Wizards Acquire Okafor, Ariza For Lewis

June 20 2012 at 1:21pm CDT By Luke Adams

The New Orleans Hornets have traded Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Rashard Lewis and the No. 46 pick in the draft, reports Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com (via Twitter). The Wizards have officially announced the swap in a press release.

We heard last month that the Wizards planned to shop Lewis prior to the draft, and at the time, I expressed skepticism that they'd find a trading partner. Although Washington did find a taker for Lewis and his $22.7MM salary, the cost was steep — in addition to packaging a draft pick with Lewis, the Wizards acquire Okafor and Ariza, two players with multiyear contracts New Orleans had been looking to move.

Lewis' $22.7MM 2012/13 cap figure is only partially guaranteed for somewhere in the neighborhood of $13.7MM, so the Hornets would save about $9MM if they release the veteran sharpshooter before July 1st, which they intend to do, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Okafor, meanwhile, has two years and $28MM+ remaining on his contract, while Ariza has two years and $15MM+ left. Having been traded, none of the players involved in the deal are eligible to be amnestied.

Although the Wizards' future cap flexibility takes a hit in the trade, the deal looks good from an on-court perspective. In Okafor and Ariza, Washington adds two solid, albeit expensive, rotation pieces to join John Wall, Nene, and the rest of the team's young core. And with Lewis gone, Andray Blatche becomes the club's clear-cut amnesty candidate. ESPN.com's Chad Ford also points out (via Twitter) that the move could eliminate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Thomas Robinson from consideration at No. 3 overall, since it "screams Bradley Beal."

For the Hornets, clearing the two big contracts from their books presents an opportunity to create a good chunk of cap space next summer. While the Hornets are expected to re-sign Eric Gordon this offseason, the only contracts presently on the team's books for 2013/14 and beyond are rookie scale deals and non-guaranteed contracts.

Due to the difference in salaries in the deal, the Wizards also acquire a small trade exception, worth $1,703,491. They'll have a year to use it.

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15 thoughts on “Wizards Acquire Okafor, Ariza For Lewis

    1. It’s a great trade for the hornets. They moved two long term contracts ariza is bad Abd over paid and okafor is an injury risk. They get an expiring contract(or buy him out save a ton of money) in Lewis and an extra draft pick. This is a great move for them. I don’t understand it from a wizards perspective.

        1. I will say this though the wiz are doing a full culture change there. They are getting rid of a lot of the young jerk type selfish players and bringing in a veteran calm in there. If okefor is healthy he and nene are a good front court.

          1. long term it is a NO win for sure. however, i think now its a good move for both although i think WAS overpaid w the 2nd. moving okafor to the 4 is a smart move and hes well suited there esp next to a scoring 5 like nene. for the hornets it makes a ton of sense financially as well as developmentally. davis can play large minutes up front and they can re up gordon w out the pressure of multi big dollar deals on the books.

  1. Great trade for NO. They get rid of two terrible contracts and get back Lewis who is in the last year of an awful deal himself. Not to mention they get a draft pick. If they play their cards right, they can draft Anthony Davis and Kendall Marshall + re-sign Eric Gordon. This still will leave them with flexibility in the future. Amazing trade for NO.

  2. This will work out well if the Wizards can trade Okafor and/or Ariza next season since they’ll have expiring contracts. Besides, not like the Wiz were going to be big players in free agency this year or next anyway.

    Trying to build a good team organically.

  3. I think it was a no Brainerd for the wiz they absolutely had to move Lewis,and to puck up two solid vets OUTSTANDING JOB. Now they have draft Beal,amnesty clause Blatche and hire a shooting and rebound coach to speed the development of Vesley a tad bit and they’ll be fine

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