The Wizards have found themselves in a place they haven't been really since 2010 and that is in search of a starting point guard. In 2010, they drafted John Wall who starred at the position for many years before he was traded for Russell Westbrook last December. But now that Westbrook is gone, the Wizards have an unfamiliar hole to fill.
They will enter free agency on Monday, Aug. 2 with the mid-level exception as their best resource. That will allow them to sign somebody for up to four years on a deal that begins as high as $9.5 million in the first season. That will likely put them out of reach of signing the top guys like Chris Paul, Mike Conley Jr. and Kyle Lowry. But it will probably be enough to find someone capable of starting for a decent team.
With that in mind, here are five options they could explore in free agency...
2020-21 stats: 55 G, 31.8 mpg, 14.6 ppg, 5.7 apg, 4.8 rpg, 1.5 spg, 41.4% FG (5.3/12.7), 37.8% 3PT (3.1/8.3), 78.1 FT%
This could be a fairly big reach depending on his asking price, and he is also a restricted free agent. But if the Wizards could somehow swing getting him, he would be an ideal fit for their newly-renovated roster. Ball, still only 23, does a lot of things that would help. He can run an offense, is a good rebounder for his position and can defend. He's also a much better shooter than many likely realize, as he's improved his three-point shooting and effective field goal percentage each year he's been in the league.
Last season with the Pelicans, Ball shot 37.8% from three on 8.3 attempts per game. He made 3.1 threes per game, more than any Wizards player did last year. Ball would help tie together what the Wizards already have, but it also seems likely he will be out of their price range, as he made $11 million last year and could earn much more than that on his next deal.
2020-21 stats: 50 G, 25.6 mpg, 14.7 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.6 rpg, 1.0 spg, 47.0% FG (5.7/12.2), 38.8% 3PT (1.0/2.6), 86.6 FT%
Rose would be a more realistic option than Ball, as he made $7.5 million last season and will turn 33 before the next one begins. He would give the Wizards someone who can penetrate off the dribble and open the offense up for their shooters. Last season, he played well for a Knicks team that made the playoffs while shooting a career-best 38.8% from three.
If Rose played for the Wizards, it would complete the triumvirate of super athletic point guards from the previous generation of NBA stars. They had Wall and Westbrook, while Rose was similarly electric in his prime. Though he isn't the MVP he used to be, Rose is still an effective player. The Wizards have also showed some interest in him in the past.
2020-21 stats: 67 G, 23.0 mpg, 10.7 ppg, 3.1 apg, 2.9 rpg, 0.6 spg, 45.0% FG (3.9/8.7), 43.3% 3PT (1.8/4.2), 81.7 FT%
After a huge postseason for the Clippers, Jackson figures to get a raise from the $2.3 million he made last year, but whether it will be too much for the Wizards to handle is difficult to ascertain. If they can afford him, he would make sense as a willing defender who has developed into a reliable three-point shooter. Jackson shot a career-best 43.3% from three last season and with decent volume at 4.2 attempts per game.
Jackson would also bring playoff experience and a veteran steadiness to the team. He has never been a high assists guy, but perhaps could be in the Wizards' offense alongside Bradley Beal. Jackson also started most games for the Clippers last season and they made it all the way to the conference finals. You can win with him.
2020-21 stats: 68 G, 24.8 mpg, 10.8 ppg, 2.4 apg, 1.7 rpg, 0.6 spg, 41.2% FG (3.7/9.0), 37.5% 3PT (2.4/6.3), 91.0 FT%
Mills made $13.5 million last season and has played for the Spurs since 2011, so neither him leaving or signing within the Wizards' budget are guaranteed. But he turns 33 right after free agency and the last contract he signed was when he was 28. If the price does come down, Mills would give the Wizards another shooter and would bring some speed to their offense. He's a career 38.8% shooter from three, last year knocking down 37.5% with excellent volume at 6.3 attempts per game.
Mills, though, isn't much of a distributor and has never been a full-time starter. The most he's ever started in a season is 36 games back in 2017-18 and his second-most starts in a given season is eight. So, maybe Mills would be best in a platoon situation with Aaron Holiday or on a roster where Beal is the primary ball-handler like James Harden was in Houston. But if the Wizards want to double-down on shooting, Mills could help.
2020-21 stats: 3 G, 21.3 mpg, 6.7 ppg, 3.0 apg, 4.3 rpg, 0.7 spg, 37.5% FG (2.0/5.3), 28.6% 3PT (0.7/2.3), 1.000 FT%
This possibility is complicated by the fact Dinwiddie suffered a partially torn ACL in late December, the same injury Thomas Bryant is coming back from. Bryant is not expected to be ready when the season begins, so if Dinwiddie is in the same boat, that would mean two rotation players - possibly starters - not being in the lineup to start out the year. Dinwiddie was also not an efficient shooter even when healthy.
That said, Dinwiddie would present potentially high reward for the price if he's healthy and the Wizards could see a fit with the rest of their personnel. Two seasons ago, he was averaging 20.7 points and 6.8 assists per game. Those numbers were countered with a 41.5 field goal percentage and 30.8% clip from three, but he's also a solid defensive player and the hard-working type that helped build the Brooklyn Nets' culture. Signing him would be risky, but you could see the reasoning.