The Hawks, Knicks, and Suns are expected to be among the top threats to pry unrestricted free agent Davis Bertans away from the Wizards this offseason, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Atlanta is “shaping up to be particularly aggressive,” Hughes writes.
Bertans opted out of the NBA’s restart due to his history of ACL injuries and a desire to preserve his value for his upcoming free agency. Before that, he had enjoyed a career year in 2019/20 during his first season as a Wizard, averaging a career-best 15.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.7 APG in 54 games (29.3 MPG). The 27-year-old also had his best shooting season, making an impressive 42.4% of 8.7 three-point attempts per game.
Bertans’ rare combination of size and shot-making ability will make him an intriguing target for teams seeking a big man who can stretch the floor. Estimates earlier this season suggested that he may be in line for a deal worth in the range of $15-20MM per year. The coronavirus pandemic has created some uncertainty about teams’ financial situations for next season, but Hughes says league sources still expect Bertans to command a salary in that $15MM+ range.
The Hawks project to have the most cap room of any team this offseason, making them a legit threat to make a run at Bertans. The Knicks could also create significant room, depending on how they handle their numerous veterans with non-guaranteed salaries and team options.
The Suns’ cap outlook is cloudier. They have more guaranteed money on their books than Atlanta or New York, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said this week during an appearance on Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta podcast that there have been rumblings that Phoenix intends to reduce its spending. Windhorst cited the sale of the Suns’ G League franchise to the Pistons as evidence of team owner Robert Sarver clamping down on the team’s expenses.
Of course, the Wizards still may be the frontrunner to retain Bertans. They turned down offers for him at the trade deadline, hold his Bird rights, and have long expressed a desire to bring him back on a new deal. Based on the competition they’ll face though, it sounds like they shouldn’t expect to get him back at a discount.