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NBA Free Agency: Top Available Wing Joining Lottery Team



NBA Free Agency: Top Available Wing Joining Lottery Team

The Washington Wizards have reached a three-year, $20 million contract to poach free agent small forward Saddiq Bey from the Atlanta Hawks this summer, his agents at Excel Sports, James Dunleavy and Jordan Gertler, inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Bey suffered a torn left ACL this past March, and will most likely miss a significant portion of 2024-25 as he recuperates from the ailment. With Bey sidelined late into the 2023-24 season, the Hawks stumbled to a 36-46 overall record and the Eastern Conference’s No. 10 seed, falling to the Chicago Bulls during its Play-In Tournament appearance.

The 6-foot-7 Villanova product, a 2021 All-Rookie First Teamer while with the Detroit Pistons, toiled in the Motor City from 2020-21 through the midway point of the 2022-23 season, when he was dealt to the Hawks.

Saddiq Bey #41 of the Atlanta Hawks goes to the basket against Jordan Goodwin #4 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half at FedExForum on March 08, 2024 in Memphis, Tennessee. Bey is jumping…

Justin Ford/Getty Images

During his first (and, for now, last) full season in Atlanta, the 25-year-old swingman averaged 13.7 points on .416/.316/.837 shooting splits, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.8 steals a night, while starting in 51 of his 63 available bouts.

His health may have depreciated his value as a free agent this summer. Had Bey not been hurt, it seems likely Atlanta would have picked up his $8.49 million qualifying offer and made him a restricted free agent, which would have given the Hawks the ability to match any offer tendered his way by a rival team. Instead, given his probably lengthy needed recovery time and uncertain post-surgery future, Atlanta allowed him to reach unrestricted free agency.

During their brutal 15-67 run in 2023-24, former Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. essentially fired himself, moving into a front office role. Washington replaced Unseld with interim head coach Brian Keefe, who evidently showed enough to team ownership that the club removed the “interim” tag this offseason.

The Wizards have added several solid new players this offseason, and though they may not be world-beaters anytime soon, they generally seem to have made some massive personnel upgrades. Washington used the No. 2 pick in this June’s 2024 NBA Draft to select high-upside power forward/center Alex Sarr, and traded into the No. 14 pick, which the team used on former Pittsburgh point guard Carlton Carrington.

The rights to draft Carrington were part of a return package from the Portland Trail Blazers (the Wizards offloaded former lottery pick small forward Deni Avdija in the deal) that also landed the Wizards 2023 Sixth Man of the Year point guard Malcolm Brogdon, who should help stabilize the team’s playmaking in the short-term. Washington also added some future draft equity in the trade beyond this season, by acquiring Portland’s 2029 first round selection and two future Portland second round draft selections.