- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tim Frazier played against Washington Wizards star John Wall in high school and later in the NBA, but now they’ll be teammates. Frazier is the latest point guard the Wizards acquired in the search to fill the void behind Wall.

“It’s awesome. You get to play with (Wall and Bradley Beal) and I get to learn from John,” Frazier said. “I’ve been fortunate to play with some good teammates, great players. I’ve been trying to take away as much as I can from them. Now, I get to take away from those guys. I’m excited.”

Frazier was introduced Wednesday a week after the Wizards acquired him from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the 52nd pick in the draft. Frazier is coming off a career-year in which he averaged 23.5 minutes per game and started in 35 games.

The 26-year-old point guard has spent three seasons in the NBA with three different teams: the Pelicans, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Philadelphia 76ers.

“(Wall) had a great year this year and I watched it,” Frazier said. “I just want to help the team get over the hump.”

For a cash-strapped franchise limited in its ability to make roster moves, Frazier might be the most notable acquisition the Wizards make this summer, outside of taking care of their own housekeeping. Washington’s priorities will be to re-sign restricted free agents Otto Porter and Bojan Bogdanovic.

NBA free agency begins at 11:59 p.m. Saturday with teams allowed to talk to agents and negotiate deals.

Blockbuster moves happened all across the NBA on Wednesday with the Los Angeles Clippers trading Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks agreeing to part ways with team president Phil Jackson.

The Paul trade came together, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, because Paul and Rockets star James Harden got together and were determined to play alongside each other. Paul, set to be a free agent, let the Clippers know he would sign with the Rockets once free agency began, so Los Angeles traded him to Houston rather than lose him for nothing.

Like Paul and Harden, Wall would like to have another superstar playing alongside him. He told ESPN’s Marc Spears at the NBA Awards show in New York on Monday that he was trying to recruit disgruntled Indiana Pacers star Paul George to the Wizards.

“But at the end of the day, you always have to get [elite players],” Wall told Spears. “You have to go out swinging. You got to get a yes or a no.”

The Wizards are likely to get a no. The Pacers would be under no obligation to trade George, who is under contract for another year, to the Wizards and the only way for a deal to work is if the Pacers would be interested in a sign-and-trade deal for Porter. Porter, though, could easily kill any deal by signing an offer sheet with another team.

Otherwise, the Wizards don’t have enough assets to entice the Pacers other than Wall and Beal, who are considered untouchable.

Besides, George reportedly has his eyes set on the Los Angeles Lakers once his contract expires in 2018.

So, the Wizards making a big splash this summer is unlikely, unless they trade someone like Marcin Gortat to shed salary. Instead, they will try to build off a 49-win team and a second-round playoff exit internally.

The main question surrounding the Wizards is what Porter’s next contract will be. Since he’s a restricted free agent, it only takes one team to try and sign Porter to a max contract, worth as much as $24.75 million. Washington would have three days to match and it would put the Wizards in a difficult situation. Porter, the third pick in the 2013 draft, had his best season of his career last year, averaging 13.4 pointers per game and shooting 43.4 percent from deep.

The Wizards, historically, have tried to shy away from the NBA’s luxury tax, which punishes teams for exceeding a $119 million payroll. Washington, according to Basketball Insiders, already has nearly $92 million in guaranteed contracts for next season and a max contract would take the Wizards near that edge.

That leaves re-signing Bogdanovic a trickier proposition and there are questions about what his market value will be, too.


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