What should the Wizards do with Trevor Ariza?

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The veteran is having the best season of his career and is a key part of the Wizards' roster ... but he's an impending free agent and plays the same position as their first-round pick. So ... what's the best course?

Outside of his torrid run in the 2009 playoffs, this might be the best we've ever seen Trevor Ariza play. For years, he's teased us with his athleticism, only to come away with poor shooting numbers and occasional defensive lapses.

This year? Forty-three percent from three. Fifty-seven percent from the corners. A PER of 17.2, a career best. The Wizards are nearly five points better defensively per 100 possessions with Ariza on the court this year, per NBA.com. Even his biggest detractors (raises hand) have to admit that he's been great this year.

But of course, this also raises some interesting questions for the future, for several reasons. Namely:

  • Ariza is an impending free agent, much like Marcin Gortat, who is also playing great.
  • Ariza has an expiring contract
  • Ariza plays the same position as the team's No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft, an expected building block for many years into the future.
  • Ariza also (sort of) plays the same position as Martell Webster, a guy who was just signed to a four-year mid-level contract. I say "sort of" because they have proven they can play together.
Ariza also has one of those portable salary numbers ($7.7 million) that can be used in many different kinds of trades. He can be combined with others to go after a high-salary player, or he can be used to pursue multiple lower-salary players, though the Wizards would need to release someone to get back under the roster maximum size.

So, there's a lot of different things the Wizards can do here. Given the way he's playing, one could argue that now is the time to sell high on him. Then again, the league knows his game pretty well, so I'm not sure this one month of hot play made much of a difference. They could also keep him all year and let him walk in the summer, but then they receive nothing in return for his strong play. They could also re-sign him, but his position would be crowded and it may take all of the Wizards' cap space to just keep Ariza and Gortat.

Thus, I throw the question out to you. If you were the general manager, how would you navigate the Ariza situation? Would you shop him looking for bench help? If so, what kind of return would satisfy you? Or, would you keep him, let the season play out and make a decision this summer.

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