The Washington Wizards are shuffling through the deck looking for primed free agents. After missing out on a key contributor Mike Scott, and free agent targets Nerlens Noel, the Wizards are targeting a group of veteran options. Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reports Jamal Crawford, Luc Mbah a Moute, Dante Cunningham and Willie Reed are targets of the Wizards.
Day 3 into free agency and some of the #Wizards's targets are coming into focus:
Washington expressed interest in Jamal Crawford, Luc Mbah a Moute, Dante Cunningham and Willie Reed.
All these players were pretty much July 1 calls.
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) July 3, 2018
Washington recently acquired guard Austin Rivers from the Los Angeles Clippers for Marcin Gortat, so adding another guard like Jamal Crawford seems puzzling, initially. The Wizards’ backcourt is crowded with Rivers and Tomas Satoransky serving as primary backups to the dynamic duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal. However, keep in mind Jodie Meeks, who opted into his player option will serve a remaining 19 games of a 25-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program.
Still Crawford is a 34.9 percent career three-point shooter, who has averaged around 17 points or more per 36 minutes. Adding him to the mix would make an already solid backcourt better.
The other options fill more pressing needs for the Wizards. Luc Mbah a Moute is a high-quality shooting combo forward. Last season with the Rockets he shot 36.4 percent from three and the season before with the Clippers he shot 39.1 percent. The common denominator was the great passing and spacing created by Chris Paul. With the Wizards, Mbah a Moute would have the luxury of playing with a younger and more athletic Wall, who may be the premier space creator in the NBA right now. Mbah a Moute would be an ideal replacement for Scott.
Dante Cunningham fits the same build as Mbah a Moute. Last season Cunningham split his time with New Orleans and Brooklyn and shot 34.5 percent from three in 73 total games. Granted it was not at the volume of Mbah a Moute, but he shows the potential of knocking down the three. Mbah a Moute should be the first choice if picking between the two.
Willie Reed would plug a need at center that was created with the trading of Gortat. Washington seems to have the plan of having a rotation at center with some of the bigger named centers no longer available. Reed, 28, has played in limited time throughout his three seasons in the NBA, but he has shown flashes of good play in spurts. He averages 14.3 point and 11 rebounds per 37 minutes throughout his career.
However, he does come with some baggage. After signing a one-year deal with the Clippers last season he was traded to the Detroit Pistons as part of the Blake Griffin deal. Reed played three games before he was suspended six games by the NBA stemming from an August 2017 domestic violence incident with his wife. The Pistons traded him to the Chicago Bulls, who immediately waived him.
Additionally, the Buckner reports that point guard Ty Lawson is still potentially in the mix to return. Lawson spent last season playing in China before joining the Wizards before their first-round series in the playoffs against Toronto. He quickly moved to the primary backup to Wall and averaged 5.8 points and three assists in 19.2 minutes per game.
The Wizards have also been linked to free agent forwards Jeff Green and Thomas Robinson. At this point, the Wizards will patiently continue to work through the shrinking options to improve their roster.