After years of speculation about a return to D.C. for Kevin Durant, the Wizards have all but conceded that a Durant signing isn’t in the cards, and have moved on in their free agency plans, as we heard on Monday. And according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com, one of the top targets next up on Washington’s wish list is veteran sharpshooter Ryan Anderson. Michael reports that the Wizards will “make an aggressive move” in the hopes of securing Anderson when free agency begins.
Anderson, a former 21st overall pick, has only played more than 66 games once in a season, but is coming off a solid year for the Pelicans. He averaged 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, to go along with a shooting line of .427/.366/.873. Anderson’s ability to score from outside despite his 6’10” frame will make him a coveted free agent this summer.
According to Michael, Anderson is expected to wait for Durant’s decision before making a decision of his own, since many of the same teams currently in pursuit of KD could turn their attention to Anderson if they miss out on Plan A.
While the Wizards intend to be aggressive in their pursuit of Anderson, he’ll have plenty of other suitors and he won’t come cheap. As Michael writes, one general manager recently told him that Anderson could land a deal in the range of $17MM annually. Given the impending salary cap spike, something closer to a maximum-salary contract for the 28-year-old isn’t out of the realm of possibility. If the bidding goes that high, it would be problematic for the Wizards, says Michael.
Outside of the Wizards, teams expected to be among the contenders for Anderson include the Rockets, who reportedly hope to land one of Anderson, Durant, Hassan Whiteside, and Al Horford; and the Kings, who are said to have Anderson and Courtney Lee at or near the top of their list of free agent targets.
The Wizards are believed to have made a strong push to acquire Anderson from the Pelicans via trade at the deadline in February, but Washington didn’t want to give up the first-round pick that ultimately wound up going to Phoenix in the Markieff Morris deal, according to an April report from TNT’s David Aldridge.