NBA Rumor: Davis Bertans Free Agency

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The Valmiera, Latvia native was the Wizards’ number one offseason target, according to general manager Tommy Sheppard. Washington went into free agency on Friday hoping to strike a new deal with Bertans first and foremost. “We have been adamant that our top offseason priority was to re-sign Davis, so we are thrilled to accomplish that goal and have him on board as part of the winning environment we’re continuing to build,” Sheppard said. “He is not only an elite shooter, he’s a great addition to our community and we saw last season how his ability to spread the floor, overall basketball IQ and competitive spirit make him an ideal fit for our style of play.”

Teams planning sign-and-trade offers for Davis Bertans

The Washington Wizards have made re-signing forward Davis Bertans their No. 1 offseason goal, but if they can’t pull it off, they may have another option instead of letting him go outright. Multiple teams without the cap room to sign Bertans are preparing to make sign-and-trade offers in free agency, NBC Sports Washington has learned. That is in addition to the teams that have the cap room to fit his salary without a trade.

The teams were not specified, though one source said there are two Eastern Conference teams and one from the West who are interested in sign-and-trade scenarios involving Bertans. That is along with at least three teams – the Hawks, Knicks and Suns included – expected to target Bertans early in free agency using their cap room, as NBC Sports Washington previously reported. Though the teams looking at a sign-and-trade are not known, the dots could possibly be connected to those who were interested in Bertans before the trade deadline. That list included the Celtics, Lakers and Nuggets.

Scotto on the Hawks: At a certain point, they’ve got a lot of young talent as it is. They’ve got Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, and Trae Young. You’ve got to get some veteran guys in there to help them, and that team gets to the next level. My sense is the Hawks want to try to get somewhere in the 30s in terms of wins next year and improve in free agency. I look for them to be a team in the mix for shooting and guys like Davis Bertans and Joe Harris.

Bertans’ agent, Arturs Kalnitis, explained why his client chose not to play. “To be completely honest, Davis was prepared to play and then he made a last-minute decision to sit out,” Kalnitis told HoopsHype. “We’re playing the cards that we were dealt. When the NBA announced that players who sit out wouldn’t face consequences and would just lose 1 percent of their salary for each game missed, we sat down to discuss this. Davis is about to sign the biggest deal of his life, so he would be taking a big risk by playing. It wasn’t a tough decision, to be honest. If the Wizards were in the fifth or sixth seed (or maybe even the eighth seed), it would be completely different. Davis is a competitor. But in this situation, he decided to sit out.”

Kalnitis said that the Wizards were very understanding when Bertans informed them of his decision. “Davis and [GM] Tommy Sheppard have been talking on a daily basis,” Kalnitis said. “The Wizards have known about Davis’ decision for a few days, and Davis told his teammates before it was reported too. They have been so supportive. Tommy is the best. I really like his work, and he and Davis have a special connection. I wasn’t there when Davis informed Tommy and the Wizards of his decision, but Davis told me that they had a pleasant conversation and they were very supportive.”

I’ve been told that getting a big man who can shoot is one of the things the Knicks hope to do in the offseason. I don’t know if that means they are only looking for that player in free agency, or if they would look to draft a shooting big with one of their three draft picks. I believe they want to improve their spacing and have heard the two players you named above mentioned – RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. My opinion is that Danilo Gallinari will be considered. I haven’t heard anything on Davis Bertans, which doesn’t necessarily mean the Knicks don’t have interest in him. New York would need to offer Bertans a significant contract to pry him in free agency. The Wizards have Bertans’ Bird Rights and can exceed the cap to re-sign him at any amount up to his max salary.

I’ve been told that getting a big man who can shoot is one of the things the Knicks hope to do in the offseason. I don’t know if that means they are only looking for that player in free agency, or if they would look to draft a shooting big with one of their three draft picks. I believe they want to improve their spacing and have heard the two players you named above mentioned – RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. My opinion is that Danilo Gallinari will be considered. I haven’t heard anything on Davis Bertans, which doesn’t necessarily mean the Knicks don’t have interest in him. New York would need to offer Bertans a significant contract to pry him in free agency. The Wizards have Bertans’ Bird Rights and can exceed the cap to re-sign him at any amount up to his max salary.

Wizards keeping Shabazz Napier?

John Wall’s return significantly elevates expectations surrounding the Wizards next season and will make the team’s offseason decision-making process that much more important. In the case of Napier and Bertans, Washington’s general manager Tommy Sheppard talked highly of both in a Q&A with Dave Johnson Thursday. “I think with [Napier and Bertans], when we acquired them not as rentals we acquired them to stay here,” Sheppard said. “I think the players that we acquired, they’re here to show that they can be here for the future. With Davis and Shabazz, they showed enough to us that certainly we would love to retain them. We plan to.”

Washington will operate as an over-the-cap team this summer, even though it could technically carve out about $15 million if the cap hit its original 2020-21 projection of $115 million. Thing is: It’s probably not climbing so high now — and even if it did, the Wizards don’t want to dip so low below it. They are determined to bring back Dāvis Bertāns, a 27-year-old free agent who will likely command a multi-year deal. And to hold onto his Bird rights, which allow them to go over the cap to sign him, they need to keep his cap hold on the books, which adds another $13.3 million to the team’s cap sheet. And thus, the Wizards would be right up against the cap, enough so that there are intrinsic advantages for them to operate a little bit over it.

One name I doubt you’ll hear on the trade market: Davis Bertans. Some have speculated that Washington’s deep-bombing stretch forward could be on the market ahead of his unrestricted free agency, but all signals indicate the Wizards intend to re-sign the Latvian forward – who, at 27, is still young enough to be part of Washington’s next iteration. A further smoke signal – Washington’s recent 2-way signing of Anzejs Pasecniks. A 7-1 center who was a former first-round pick of the Sixers, Pasecniks had shown just modest production in the G League, but is a fellow Latvian who shares an agent with Bertans.

“Yeah, I’m happy here,” he told The Athletic. “(I’m) playing a lot. I’ve been enjoying it here. The family loves the city. I would definitely be happy to stay here for a longer time.” And as always, it’s not just about basketball. “(D.C.) is just more something closer to home, like a little international, European style,” said Bertāns, who is from Latvia. “There’s some history that not a lot of cities in the States have. And then when you’re downtown, everything is walking distance. That’s about it. My family loves it here. So, that’s a big part. … Happy wife, happy life.”

Davis Bertans wants to stay in DC

And according to Bertans’ longtime agent, Arturs Kalnitis, the appreciation is mutual. “Tommy [Sheppard] has done an incredible job of putting together this staff, team, and the players feel super cared about. It’s been an all-around great experience,” Kalnitis said in a phone interview last week. “After Davis’ first two weeks with the team, he called me and said, ‘This is great.’ “Davis is super confident in Washington and this situation really allows him to showcase his abilities. If he stays in D.C. next season they’ll have an even more interesting dynamic with John [Wall] healthy. Davis truly believes they can be a force in the East so I’m sure that will be a strong point for him,” Kalnitis added. “Winning is important.”

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December 2, 2020 | 9:41 pm EST Update