Rant Sports, HOOPSWORLD and Ken Berger have reported and confirmed the New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards have finalized a trade which sends forward Trevor Ariza and center Emeka Okafor to D.C. for Rashard Lewis and the No. 46 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
A lot could be said about this deal for both sides.
For the Hornets, it seems to bring about more questions than it provides answers.
First, with no Emeka Okafor, do the Hornets re-sign Chris Kaman? Considering they finished near the bottom of the league in offense in 2012, that moves seems more than necessary.
Kaman provides an efficient 15 points per game with near 10 rebounds. Okafor did not provide that for the Hornets.
Second, what does the team do with newly acquired Rashard Lewis? In a perfect world, they'd be able to amnesty him or buyout his contract. Lewis has never been the same since he left Orlando after their fun run to the NBA Finals in 2009.
Maybe he can fit with this current squad, but it seems unlikely at best.
Third, what does the team do with the No. 10 pick now?
I have tried to provide possible solutions this month of June. Yesterday, I wrote about the possibility of selecting Washington wing Terrence Ross.
In the wisdom of yours truly, this trade only makes that possibility more likely. Ross is a player who can really do it all and provides position and matchup versatility.
Two things it seems to make more clear are these: Anthony Davis will be the front-line cornerstone of the Hornets' franchise (hopefully Eric Gordon is the backcourt cornerstone), and with the No. 46 pick, the Hornets will likely look to add a European player they can stash away (a la San Antonio) or take a very productive college player (also a la San Antonio).
And with the money the Hornets are saving by dealing Okafor and Ariza, bringing Gordon and Kaman back makes much more sense financially.