It's not exactly a surprise, but Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza have both confirmed that they'll play out the final year of their contracts rather than exercising early-termination clauses to become free agents. Michael Lee spoke to both of them and got these quotes:
"I don't know many people who are going to leave money on the table and I'm not one of the people to do that, so most likely," said Ariza.
Okafor has appeared in all but two games this season and is averaging 9.9 points and a team-best nine rebounds. He said he was "fully confident" that he would be back in a Wizards uniform next season.
"I've enjoyed my time here immensely," said Okafor, who signed a six-year, $72 million extension with Charlotte in 2008. "I think this team, we have good chemistry. Everybody gets along, we're always joking and laughing. It's a good unit."
Ariza is slated to make $7.7 million next year, while Okafor would make $14.5 million. We discussed the possibility of Okafor receiving a long-term extension to help the Wizards' cap number next year, a la Richard Jefferson and the Spurs, but that seems unlikely.
Assuming the two players follow through on their word, the Wizards will have $57 million in committed salary, placing them right up against the likely salary-cap figure.