The Washington Wizards have reached a contract with the New Orleans Hornets on a trade to acquire Hornets center Emeka Okafor.
The Wizards will get Okafor and Hornets forward Trevor Ariza for Rashard Lewis and Washington’s No. 46 pick in the draft. 10 cent ncaa football totals
The trade will add 2 defensive experts to Washington’s list as the Wizards keep on try to change their culture around prized young guard John Wall. Okafor therefore joins Nene to give Washington 2 vet big men after the Brazilian was acquired at midseason from Denver in an agreement that brought an end point to JaVale McGee’s stay in the nation’s capital.
“We are rebuilding our team and this is one step in our new direction,” Hornets GM Dell Demps said. “This trade will supply a chance for our young players to develop and create flexibility to add to our core group moving forward.”
Said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld: “Rashard sadly was hurt while he was with us, and he didn’t get a chance to show the kinds of things he was capable of doing. … He had a really big buyout in his contract, and we elected to add two players to the line-up by using his agreement.”
Grunfeld declared the Wizards would’ve had to pay a $13.7 million buyout.
Okafor has never lived up to being the 2nd pick in the 2004 draft. He averaged a career-low 9.9 points and 7.9 rebounds last season, missing time with a sore left knee. Ariza averaged 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds.
The move, in the meantime, sheds 2 long term deals from the Hornets’ payroll while opening up minutes, thru Okafor’s exit, for Kentucky star Anthony Davis, who almost assuredly will be selected #1 overall by New Orleans in the draft.
The Hornets, sources say, are planning to waive Lewis before July 1 to slice approximately $10 million off the $24 million that he’s owed in 2012-13. He is entering the last season of a 6-year, $118 million deal.
With the resultant financial adaptability, New Orleans is confident in its ability to re-sign restricted free agent Eric Gordon this summer to ensure it doesn’t lose the best player it received in exchange for face-of-the-franchise Chris Paul in December.
The Hornets didn’t have a 2nd-round pick. They’ve also got the 1st and 10th selections in the 1st round.
Washington also has the second pick of the second round.
Grunfeld said the deal won’t have any effect on the team’s draft plans.
“Teams are going to draft who they’d like to draft in front of us anyway. I believe we’ll know who the No. 1 pick is going to be, and if teams are lacking a certain player, they know who they’re going to pick anyhow. I do not believe this trade has to do with anything [in the draft], as far as that’s concerned.”
“We felt like we needed to add some vets to the roster, and we managed to do that with this move. … We get players that are good strong players and fill 2 needs for us,” he announced. “Instead of going into free agency to try to fill our needs, we did it thru a trade.”