LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives around Emeka Okafor #50 and Trevor Ariza #1 of the New Orleans Hornets in the third quarter in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Well, this is a huge surprise. The Washington Wizards have made a pretty big move, acquiring Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza from the New Orleans Hornets for Rashard Lewis' contract and the No. 46 pick, according to Draft Express' Jonathan Givony.
The Wizards have talked extensively about trading Lewis' contract instead of buying it out, and this is the avenue they have chosen. Okafor and Ariza both have two years remaining on their contracts after this year. Ariza is owed $7.3 million this year and has a player option for $7.27 million in 2013-14, while Okafor is owed $13.5 million next year and has an early-termination option for $14.5 million in 2013-14. This means that the Wizards likely won't be free-agent players this year and may not be free-agent players in 2013-14 either.
Okafor struggled with injuries last year, but was a very effective center for the Hornets in 2010-11. Ariza had a bit of a bounce-back year after a rough season in 2010-11, but still had a poor true shooting percentage (49.6 percent) and is a career 31.7 percent three-point shooter. He is, however, a very strong defensive player.
This also makes it seem more likely that Bradley Beal will be the pick at No. 3.
Lots to digest here. Let us know what you think.