While reaction was mixed when the Rashard Lewis/Okariza trade went down last year, it's clear both players are a big part of the team's success of late, and the team's newfound defensive intensity all season long.
I defended the trade after it happened by looking at the available free agents at the time, and concurring with EG's assessment that this trade essentially a free agent more that gave the Wiz two starters for 2 years. It looked pretty bad early in the season, but with Wall back, all the pieces are fitting together nicely.
But what happens if both players choose to exercise their Early Termination Options at season's end? Then what?
Although he comes off the bench, Ariza has been playing like a starter since Wall returned. He is excelling at his natural role of perimeter defender and maker of wide open 3's. He is (still) a guy who contributed to a championship team once, and he is presumably not yet in the prime of his career. Surely, he could opt out for some future security (3 year deal) elsewhere this summer. Am I the only one who is somewhat concerned about this?
Ditto for Okafor, who is playing lights out ball, scoring efficiently, and rebounding/defending as well as to be expected. He's showing his injury woes are behind him. He's a starting caliber center. Surely some team could use this. And surely some team will come up with a nice 4 year, $36M deal should he hit the market.
Both guys are presumably in line for what would be the last good contract of their careers, and it's fair to assume they know enough about this franchise's reputation to see the writing on the proverbial Wall. The team's "core" is nearly a decade younger than Okafor. When we're a contender (which I hope happens) there's a good chance they'll be long gone.
So what happens if either/both of these guys walk this summer?!? Then what?
Do we use the newly found money to find replacements? Do we double down on committing to our in-house players still on rookie deals? Does our defense suffer as a result? Does this alter "the plan"? Has the front office considered this possibility at all? Have we as fans?
Just throwing it out there. What do ya'll think? Could this happen? If so, then what?