My first thought when I saw this headline was, “PLEASE LORD DON’T LET THIS BE 2009 ALL OVER AGAIN.” Alas, Grunfeld didn’t pull another Foye-Miller. All he’s sending back to Charlotte for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza is Rashard Lewis and the 46th pick in next week’s draft.
You’ll recall Okafor as the tall fellow who won a national championship at UConn. I thought Orlando should’ve taken him first overall that summer, over Dwight Howard. And while Okafor is by no means a bust (13 and 10 career averages), it’s probably a good thing I’m writing this from my couch and not someone’s front office.
And you may remember Ariza as the versatile wing who won an NBA championship with Kobe. He signed a relatively big deal after that (five years, $33 million), and I haven’t heard from him since. Again, writing this from my couch.
Lewis will be remembered by NBA fans as the guy who got a nine-figure deal without being all that great of a player. He’ll be remembered by Wiz fans as the guy we got back for Gilbert Arenas and Arenas’ equally ill-advised nine-figure contract.
The 46th pick in next week’s draft probably won’t be remembered at all.
Okafor and Ariza are owed a combined $43 million through 2014 (Lewis can be bought out for $14 million before July 1), which is costly, but I like the deal. Okafor and Ariza are solid, defense-oriented vets, and this move leads me to think the Wiz won’t be drafting Thomas Robinson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at 3.
I may be wrong about that too, but why draft a power forward (T-Rob) when you’ve already got Nene, Okafor and Seraphin, among others? And why draft a jackknife (MKG) when he can’t shoot and you’ve already got a wing to guard the perimeter?
That leaves Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes on the board. Kneel for Beal.