The New Orleans Hornets have traded Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Rashard Lewis and the No. 46 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.
New Orleans trades Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to Washington for Rashard Lewis and the #46 pick. (damn you auto-correct)— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 20, 2012
After an impressive rookie season that saw him average 15 points, 11 rebounds, Okafor's stock has steadily declined. He was limited to just 27 games last season due to injury and lacked his past explosiveness when he was on the floor.
That said, he is still a post presence that can put up a double-double on any given night. In today's NBA, where talented big men are hard to come by, Okafor is still a valuable commodity. He will be 30 years old when the regular season comes around, but if he can manage to stay healthy, he should be a nice addition to the Wizards.
Ariza has seen his career numbers take a dip after a breakout season with the Houston Rockets in 2009-10. The swingman averaged just 11 points and five rebounds for the Hornets last season.
The most important part of the return package for New Orleans will be the second-round pick. For what the class lacks in top-tier talent, it makes up for in depth. The Hornets should be able to get pretty good value as the franchise continues to rebuild.
Lewis does not seem to fit the team's rebuilding plans. The 32-year-old veteran scored just eight points per game in 28 games for the Wizards last season. But as Givony reports, he can be bought out of his contract before the start of next month to save the team money.
All told, the Hornets unloaded a pair of bloated contracts—Okafor and Ariza were set to make over $20 million next season—and have another pick to use on draft day while the Wizards get two veteran players that will be free agents after next season if things don't work out.
A good deal for both sides.