According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the New Orleans Hornets have and Washington Wizards have reached an agreement with each other on a trade. With the draft just about a week away, teams are looking to start wheeling and dealing now.
The Wizards and Hornets are the first teams to start us off. Washington has agreed to trade Rashard Lewis and the 46th overall pick in the second round in exchange for forward Trevor Ariza and center Emeka Okafor.
Overall, I think this is a solid trade for both teams.
The Wizards get two solid defensive players in Ariza and Okafor. John Wall has some helpful targets, as both are likely to be in the starting line-up now. Ariza is most-known for coming up big in the Lakers 2009 playoffs run, hitting big shots. Okafor has been a low-post presence and is above-average so far in his career in New Orleans and in Charlotte.
Washington also has a nice frontcourt heading into next season, with Okafor and Nene. They also had a chance to free up a large amount of cap space in Lewis, who was carrying a hefty deal when he was re-signed by the Orlando Magic a few years ago. He hasn’t been the same since then, so it was good letting him go.
Though they lose out on the 46th pick, they still hold the third overall pick in the first round. With that, that changes a lot of things with their draft. The Charlotte Bobcats are looking to draft Harrison Barnes, which leaves Washington with signing Bradley Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. It looks Beal is the more likely pick then, leaving the Wizards going with Wall-Beal-Ariza-Nene-Okafor as their starting line-up with guys like Andray Blatche and Jordan Crawford coming off the bench.
The New Orleans Hornets also get a good deal out of this as well. They don’t really need Ariza and Okafor anymore as they head into a rebuilding stage. Even though they get Lewis’ big contract, they get some cap space to re-sign Eric Gordon, who will pair well with Anthony Davis when he is picked first overall. They also still have the tenth pick, which they can use on for a center or point guard. It seems likely they will draft Meyers Leonard there.
New Orleans is also scheduled to waive Lewis anyways before July 1, which slices off about $10 million off his $24 million salary as he approaches the final year of his six-year, $118 million contract.
Overall, a win-win for both sides.
What do you think of this trade?