The Wizards have made it clear for the past several months that they intend to pursue a long-term deal with soon-to-be free agent Marcin Gortat, but the team is also interested in re-signing Trevor Ariza, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Most league executives expect both to ink new contracts with Washington this summer, Lowe reports. Those execs from around the NBA believe that Ariza and Gortat will make $15-20MM combined in annual salary on deals that cover three or four years.
Ariza has expressed a desire to re-sign with the Wizards, though he prefaced that by telling Michael Lee of The Washington Post that he’ll go “wherever I’m wanted.” The Wizards and Cavs spoke about Ariza in trade talks involving Luol Deng at the deadline, but the team had little luck as it sought to unload Ariza’s expiring contract. It appears that Ariza has grown on Washington since then, though the Wizards probably hope his market value drops between now and July, when rival suitors can make offers, Lowe writes. That’s a possibility if other teams are wary of how he’d play for them when he’s not in a contract year and doesn’t have John Wall to set him up with corner three-pointers, Lowe suggests.
The Wizards are at a fork that presents a number of routes toward a shot at a title, as Lowe examines, noting the team’s long-held fondness for Jeff Green as a possible trade target. Washington has about $43.5MM in commitments for next season, and while new deals for Gortat and Ariza would erase the team’s cap flexibility, the Wizards would still have a chance to use the non-taxpayer’s mid-level, Lowe notes. Largely staying the course and bringing back the starting five from this year’s team is seemingly GM Ernie Grunfeld‘s preferred course for now amid rampant mediocrity in the Eastern Conference, but there will be opportunities to pivot, as Lowe points out.