir Jagr - Seven years, $77 million

15. Deion Sanders - Seven years, $56 million

16. Antawn Jamison - Four years, $50 million

17. Mark Brunell - Seven years, $43 million

18. Mitch Richmond - Four years, $40 million

19. Etan Thomas - Six years, $36 million

20. Adam Archuleta - Seven years, $35 million

21. Jeremiah Trotter - Seven years, $35 million

22. Brandon Lloyd - Seven years, $31 million

23. Antwaan Randle-El - Seven years, $31 million

24. Bruce Smith - Five years, $25 million

25. Michael Nylander - Five years, $19 million

26. Jeff George - Four years, $18 million

27. Mark Carrier - Five years, $15 million

28. DeShawn Stevenson - Four years, $15 million

29. Dmitri Young - Two years, $10 million

30. Paul Lo Duca - One year, $5 million

31. That's a lot of money for a lot of pain and misery over the years. Hopefully, Washington avoids doling out another contract that could join this list, just for the sake of keeping up with other teams making to look a splash.

At the end of the day, the Wizards already have one of the best players they could have acquired this offseason in Wall, and they didn't even have to sign him to a ridiculous contract to do it. Rather than try to make a splash next season with Wall, Arenas, Blatche and a big-time free agent, the smart thing to do would be to keep that flexibility in order to put together a stronger team for once Wall is ready to carry the team. Good things come to those who wait.

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