The Wizards can expect to add over $22MM in guaranteed money to their team salary for next season, as both Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza intend to opt into the final year of their contracts, reports Michael Lee of the Washington Post. Okafor has an early termination option that he won't exercise, while Ariza has a player option for 2013/14 that he'll pick up.
Okafor expressed optimism that the Wizards will be a playoff contender next season with good health, and said he's "fully confident" he'll be back with the team. Ariza, meanwhile, indicated that he wasn't about to give up $7MM+ in guaranteed money.
"I don’t know many people who are going to leave money on the table and I’m not one of the people to do that, so most likely," Ariza said of the option year.
The news is hardly surprising, as Okafor and Ariza have long been considered locks (by both the team and outside observers) to complete their current contracts. Okafor will earn about $14.49MM in the final year of his deal, while Ariza will be in line for a salary of about $7.73MM. Even though there's a chance both players could earn more long-term money if they were to opt out and sign new multiyear deals, they'd be taking significant pay cuts for '13/14 in that scenario.
With Okafor and Ariza locked up for next season, the Wizards will have just over $57MM committed to nine players, making them a good bet to be an over-the-cap club. However, they should remain comfortably out of tax territory, barring any major moves.