Could short term fix hurt Wizards big picture?

Could short term fix hurt Wizards big picture?
February 19, 2014, 8:00 pm
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The rumors won't stop, at least not until Thursday at 3 p.m. when the NBA's trade deadline passes. 

As the anticipation builds, here are points all Wizards fans should consider, strictly in terms of the basketball side of things.

*The immediate goal, one made clear from the top since the summer, is to make the playoffs this season. 

*The bigger picture plan is to contend for the Eastern Conference title

*Any move made now should be with the latter point of view in mind, not the former. Essentially, that's all there is to know, though not quite. 

*The Wizards remain in strong position to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008 assuming the current five losses in six games pattern doesn't remain the norm over the final 29 games. Reaching the postseason means the young and talented backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal receive some of that coveted playoff experience. 

Every fan's hope is that somehow the Wizards can package Jan Vesely, Eric Maynor and bag of beans for Carmelo Anthony or some other "franchise" player. The best hope for generating that level of player is building up Wall and Beal. Getting them a taste of the playoffs helps, in theory.

*The best hope for adding the needed pieces to make this a contending roster is to make the organization attractive to free agents. Before the season started, I made comparisons to the Golden State Warriors. The dynamic perimeter pairing of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson helped lead the Warriors to a thrilling first-round playoff upset last season. 

*The buzz built from that run eventually led to free agent Andre Igoudala taking the organization seriously as a contender - the big money helped, but Iggy was going to get paid one way or another. With Wall, Beal and a watered down East, that opportunity is there - whether the likes of Andre Miller or Luke Ridnour or Jameer Nelson are added or not.

*The Wizards also have to have resources available this offseason to keep their own - notably center Marcin Gortat and small forward Trevor Ariza - should the team desire,. Based on future roster composition, Gortat is the better bet to stay from the team perspective.

*At this point, the Wizards have ample cap space available for next offseason. The exact amount won't be known for a while. The numbers could fluctuate depending on qualifying offers, player options, next year's cap number, etc. However taking on additional 2014-15 salary could be the difference between adding a significant free agent or two, keeping Gortat, one or the other or none of the above.

*Just about every one of these rumors not involving Detroit big man Greg Monroe involves the Wizards acquiring a backup point guard. That's not an area I think is requires an immediate fix - Garrett Temple's defense and calming influence is continually overlooked. Add a cost-effective ball handler regardless of position, sure. Let's examine the situation all the same.

*You want Miller? He's on the books for $4.6 million next season. That's not crazy money. It's lot for a soon-to-be 38-year-old who doesn't move this season's playoff expectations needle. 

(Update - Upon further review, Miller's contract reportedly is only guaranteed for $2.5 million next season, but $4.6 if retained. We can also note he hasn't played for Denver since December due to a dispute over his role.)

*You want Nelson? Though he's reportedly guaranteed only $2 million next season, Nelson makes over $8 million this season. That means sending enough salary (Ariza?) now to cover the expense and acquire a player who won't receive major minutes playing behind Wall.

*You want Milwaukee's Luke Ridnour or New York's Beno Udrih? Good news is they're both free agents this summer and both would help the offense. Bad news is the Bucks and Knicks aren't looking to give away those often-coveted expiring contracts and, especially with Udrih, the defense would suffer.

Should the Wizards part with rookie Glen Rice Jr. for 28 or so games of Udrih? By the numbers, Washington can deal Vesely for Ridnour, but why would the lottery-bound Bucks simply swap expiring contracts. Nobody mention trading Otto Porter.

*Besides, are there even minutes for additional players? If you're ready to put Temple on the bench next to Maynor, then sure, but we've discussed reasons why a nominal upgrade there could be costly. Wizards coach Randy Wittman has been using 8-9 players for over a month. If anything the rotation will get not tighter, not expand.

In other words, the Wizards aren't realistically ready to take on the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers this season. Therefore making a short-sided move that would hurt the summer of 2014-15 without pushing the current team over the top in the context of the 2014 playoffs would be unwise.

Besides, if under current circumstances the current Wizards can't make the playoffs this year, there are much bigger problems than the backup point guard role - the loss of buzz being one of them.

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