NBA Trades: Did Wizards-Hornets Deal Create More Problems Than It Solved?

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJune 21, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20:  Emeka Okafor #50 of the New Orleans Hornets looks on while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Wednesday's trade between the New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards that sent Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to the Wizards in exchange for the insane contract of Rashard Lewis is the classic case of a trade creating many more problems than it solved, at least for Washington.

For New Orleans, this turns out to be a great move as they are clearly ready to start over. With a potential franchise-changer coming to town in Anthony Davis, why not?

This is a brilliant move for the Hornets. The deal not only frees up minutes for Davis but also sheds a pair of long-term contracts from the New Orleans payroll.

The Hornets are on the hook for only $13.7 million of the $22.7 million Lewis is owed and sources told ESPN's Marc Stein that they will waive him before the season in order to only have to pay him the guaranteed $13.7 million.

They also acquired a second-round pick, something they previously didn't have.

New Orleans general manager Dell Demps cleared two bad contracts off his books and will save an extra $9 million by waiving Lewis. It provides New Orleans with almost unlimited cap space going forward, which is huge for a rebuilding team.

For Washington general manager Ernie Grunfeld, this is another in a long list of head-scratching decisions.

He traded away his cap flexibility for two players that will make a combined $42 million the next two seasons. 

Having a win now type of approach to a team that's nowhere near winning is just foolish.

Grunfeld could have got the insane contract of Lewis off the books next season and instead added $22 million in salary for two marginal players.

In addition, he's taken them out of any chance to improve the team in free agency as the Wizards will now only be able to sign players at the mid-level or cheaper. There's also the fact that he can't use Lewis' expiring contract as a trade chip during the season.

But by bringing in an overpaid center and the bad contract of Ariza, who may have the worst shot selection in basketball, Grunfeld failed to address the biggest weakness on the Wizards right now and that's shooting. As a matter of fact by adding Ariza they may have just gotten worse.

It just goes to show that some teams are run well and some are run poorly.

Grunfeld runs the Wizards poorly and this latest trade just created many more problems than Washington had two days ago.


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