The Washington Wizards and free-agent swingman Alan Anderson have agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. The signing, which comes after David West's decision to take less money to sign with the San Antonio Spurs, won't be official until the NBA moratorium is lifted Thursday.
Anderson will receive part of Washington's midlevel exception, which is worth a total of $5.464 million. The rest, approximately $1.464 million, can be used to sign another player. The Wizards have one vacancy on their 15-man roster.
Anderson, 32, has established himself as a solid rotation piece after going undrafted out of Michigan State in 2005 and playing four seasons overseas. He spent the past two campaigns with the Brooklyn Nets and averaged 7.3 points while shooting 34.3 percent from 3-point range. He became a free agent after declining a player option that would have paid him $1.3 million next season.
The acquisition falls into line with Washington's offseason plan. The Wizards entered free agency with two priorities: bringing back Paul Pierce and acquiring versatile pieces. Pierce chose to join the Los Angeles Clippers over the Wizards on the first day of free agency, but Washington has been able to diversify its roster since his departure.
First, the Wizards acquired forward Jared Dudley from the Milwaukee Bucks for a future second-round pick to fill the void left by Pierce. Then they agreed to a one-year deal with guard Gary Neal (Towson University, Aberdeen, Calvert Hall) to supply bench scoring. And in Anderson, they have a stout defender at 6 feet 6 and 230 pounds who can guard multiple positions.
With the trio joining Otto Porter Jr., Bradley Beal and Garrett Temple on the roster, Washington can ease rookie Kelly Oubre Jr.'s development without sacrificing future financial flexibility — all three veteran additions will be free agents next summer.
The cast also supplies coach Randy Wittman with options to counter a variety of lineups, big and small. As the NBA shifts toward smaller lineups and places a greater emphasis on shooting and spacing, the Wizards were one of a few teams in the league to regularly start a traditional frontcourt last season. They made adjustments in the playoffs, but foiling small-ball lineups was a problem in the regular season.
"Obviously, playing small is successful for us, playing faster," Wittman said in his exit interview with the media in May. "Those are the things that I want to try to improve this team moving forward with. Being able to play smaller, being able to play faster. This team proved that in the playoffs because we played smaller than we were able to. Now, we've got to be able to have the pieces to do that in the regular season."