Originally posted on Wizards Extreme  |  Last updated 6/20/12

First, JaVale McGee and Nick Young. Now, finally, Rashard Lewis.

Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld are systematically cleaning house. Loafing and underachieving are no longer going to be tolerated.

Somewhere in South Beach, Andray Blatche is shaking in his boots.

In just a few moves, Grunfeld is progressively transforming an immature team that was once the laughing stock of the NBA. Going into the season the Wizards’ idea of veteran leadership was Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche, and we see how well that worked out. It was the additions of Nene, James Singleton and Cartier Martin that were a huge part of the Wizards ending the season winning 8 out of 10 including a six game winning streak.

Rashard Lewis played in 28 games and averaged 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while making $21,136,631. Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza played 27 and 41 games respectively and averaged a combined 20.7 points and 13.1 rebounds per game, while making a combined $19,332,453. Keep in mind that the Rashard Lewis contract can be bought out this season for about $13 million, the primary reason the Hornets made this trade.

Dell Demps most likely has no intentions of pairing Lewis with the number 1 overall pick Anthony Davis. With Andray Blatche seemingly destined to join the amnestied club (fingers crossed), Ted Leonsis will already be paying one guy to not play and the idea of paying Lewis $13 million to go away seems excessive.

So, instead of Lewis playing half the season half-heartedly, only to get a huge payday to not show up, the Wizards were able to flip him for two serviceable veterans who could possibly end up in the starting lineup next season.

Now before you bemoan the Wizards giving up their salary cap flexibility for two aging and injury prone veterans, let me point out a couple of things:

  • While Okafor and Ariza are considered to be overpaid and have at least two years left in their contracts, the Wizards just need them to be role players and leaders. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • In this age of “taking your talents to South Beach”, the Wizards are not a top tier destination for free agents. So the idea of hoarding cap space in order to make an offer to Dwight Howard or some other mercurial superstar only to be spurned does not entice me.

  • The mission here should be to provide John Wall with some stability by keeping our young guys together and provide them with veteran support and leadership. It seems as if Ernie Grunfeld has finally figured this out.

  • Lastly, this makes the decision on whom to draft that much easier, Bradley Beal welcome to the Washington Wizards.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Iowa athletics department under federal civil rights investigation

2016 Naismith Hall of Fame finalists announced

Hasselbeck ‘strongly leaning towards playing’ in 18th season

Pitchers to wear new protective headwear in spring training

Klay Thompson: Warriors will shoot for all-time wins record

Bryce Harper 'squashed' beef with Jonathan Papelbon

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WWE has record revenue despite perceived troubles

CC Sabathia declares himself ‘ready to go’ after alcohol rehab

Report: Suns still want to deal Morris before trade deadline

Report: Celtics could offer best deal for Dwight Howard

Hawks 'taking phone calls about everybody on the roster'

Philly mayor calls LeSean McCoy ‘cowardly'

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

Brock Osweiler hopes to remain part of ‘very special’ Broncos

Kobe Bryant receives great gift from ‘media’ member

Ranking the 10 best dunk contests ever

LeBron to be immortalized with Akron Zips bobblehead

Four best free-agent destinations for Matt Forte

Five reasons Oregon will be the sexiest team in March Madness

Was Derek Fisher involved with girlfriend of former Knick?

Steven Stamkos unforthcoming on his no-move clause

Antonio Cromartie's wife is 'definitely' getting her tubes tied

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker