Eric Maynor agrees to sign multi-year contract with Wizards
The Wizards have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent guard Eric Maynor on a multi-year contract, according to multiple reports.
“I appreciate all the love [and] support y’all,” Maynor tweeted on Monday. “I’m excited to be signing [with] the Wizards.”
The Washington Post and NBA.com both reported that Maynor, who spent last season with the Thunder and Blazers, has agreed to a two-year contract with a player option for 2014-15. The total deal will be worth in the neighborhood of $4 million.
Free agency officially opened on Monday, July, 1 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time. Although teams and players can begin having contact as of July 1, deals cannot be officially consummated until the end of the free agency moratorium on July 10.
Maynor, 26, will be joining his fourth team since he was selected by the Jazz in the first round of the 2009 draft. A career back-up, Maynor lost his spot behind Russell Westbrook on Oklahoma City’s depth chart to Reggie Jackson after missing a vast majority of the 2011-12 season with an ACL injury. The Thunder eventually traded Maynor to the Blazers at the 2013 deadline for the rights to Georgios Printezis, preferring to bank a trade exception and sign Derek Fisher for the postseason run. In Portland, Maynor enjoyed an increased role, averaging 6.9 points and 4.0 assists in 21.2 minutes per game, compared to the 2.8 points and 2.0 assists in 10.6 minutes he was putting up in Oklahoma City. His shooting percentages improved meaningfully as he put more time and distance between himself and his knee surgery.
The strength of Maynor’s game lies in his ability to run a halfcourt offense in a controlled fashion. A pass-first point guard, Maynor is adept at moving the ball, operating in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop situations, finding shooters after breaking down a defense, and generally keeping his wits about him. Not known as a scorer or a true long-ball threat, Maynor played both guard positions for the Blazers, backing up Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard and playing alongside him in a dual point guard lineup. Portland struggled mightily on the defensive end when Maynor was paired with Lillard, and the effects of his knee surgery show most clearly on that end, as he isn’t an ace perimeter defender by any means.
Needing to maximize its cap space, Portland elected not to tender Maynor a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Blazers then drafted C.J. McCollum with the No. 10 pick in last week’s draft, further sealing Maynor fate, as the Lehigh product will surely play the third guard role Maynor took on down the stretch last season.
Washington’s need at the back-up point guard position is well-documented. Back in January, The Point Forward opined that the Wizards’ need for a point guard during John Wall’s injury was the single greatest need for any team in the NBA, as Washington shuffled through a number of candidates and odd-ball lineup combinations only to produce the worst offensive efficiency and some of the ugliest basketball in the league. Wall’s return changed all that, of course, but the Wizards still need a solid, capable floor general behind him. Maynor is exactly that, and his defensive limitations should be fairly well covered by Nene Hilario and Emeka Okafor, assuming the Wizards hold on to their twin towers. Even if he doesn’t provide a “wow” factor, Maynor will ensure that the Wizards don’t fall completely off a cliff on offense and he will serve as a nice set-up man for rising sophomore Bradley Beal when they play together. The ugly, grinding play and contested jumpers late in the shot clock that defined Washington’s early struggles last season should be a thing of the past.
GRADE: B. This is exactly the right price for the Wizards to pay, and Washington appears to be the right opportunity for Maynor to maintain a solid rotation role on a team that is looking for its first postseason berth since 2008. The only thing lacking here is home run potential, but both team and player surely enter this agreement with managed expectations. Maynor’s impact will be felt immediately — when compared to last season’s most desperate moments — and he should enjoy the comfort that comes with not being in a perpetual dogfight for minutes.