The former first-round draft pick has been frustratingly inconsistent in his five NBA campaigns – all with the Washington Wizards — but he is still a 25-year-old with intriguing potential who wasn’t given steady playing time the last two seasons.
“We stay on him because we know how good he can be, and I think sometimes he doesn’t realize how talented he really is,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said of the 6-foot-10 Seraphin in January. “I tell him all the time, ‘I’m going to give you the ball, and in my opinion no one can guard you in the post.’ ”
Seraphin, however, is still a free agent. The (possibly former) Wizards big man is one of the top players left on the market and the Wizards, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are interested in his services, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Seraphin was the Wizards’ best low-post scoring option last season but was prone to unforced errors and lapses on both ends of the floor. He averaged 6.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in just 15.6 minutes per game as Marcin Gortat’s primary backup at center. His top priority, which he has made abundantly clear, remains to join a team that will grant him consistent and ample playing time. Joining a team as a starter is unlikely at this juncture, but he wants to log 25-28 minutes per game and become a steady contributor.
He probably won’t have that opportunity in Washington based on the Wizards’ current situation. The Wizards’ 15-man roster is full. That, of course, could change — Washington could find a way to dump a player and re-sign Seraphin.
But then there’s also the expected change in the Wizards’ style of play. Washington plans on fielding small-ball lineups more consistently throughout the season, which means using Drew Gooden III and trade pickup Jared Dudley as stretch-fours. Dudley’s back surgery could delay the full all-out transition, but that will only be initially. Seraphin’s mid-range jumper became a reliable weapon last season but he’s 0 for 3 from beyond the three-point arc for his career so a sudden stretch-four transformation would be a stretch, at least in Washington.
The Knicks’ and Lakers’ scenarios are not as complicated. Both teams have room on their rosters for Seraphin and, presumably, more playing time to offer. Robin Lopez is the only player listed as a center on the Knicks’ roster and the Lakers’ front court is uncertain beyond Roy Hibbert and Julius Randle – Coach Byron Scott recently said even Kobe Bryant could play some power forward in certain matchups.
Other teams were previously interested in Seraphin, who is slated to play for the French national team at EuroBasket in September. The Oklahoma City Thunder viewed him as a possible fall-back option if they did not re-sign Enes Kanter, and he’s declined various offers from other organizations, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. At this point, a one-year deal – and the opportunity to jump back into another loony free agent market next summer after a season to prove himself – is likelier than a long-term pact.
Where that will be remains to be seen.