The Washington Wizards have very little salary cap space to cause any fireworks thanks to a reckless amount of spending three years ago. That leaves Tommy Sheppard with somewhat limited options to put together a roster for the 2019-20 season. He’s gotten creative by buying into the second round for Admiral Schofield and signing undrafted free agent Justin Robinson. Then he and his staff made a trade for Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones.
Serving as interim team president, Sheppard has made it clear that the Wizards are prioritizing their restricted free agents, namely Thomas Bryant and Tomas Satoransky. Minutes into the moratorium portion of free agents, Washington re-signed Bryant to a three-year, $25 million contract fully guaranteed. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the deal.
In 72 games for Washington last season, Bryant averaged 10.5 points on 61.6 percent shooting and 6.3 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game. In 53 games as a starter, Bryant averaged 11.4 points on 63 percent shooting and 7.1 rebounds in 23 minutes per game. There are some concerns about his below average play on defense, but hope that his work ethic will help him improve in the area.
The Wizards still have the now expiring contracts of Ian Mahinmi ($15.5 million) and Dwight Howard ($5.6 million) because of the generosity of Ernie Grunfeld, but Bryant will be penciled in as the opening night starter. Bryant was part of a close-knit core that included Bradley Beal and Troy Brown Jr. last season. The trio could now see themselves starting together for the foreseeable future.
Because Washington only held Bryant’s Early Bird Rights, they could only offer him a Year 1 salary of $9.5 million, the average NBA player salary. If the Wizards went the traditional contract route with 8% raises, Bryant’s cap hit would be $7.7 million in 2019-20, $8.3 million in 2020-21, and $9 million in 2021-22. The organization loves the drive and motivation of the soon to be 22-year old next month and believe he will fully live up to and exceed this contract.
Now the team turns their attention to Tomas Satoransky who is a top point guard available after the signings of Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn), Kemba Walker (Boston), Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana), Terry Rozier (Charlotte), Ricky Rubio (Phoenix), George Hill (Milwaukee), D’Angelo Russell (Golden State), and Patrick Beverley (Los Angeles Clippers). The likes of Elfrid Payton, and Delon Wright also remain available for now.