The Wizards are sending Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers to Phoenix and getting Ariza back in return. No picks are involved, so the Wizards will be missing an opportunity to bring in some assets for a young player ripe for a new deal in Oubre, but they’ll be saving about $2.1 million in salary including luxury tax payments.
Ariza is on a one year, $15 million deal so this could essentially be a rental for three-fourths of the season. They’ll open up a roster spot next season offseason, but there’s no telling exactly how they’ll use it. They could also potentially move Ariza again if they decide to be sellers in a buyers’ market once the trade deadline arrives.
What Ariza brings
The Wizards are hopeful that Ariza is the locker room veteran they need to turn things around. Before he brings anything on the court, he’s a proven winner. He also knows the Wizards’ core well after spending two seasons here.
He does the little things when he’s at his best. He’s still a solid defender at 33 years old and is an able 3-point shooter at 36 percent on the year. In his last season in Washington, he shot a career high 41 percent fromdeep.
But he’s very obviously on the downside of his career and isn’t getting any younger. He’s shooting just 38 percent from the field and may not get better.
What they’re sending out in Oubre and Rivers
The Wizards will avoid paying Kelly Oubre a potentially massive contract this offseason, but they’ll also become a lot less athletic. Rivers’ strung together some solid performances this season, but he also is shooting a career low 30 percent from deep. He’s been a solid defender, but things just weren’t working out for him here and a fresh start could be good.
Rivers’ absence opens up a ton of open minutes at guard. We’ll likely see more time from Sam Dekker down the line. Troy Brown Jr. may potentially be able to crack to rotation at guard as well. Tomas Satoransky will also likely be more of a fixture in the lineup.
The potential downside
Like any deal, this one might not work out. The Wizards may get a pick out of it, but they also gave away a young player with potential that could’ve been shaped. With the Wizards’ stacking salaries, it was almost impossible to keep Oubre. However, they may have pulled the trigger a bit too early. Maybe he fetches more at the deadline?
And, again, Ariza is having a down season this year. Is it because he was playing in Phoenix? Who knows. But the numbers are what they are and he’s no longer in his prime. Will he be productive again? Will he be able to fix the locker room?
This is a risky deal and it could completely backfire. It may not do anything. It could even be great. Only time will tell. I’m just glad this is over after the drama from last night.
Either way, shout out to Oubre. We’ll miss you, Tsunami Papi. Flourish in Phoenix.