Wake-up call: Stay or go? Key choices await Wizards in free agency

Wake-up call: Stay or go? Key choices await Wizards in free agency
May 16, 2014, 6:00 am
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Now that the Wizards’ season is over, players may have time off but real work begins for the front office as it has to start making decisions for the 2014-15 season. The Wizards only have a second-round draft pick in June, so any strides they make will have to come through free agency that opens in July. They'll have about $18 million under the salary cap after it gets adjusted upward about $3 million in the offseason:

Marcin Gortat: An unrestricted free agent, he’ll get a bump over his $7.7 million  salary. With so few quality centers available, the unreliable health of Nene and the way Gortat looked when he’s engaged, he’ll be in demand. Besides, if Gortat leaves the Wizards don’t have a true starting center on the roster. Status: Likely will return. The Wizards plan on keeping him, Gortat already has indicated his intentions to stay and realizes he can flourish in tandem with John Wall. It’ll take about $10 million per to keep him, and he also issued this caveat Friday: He has to be more of an option in the offense and not be relied on just to get his points on hustle plays. 

Trevor Ariza: An unrestricted free agent, he is coming off his best season and his value is at the highest of his career. Ariza wants to cash in and play for a contender.  The second part of that made it appear that Ariza might not want to play here another season. Status: 50-50. The Wizards want to keep him and are willing to pay him because he’s still their best defender and Otto Porter isn’t ready to take his place. Ariza made $7.7 million. 

Drew Gooden: Signed originally to a 10-day contract Feb 26, then another before being retained for the season, Gooden wants to be here and the Wizards will try to keep him. Teams that are in championship contention that can use a veteran big man, however, will come calling. Status: Will return. The Wizards will reward him, and Gooden, who has insisted that he will give the franchise priority, has roots in the area having moved to D.C. before signing here.

Andre Miller: Acquired in a Feb. 20 trade, he has been the perfect complement to Wall and doesn’t have to score to positively impact the outcome of a game. Status: Will return. The Wizards have the option to pick up the next year on his deal at $4.6 million that is affordable and gives them stability at what had been a trouble spot most of this season. Miller wants Washington to be his final destination before retirement. 

Al Harrington: Signed as a free agent in August, Harrington had a rocky start because of a troublesome right knee that required another surgery and forced him to sit 47 games. He returned after the All-Star break and while his play has been spotty he has made a major impact in games and the locker room. Status: Uncertain. It depends on his health. Harrington has to rehab his right knee over the summer and will get surgery on his left shoulder before making a decision.

RELATED: [Harrington will assess future after shoulder surgery]

Trevor Booker: A restricted free agent, he was the reason the Wizards stayed afloat with the multiple injuries to Nene particularly those 21 games between Feb. 23-April 9. Status: Likely to return. He complements Nene well, and given the Brazilian’s health issues depth here is key.

Kevin Seraphin: A restricted free agent, he had a puzzling season. He had a dreadful stretch in November that knocked him out of the rotation, played his way back in because of his offensive capabilities and injuries, appeared to be a mainstay again but fell out in late February when Gooden came aboard.  Status: Uncertain. Size is necessary and because of that Seraphin has value. If the price-tag gets too high, however, it's doubtful that the Wizards will match. And Seraphin made it clear Friday that he wants to play. If the Wizards go for size with their second-round draft pick, that could settle matters for Seraphin if they retain Gortat, too.

Garrett Temple: An unrestricted free agent, he fell out of favor with Miller’s acquisition but has been important because of his size at 6-6 and ball-handling ability.  Even though he played little in the postseason, he can be used as a defensive stopper which makes him a fit. Status: Likely returns. He doesn’t cost much, about $1 million though he could get a comparable offer elsewhere. 

Glen Rice: A second-round draft pick last summer, Rice last appeared in a game Dec. 14, and then he had to have surgery on his right shooting wrist to repair a hairline fracture.  Although he was healthy, the Wizards made roster moves for vets that pushed him out of the picture and Rice wasn’t activated for most of the season after this. In between, he was optioned twice to the D-League. Status: Will return. The Wizards have a team option for the second year of his deal and the cost is minimal ($816,000).

Chris Singleton: A first-round draft pick in 2011, his season was delayed by a broken foot as he missed all of training camp. But the writing was on the wall when the team didn’t pick up his fourth-year option before the season. Singleton was given a chance to play after Jan Vesely was traded Feb. 20. His best moment came Feb. 27 when he played a significant role with a season-high 13 points and nine rebounds in a 134-129 triple OT victory at the Toronto Raptors.  However, he quickly fizzled after that as Singleton appeared in the fewest games of his three-year career (25) and wasn’t activated for the postseason. Status: Won’t return.