The Wizards have acquired 29-year old center Emeka Okafor and 26-year old small forward Trevor Ariza from the New Orleans Hornets for 32-year old small forward Rashard Lewis and the #46 overall pick in this month’s NBA Draft. Okafor will take over as the starting center in Washington with Nene’ sliding over to power forward. Okafor played in 27 games (all starts) for the Hornets last year and he averaged 28.9 minutes, 9.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 1.0 blocked shot per game. He has now played in 511 games (507 starts) in his first 8 years in the NBA and he is averaging 32.6 minutes, 12.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 1.8 blocked shots per game. Trevor Ariza will likely also step right into the starting lineup at small forward for the Wizards. Ariza played in 41 games (all starts) for the Hornets last year and he averaged 32.9 minutes, 10.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He has now played in 499 games (239 starts) in his first 8 years in the NBA and he is averaging 25.6 minutes, 9.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game. The Wizards also got a $1,703,491 dollar trade exception from the Hornets in this deal and they will have one year to use it or lose it.
Rashard Lewis was a big waste in Washington. He played in 28 games (15 starts) for the Wizards last year and he averaged 26.0 minutes, 7.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game. Lewis played in 60 games (42 starts) in his two years with the Wizards and he averaged 29.1 minutes, 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
The Wizards took on a lot of salary in this deal, but it’s going to make them a lot better basketball team right way. With that in mind, I like this deal for the Wizards as Okafor, Nene’ and Ariza is a pretty solid frontcourt heading into the 2012-13 season.