Washington GM Tommy Shepard said last month he had no intention of trading Davis Bertans. Instead, the plan is to re-sign the sharpshooter this summer and make him part of the long-term future in our nation’s capital. All of that echoes what I’ve heard from other teams around the league.
However, that has not stopped teams from picking up the phone and calling, with Boston and Denver joining a group of suitors, reports Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
In addition to the Sixers, Hawks and Lakers, the Celtics and Nuggets have emerged as suitors for Bertans’ services, NBC Sports Washington has learned. Bertans, 27, has enjoyed a breakout season, averaging 15.4 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 43.4 percent from three on 8.6 attempts per game.
Those last numbers are key. Bertans has established himself as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the NBA. He is on an expiring contract and thus has become a key trade target for teams in need of shooting.
All of this brings us back around to the big question in Washington: What are the Wizards’ long-term plans?
They have Bradley Beal (playing at an All-NBA level again), next season they get John Wall back. If the plan is to keep their All-stars, count on growth from rookie Rui Hachimura, and get back to the playoffs next season where they believe they can be a threat, then it makes sense to keep and re-sign Bertans (likely for well above $15 million a season). In that scenario, he could be a foundational player going forward. By all indications, that’s the direction ownership wants to go.
However, if the Wizards aren’t sure they can re-sign Bertans — and he will have plenty of suitors this summer — they may want to trade him now rather than lose him for nothing. He could help jump-start the rebuild the Wizards are trying to avoid.
Bertans has been in street clothes since Dec. 21 due to a quad injury, but he is expected to return to action this weekend (maybe Friday vs. Atlanta). If he is back and playing well, it will just spark the interest of more teams, and if the offers get good enough the Wizards will face a tough choice — one based on the direction they ultimately want to go.