The Wizards have agreed to re-sign free-agent forward Martell Webster, according to multiple reports.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Webster will receive a four-year contract worth $22 million, although the final season is only partially guaranteed. The Washington Post confirmed the agreement. The Wizards will use their mid-level exception to complete the deal.
Webster, 26, averaged a career-high 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the Wizards last season. Retaining the starting small forward was the Wizards' No. 1 priority in free agency, according to Yahoo! Sports.
"It’s very reassuring," Webster said of the deal, according to the Washington Post. "I’m secure. My family is happy about the situation. So glad to be here."
Webster, an eight-year pro who entered the NBA straight from high school, has never delivered on the potential that made him the No. 6 pick in the 2005 draft. Blessed with a gorgeous shooting stroke, he connected on a career-best 42.2 percent of his three-pointers last season, and he fits nicely as a floor spacer alongside the Wizards' backcourt of the future, John Wall and Bradley Beal.
The questions around Webster have always been about his confidence, consistency and health. Last year, he bounced back from two injury-plagued seasons with the Timberwolves to play a career-high 2,200 minutes over 76 games. He seemed to be a player who finally found a comfortable situation and a stable role. Webster is a capable defender who can guard multiple positions, and he should pair nicely at small forward with 2013 first-round pick Otto Porter Jr. over the next few years. However, it's a matter of when, not if, the rookie will push to take over the starting job.
Porter's addition and Webster's agreement combine to make Trevor Ariza, who is entering the final year of his contract, fully expendable. This deal gets cast in a more favorable light if the Wizards are able to flip Ariza's contract for a useful asset.
The free-agent negotiating period opened on Monday. Contracts can't be signed until July 10. GRADE: C. Washington's excitement in retaining Webster is understandable, but a little more restraint was in order. Webster has never posted an above-average Player Efficiency Rating and he's missed good chunks of three seasons with serious injuries. What's more, Webster has undergone two back surgeries and a hernia surgery since 2010. The partial guarantee on the final year of the deal helps mitigate some of the injury risk, but there's still a very real possibility that this deal winds up looking bloated in the future, whether because of injuries or Webster's inability to maintain his career-year production. Full credit to Webster for playing the best ball of his career at just the right time.