The NBA Lockout has put the brakes (indefinitely) on the Washington Wizards' free agency plans. If Ernie Grunfeld and co. need extra time mull Nick Young's qualifying offer, the good(-ish) news is they may have six months to do it. And even then, the league could return with a completely different system and salary cap situation.
All this to is to say that to hazard a prediction or plan for the Wizards in free agency is a fool's errand at this point -- or at least indulgent. Let's do it anyway.
Mike Prada did yeoman's work at Bullets Forever to look at the Wizards' salary cap situation heading into next season (again, if there is a next season). If you want to daydream about Washington's eventual free agency spoils, that's a great place to start.
So here's what we know:
1. We don't know anything. Until the new CBA is agreed upon, all we can do is speculate.
2. For the sake of this exercise we'll assume the Wizards should have *some* cap space to work with.
3. The Wizards don't figure to be a major player in free agency, but could fill a hole or two.
On SBNation.com, Prada also broke down NBA Free Agency 2011. (Man, this guy is busy.) Let's see if any of the Top 10 unrestricted free agents make sense for the Wizards.
1. David West, F
2. Nene, F/C
3. Tyson Chandler, C
4. Jason Richardson, G
5. J.R. Smith, G
6. Jamal Crawford, G
7. Carl Landry, F
8. J.J. Barea, G
9. Samuel Dalembert, C
10. Caron Butler, C
It's hard to see the Wizards jumping for any of these guys. After the bumper crop 2010 free agency class, there's not really a game-changer among this bunch. I don't think anyone inside or out of the organization thinks now is the right time in the rebuilding process to spend money on an older guy like David West or Nene -- not that either would want to co-sponsor the John Wall revolution in D.C. at this point.
Carl Landry *could* be an option if the price was low enough. He would give the Wizards a low-post scorer, but he's defensive rebounding rate is not what the glass-challenged Wizards need. (Landry's DRR is 11.4, which means he grabs a lower percentage of available rebounds than Mike Bibby (!), Shaun Livingston (!), and a handful of other points guards.
Instead, the Wizards would do well to target cost-effective options that could a) rebound b) knock down an open three-point shot c) back up at point guard. Prada likes Reggie Williams as a shooting option, a move I would co-sign on (word to @ScottSchroeder). I have a soft spot for Reggie Evans, who would make sense as a rebound machine. At point guard? Well, I shouldn't have to come up with reasons to bring Earl Boykins back to D.C.
The big question will really be what the Wizards do with Nick Young, a restricted free agent with a $3.66 million qualifying offer. Young made it clear at his exit interviews that he is looking for a payday after a breakout season cut short, if not dampened, by injury.
One scout I sat next to at a game this season rattled off a list of playoff teams that would love to get Young as their starting off guard. A team will offer him a contract, and the Wizards will have to decide what their former first-rounder if worth to the rebuild. Of course, that decision will be influenced heavily by the new CBA.
... And we come full-circle.