Even though the NBA Finals have been simply fantastic, basketball fans still have a lot to look forward to this summer. If you enjoy trades, stay tuned. One of the first big bombshells dropped today. Michael Lee of the Washington Post is reporting the Wizards and Hornets have reached an agreement to send Rashard Lewis and the No. 46 pick to New Orleans for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.
So what sticks out almost immediately? It’s this: Ariza and Okafor are bringing some professionalism and veteran toughness to Washington, but they’re also bringing the $43 million they’re owed over the next two seasons. They can’t shoot a lick – Okafor’s offensive game consists of dunks and layups, and Ariza lost his jumper the second he left Los Angeles (if he ever really had one in the first place). But they’re better than what the Wizards had, and if that organization wants to keep John Wall around, they better start giving him something to work with outside of clowns.
So this trade won’t exactly surround Wall with shooters, but it does do one thing in particular: helps out their pick-n-roll defense. As Synergy Sports recently tweeted, the Wizards were “ranked in the bottom half of the NBA in pick and roll – roll man efficiency in 2012 (0.96 PPP). Okafor ranked 27th in League, (1.12).” And with Ariza being a legit three on a team that DESPERATELY needed one, this could open the door for a Bradley Beal pick at the No. 3 selection in this month’s NBA Draft. That would flank Wall with a projected starting lineup of Beal, Ariza, Nene and Okafor. You can think about the money later… at the least, they’ve given Wall something to work with.
As for New Orleans, they now have a TON of cap space (especially if they release Lewis), Eric Gordon and probably Anthony Davis, as well as the No. 10 pick in a pretty loaded draft. Not bad at all… maybe we all jumped on David Stern and his cronies too quickly.
Who won this trade?
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