With Davis Bertans’ decision to sit out the rest of the 2019-20 regular season to preserve his health for free agency, it is now officially time to talk about his future.
He is set to be an unrestricted free agent when the market opens in October and the Wizards want to keep him. What keeping him could entail, though, is a bit murky with the uncertainty of how free agency will be affected by the league’s months-long shutdown due to coronavirus.
There are going to be teams with less money to spend after being squeezed by the league shutdown. The salary cap could also be lowered for the 2020-21 season due to lost revenue.
The Wizards will be able to exceed the salary cap to sign Bertans, if they choose, due to the fact he has Bird Rights. But they also can’t negotiate an extension with him until the offseason, since he is playing on a two-year deal which he signed with the Spurs in the summer of 2018.
There has been debate for months about how much Bertans will command in free agency. There were reports he could top $15 million annually. But whatever the number is, it will likely be lower than it otherwise would have been, given the financial constraints inflicted by coronavirus.
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It could help the Wizards in the sense other teams won’t have the deep pockets they would have had. But it could also hurt them in that their total salary cap number will lower, and they are already working within a landscape that includes John Wall and Bradley Beal on big contracts.
The upcoming free-agent class isn’t considered a deep one, but there are some players who may rank ahead of Bertans at his position. Some forwards set to be available include Danilo Gallinari, Gordon Hayward, Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris. Teams looking for shooting could turn to Evan Fournier or Joe Harris.
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Bertans’ decision to sit out could be seen several different ways as it pertains to the Wizards. For one, a player they really want to keep is preserving himself from injury, which is good. He has two ACL tears in his history and, if he were to injure himself in the home stretch of this season, would put the Wizards in a difficult spot. They rebuffed offers from other teams leading up to the trade deadline and in doing so bet a lot on their ability to both sign Bertans and make him a big piece of their future.
Bertans not playing, though, will affect their chances of making the playoffs. He is their second-best scorer and will be hard to replace. And making matters potentially worse is the league’s new rule for draft lottery odds within the restart format.
Basically, the Wizards can hurt their lottery odds, but can’t help them. Not having Bertans increases the likelihood they are negatively affected by the rule.
The main takeaways from Bertans’ decision, though, are for the long-term. And now that he has made his decision known, it’s fair to wonder if any other players in a similar spot will follow his lead.
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