Free agency awaits forward Kevin Seraphin. Is he part of the Wizards’ long term plan?
The John Wall era with the Washington Wizards has been filled with varying degrees of success. For the first three seasons Wall and the Wizards languished in the lottery, failing to record 30 victories in any campaign. But things are on the upswing for the franchise. The team reached the playoffs in 2014, advancing to the second round, and are on pace to notch 56 wins this season.
Things are indeed looking up. For his efforts at the top of the ship, Wall has received the maximum contract, mainstream respect and All-Star recognition fit for a franchise’s leading man.
On the flip side, unheralded forward Kevin Seraphin has been with Wall for each step of the Wizards’ evolution. Seraphin was selected with the No. 17 overall pick of the 2010 draft (Wall was selected No. 1 overall) by the Chicago Bulls and promptly shipped to the Wizards in a draft day deal.
But unlike Wall, Seraphin doesn’t have the same long-term stability. The 25 year old forward is nestled in the lineup behind talented big men Marcin Gortat and Nene, which makes nightly minutes scarce.
Seraphin will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and is currently earning $3.9 million this season. As with most young players, he has an interesting decision to make regarding his free agency. Does he stay in a winning environment where minutes in the rotation are scarce or pursue a more lucrative situation where playing time might be more plentiful?
Seraphin makes it clear he would rather see it through with the Wizards, to see how far the franchise can turn things around after a slow start to his career.
“I’ve been here for five years,” Seraphin told Basketball Insiders. “For sure. For sure I’d like to be here long term, a very long time. Especially now that our team is good. Why wouldn’t I want to be here?
“Right now I’m trying to do my best and go to the playoffs as a team. I know that if we play good as a team that I’ll be fine this summer [in free agency]. So we’re just going to see.”
However, Seraphin readily accepts that the NBA is a business first.
The forward is currently averaging 15.8 minutes per night and putting up seven points and 3.6 rebounds on 55 percent shooting. Those are hardly numbers that would draw large dollar figures in free agency, but Seraphin feels that being a willing and unselfish contributor on a winning team offsets the fact his minutes are lacking.
“I accept [the role],” Seraphin said without hesitation. “Some nights I might play 25 minutes and the next night only nine. It depends based on how Marcin [Gortat] plays. The good thing about coach [Wizards head coach Randy Wittman] is if he sees me getting hot, he’ll leave me on the court. So I’m not complaining.
“That’s just how it is when you play at this higher level. This is a playoff team, a team working to do something. That’s just how it is. If you’re not starting here you just have to accept your role. That’s how good our team is because everybody knows their role and everybody accepts it.”
One thing is for certain. Seraphin has noticed the respect the team has received as of late compared to when the squad was languishing in the league’s basement.
“The crowd support is much better,” Seraphin said. “My first three years were much different. People would be constantly talking trash saying ‘you guys aren’t that good’ and things like that. I hated that because every time I would see people in the street they would just shake their heads.
“But now things are in a good way with the fans, man. People are supporting us everywhere we go. Proud of their Wizards. I love to see that now.”
The Wizards currently have $62 million in guaranteed salaries already on the books for next season. Along with Seraphin, the Wizards will have free agent decisions to make on veterans Andre Miller, Rasual Butler and Drew Gooden.
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