When NBA free agency begins Sunday evening, the Washington Wizards will have plenty of roster spots to fill. On Wednesday, however, the team checked an item off its to-do list by extending qualifying offers to point guard Tomas Satoransky and center Thomas Bryant.
The Wizards also plan to extend a qualifying offer to forward Bobby Portis, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
With these moves, the players can become restricted free agents Sunday, which will give the Wizards the right to match any offer they receive from another team. Though offers may have been anticipated by all parties involved, they signal the Wizards’ willingness to bring back several players who either impacted the rotation last season or stepped into the starting lineup in place of injured stars.
In his third season with the Wizards, Satoransky, 27, enjoyed a career year with averages of 8.9 points, 5.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds. After all-star John Wall required surgery to remove bone spurs and later to repair his ruptured left Achilles’ tendon, Satoransky started 54 games and solidified the backcourt with Bradley Beal amid constant change.
Bryant, whom the Wizards claimed off waivers before the start of last season, emerged as one of the team’s biggest surprises. Veteran big man Dwight Howard underwent season-ending surgery in late November, and the 21-year-old Bryant started 53 games at the center position. Bryant scored a career-best 31 points on 14-for-14 shooting in a Dec. 22 game. He became the fourth player in NBA history to finish a game perfect from the field with that many shot attempts.
Although Portis, 24, arrived in Washington ahead of the February trade deadline and appeared in only 28 games for the Wizards, he became one of the team’s most reliable rebounders (8.6) and an accurate, if economical, three-point shooter (40.3 percent on 4.3 attempts per game). Portis averaged 14.3 points while mostly playing starter’s minutes, although he did come off the bench for six games.
As an upcoming free agent, Portis has attracted attention from almost every team in the Eastern Conference as well as several Western Conference teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks, according to a person with knowledge of the interested teams.
If a player signs a qualifying offer, it does not limit his choices on the open market. The player is allowed to sign an offer sheet from another team, which can be matched by the Wizards. Or, the restricted free agent and the Wizards can come to terms on a different deal.