September 20, 2020

Washington Wizards acquire forwards Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza

The Washington Wizards today announced the team acquired forwards Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for forward Rashard Lewis and the 46th overall pick in the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft.

From the press release:

Okafor (6-10, 255) holds career averages of 12.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks while shooting .517 from the field in 511 career games over eight seasons between Charlotte and New Orleans. The former second overall pick was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2005 and was one of three players (joining Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard) to average a double-double from 2004-05 to 2008-09. He has averaged at least 10 points, nine rebounds and 1.5 blocks in seven of his eight NBA seasons and has shot at least 53 percent from the field in the last six consecutive seasons. Okafor averaged 9.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting .533 from the field in 27 games for the Hornets last season.

Ariza (6-8, 210) holds career averages of 9.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 499 games over eight seasons with New York, Orlando, L.A. Lakers, Houston and New Orleans. Over the last three seasons, he has averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting .323 from three-point range with the Rockets and Hornets. Ariza helped lead the Lakers to the 2009 NBA Championship, contributing 11.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting .476 from beyond the arc in 23 games (all starts) during their title run. Last season, he averaged 10.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting .333 from three-point range in 41 games for the Hornets.

These two players will significantly strengthen the Wizards lineup, combining with Nene, Kevin Seraphin, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker and Jan Vesely in the front court. The addition of two forwards this close to the draft would indicate the Wizards are leaning toward smooth-shooting Bradley Beal with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. Beal, a 6’4″ shooting guard, would pair with point guard John wall to form a dynamic back court to go with the Wizards bolstered front court.

The arrival of Okefor could also signal the end of the road for Andray Blatche, out most of the year last year with conditioning issues. The Wizards could apply for amnesty on his contract and part ways with the talented but troubled big man.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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