Throughout the NBA playoffs we've been highlighting 2013 free agents playing in the postseason while projecting a possible fit with the Wizards (links to all previous profiles are below). Since we're starting to run out of options, it's time to ponder the entire class of players soon to be seeking a new contract.
Washington currently does not have significant salary cap space for any big-ticket items, but six players on the current roster will hit the open market this summer including Martell Webster, A.J. Price, Garrett Temple and Cartier Martin. Others still on the roster are potential trade candidates. Obviously re-signing some or all of the aforementioned free agents is an option, but those pieces won't solve all their needs. The Wizards have three draft picks, including a first round selection. However, whatever positives rookies might bring will not include NBA experience. That's why we want to know these free agents a little better...
Free agent: Elton Brand, PF, Dallas Mavericks
Vitals: 6-foot-09 254 lbs. Turned 34 in March
Stats: For the first time in his NBA career, the typically point-producing forward did not average in double figures, scoring 7.2 points in 72 games for the Mavericks while playing a career-low 21 minutes per contest. However, Brand provided interior help with a healthy 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. The board work equates to over 10 rebounds per 36 minutes, only the third time in his career he's reached that statistical level. The 14-year veteran is a career 50 percent field goal shooter.
The fit: As mentioned here many, many times, the players and coach Randy Wittman headed into the offseason talking about the team needing veterans and additional scoring punch. Even if Brand's numbers were down last season, his scoring savvy remains intact and his presence won't clog up Wittman's offensive designs; his offensive rating (an estimate of points produced per possession with Brand on the floor) of 105 topped five of his previous seasons and all on the Wizards last season except Webster (115) and John Wall (105). Among Washington's current frontcourt reserves, only Kevin Seraphin provides a true scoring threat, though the 23-year-old lacks Brand's assertive mentality on both ends of the court. Factor in Nene's injury history and the former Dukie could wind up playing decent minutes and receive a comparable number of starts to last season (18).Though he played a smaller on-court role in Dallas, Brand was a "consummate professional who accepted a part-time role, provided a physical presence and an excellent influence in the locker room," according to ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon.
Chances of becoming a Wizard: Should the Wizards draft Anthony Bennett with the No. 3 overall pick, any interest in Brand could evaporate since some consider the UNLV power forward a younger, more athletic version of Brand himself. Then again, Wittman and others believe they have enough youngsters. As for Brand's desires, he expressed interest in extending his stay in Dallas beyond the one season, which came about after the Mavericks acquired him as a $2.1 million amnesty waiver claim. The Wizards have both their mid-level exception ($5.15 million) and the bi-annual exception ($2.016 million) available. The former would seem to pricy considering his age and the role Washington needs filled. The latter might not be enough to entice Brand, who at this stage of his career - and after earning over $145 million - is likely eyeing title contenders.
NBA Free Agent profiles