The organization took a small stride recently by making Davis Bertans available in trade talks with select teams, but not to much avail as his 2020-21 campaign, loaded with poor conditioning, shooting woes, and now a nagging calf injury, have decreased his value league-wide in the first year of his five-year/$80 million contact.
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One league source with knowledge of Boston’s plans said Bertans, who is shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the 3-point line on 8.4 attempts per game, was never made available by Washington. The source said reports that he could be acquired for two first-round picks were inaccurate. Also, the fact that Bertans is an unrestricted free agent this summer would have made Boston reluctant to surrender that bounty anyway.
All-Star point guard John Wall sat down with NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller for an upcoming episode of Wizards Talk, and he says he wants to play with the Latvian Laser. Miller asked Wall who has impressed him the most this season during the time he has sat out and watched while recovering from a ruptured left Achilles. “Bertans. I knew he could shoot the ball being with the Spurs, but I never knew he could shoot the ball that well. I think it’s very amazing if I get the opportunity to have him and Brad on both ends at one time,” Wall said.
There is strong interest in Boston in Davis Bertans, who would fill a couple of needs. Bertans could join the frontcourt rotation and juice what has been a brutally bad shooting bench. The Celtics second unit is 28 in three-point shooting, per NBA.com, sandwiched between Minnesota and Cleveland. For a team that makes a living beyond the three-point line … that’s bad. Washington has effectively hung up on teams looking to extract Bertans, but Boston could make things interesting if they throw a pick or two into the pot. Because really … what are they holding on to them for?
Despite hearing his name surface as a trade target for various teams, the 6’10” forward has enjoyed life off the court in Washington and would like to remain there. “It’s a great city,” Bertans told Bleacher Report. “I love that there’s some history. It’s an international city, and at the same time, my wife enjoys it. We’re living downtown. There are a lot of places you can just walk, and you don’t have to drive anywhere. Having a little bit more of a similar feel to how it is back home for us in Latvia because we also live in the capital city downtown and have the opportunity to walk downtown and not be stuck in the car for a half-hour going somewhere.”
Currently, Washington isn’t trying to move Bertans, according to league sources, but is listening to calls from teams that are doing their due diligence and asking what his price tag would be as the trade deadline nears. Several executives around the league believe it would take at least a first-round pick for Washington to part with Bertans.
Although Bertans will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Washington—or a team that trades for him—will hold his Bird rights. That means he can be re-signed while exceeding the salary cap for any amount up to the maximum salary. He is expected to command a $15-17 million average annual salary, according to several NBA executives who spoke with Bleacher Report.
As of now, most executives around the league expect Bertans to remain a Wizard. Despite hearing his name surface as a trade target for various teams, the 6’10” forward has enjoyed life off the court in Washington and would like to remain there. “It’s a great city,” Bertans told Bleacher Report. “I love that there’s some history. It’s an international city, and at the same time, my wife enjoys it. We’re living downtown. There are a lot of places you can just walk, and you don’t have to drive anywhere. Having a little bit more of a similar feel to how it is back home for us in Latvia because we also live in the capital city downtown and have the opportunity to walk downtown and not be stuck in the car for a half-hour going somewhere.”
Washington has so far waved away teams inquiring about Davis Bertans, sources say. A future first-round pick beyond 2021 isn’t doing much to appease Beal. Come with something better and more concrete, and things might change on the Bertans front.
This is a question a lot of league executives are asking these days. Inquiries to Washington have gone nowhere; several executives tell SI.com that the Wizards wouldn’t even discuss a deal. Some teams, though, are holding out hope Washington will make Bertans available before the trade deadline.
Boston—which has had major shooting issues, particularly with the second unit—is interested, and the Celtics could have as many as three No. 1 picks in next June’s draft, including Memphis’s top-six protected selection.
There’s a feeling around the league that the Wizards almost have to shop Bertans, if just to see if there is a contender willing to go wild with draft picks to get him. Bertans has been terrific this season, a prolific three-point shooter, jacking up nearly nine per game, who is among the candidates for the NBA’s Most Improved award. He seems like an ideal fit with a John Wall–Bradley Beal backcourt, the kind of frontcourt player who can open up the floor for both.
Several teams would like Davis Bertans, but the Washington Wizards are very fond of him—not just as a shooter but as a veteran and even as a defender.
One potential target: Wizards forward Davis Bertans, who is averaging 15.4 points and shooting 43.4 percent from the 3-point line. Washington is still telling teams that inquire about Bertans the team intends to keep him in free agency this summer but he would be of interest to L.A. if that changes.
General manager Elton Brand’s first stab at a fix has been scoping the market for more shooters. Embiid is an average shooter and Simmons is a nonshooter. The team’s offense excels with just one of them but gets clunky with them both, so finding players who can space the floor is critical. The Sixers have expressed interest in a long list of wings, including Malik Beasley (Nuggets), Glenn Robinson III (Warriors), Davis Bertans (Wizards), E’Twaun Moore (Pelicans), and Andre Iguodala (Grizzlies), according to multiple league sources.
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.
How much the Wizards will actually entertain offers is unclear. He is one of their best players and the fact he has become one of the best catch-and-shoot scorers in the NBA is particularly enticing given the offensive style they like to play. Many believe Bertans could make $15 million or more annually on his next contract, but the Wizards could pay him that if they choose to with Ian Mahinmi’s $15.5 million salary set to come off the books.
The Wizards will play two of the teams that have targeted Bertans this week, the Celtics and Hawks. Bertans, though, remains out with a right quad injury and will miss at least their game against Boston. That injury is healed to the point Bertans is expected to return soon and likely by the end of the weekend, according to one person familiar with his recovery. If Bertans comes back soon and plays like he did before the injury, the trade interest will only continue to heat up.
Sheppard was asked about Bertans and other players the Wizards brought in over the summer. He praised Bertans, spoke about other players, and then went back to the Latvian Laser to clear something up. “We have every intention of retaining him. He’s the exact type of player we want to have in our organization. I think he wants to be here. Business will take care of itself,” Sheppard said.
“There’s so much chit-chat in this league that gets out there. Most of it is contrived by the teams that would love to have Davis. Well, guess what? One of the teams that would have to have him, has him. We intend to keep him. We’re excited about his growth.”
The Wizards, under first-year GM Tommy Sheppard, are ready to make moves. Davis Bertans is an unrestricted free agent, and his shooting makes him coveted. He will demand a high price in free agency, and the Wizards will try to figure out if they want to try and keep him or get something for him.
The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have acquired forward DeMarre Carroll from the Brooklyn Nets. In the three-team deal, San Antonio sends forward Davis Bertans to Washington and the draft rights to Nemanja Dangubic to Brooklyn, while the Wizards send the draft rights to Aaron White to the Nets.
Bobby Marks: San Antonio would create a trade exception from sending out Davis Bertans to Washington. The exception would allow the Spurs to take back DeMarre Carroll in a sign-and-trade.
But who do you think is considered valued highest/untouchable and who do you think is likely to be traded? Jabari Young: Think right now, Derrick and Dejounte are the only untouchables. And if someone offers a nice deal for Bertans, I think Spurs will bite.
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September 27, 2021 | 10:32 am EDT Update
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