- Okafor and Ariza's contracts expire in two years. This is hardly cap-crippling and I don't think these are non=productive players. Even in the worst-case scenario that neither player pans out here, both contracts will be expiring at the end of next season, making them valuable on the trade market. Of course I don't know offhand who will be free agents by the summer of 2014, but I do know that we will have the option to be players. The other side of the coin is that our homegrown talent will be at or near the point where we have to decide whether to lock them up or let them walk. Sure we won't be major players in this year's (or next year's, presumably) free agent frenzy, but who was out there that everybody was pining for that we could have realistically signed? Did anyone really believe we were going to be in the market to give Eric Gordon a max deal this offseason without New Orleans matching? Harden next year? Are either worth max contracts? Did anybody see Harden last night (I know, I know, he's young and he had a bad series. I get that, but even before that I wasn't certain that he was a max player.)?
- The rebuild to respectability is not going to happen with 11 youngins and Nene. Not only that, I believe that we've seen that developing young players in a losing environment is a losing proposition. Players are apt to pick up bad habits, jaded mindsets, and general indifference. Why not have our promising young players learn and grow in a somewhat winning environment? With actual contributing professional veterans on the roster, John Wall, the #3 pick (Beal), the #32 pick (assuming we keep it), Seraphin, Booker, Vesely, Crawford, all of these guys can build winning habits, which would appear to be a lot easier to develop when the team is, hello, winning. I'm not ready to determine one way or another if this move was also not-so-subtlely done to begin the "Keep John Wall in DC" movement, but I can't think that having an at least .500 roster with savvy vets would hurt.
- We're pushing for a playoff spot now. Yeah, I understand that this team is a MAJOR stretch to be a serious contender, but with the changes made and the draft picks added (one of which HAS to be Bradley Beal for me. Have I mentioned that I'm in favor of us drafting Beal?), I absolutely at the moment expect us to contend for a playoff spot THIS season. Why is that a bad thing? We kicked and screamed about how bad we've been, but now we're in a position to be watching basketball in May instead of waiting for the lottery. Besides, how many years were we from being a SERIOUS contender anyway? Three? Four? Well, the contracts of the players we acquired today expire in two, so what's the harm?
- We have immediately improved as a defensive and rebounding unit. I'd need to check some real stats to back this statement, but I would assume so. On top of that, Ariza stands at the very least as a passable option as a starting SF, and Okafor, when healthy provides a good defensive presence, if nothing else. This also allows Nene to move to PF, where he prefers to be.
- The frontcourt seems to suddenly be a big-time strength. Can we agree that we're excited about Seraphin? How about Booker? So our frontcourt depth chart would seem to consist of Okafor, Seraphin at C, Nene and Booker, at PF, Ariza and Singleton at SF, and whatever the hell position Vesely is. I'm not counting Blatche. I'm going to assume he won't play much even if he is on the roster, which I doubt, by the way. Everyone wanted James Singleton back, but at this point, is there room for him? I'd keep him and amnesty Blatche, if anything. Seeing all of this begs the question, is another trade in the works?
- The draft seems more clear now. Last but not least, I would hope that this STRONGLY hints at us drafting Bradley Beal with the third pick. If he's taken, which I'd doubt, I would now consider Harrison Barnes as the next option, although I'm not sure he can play SG. Bottom line, our draft can now focus on getting a legit scorer with the third pick, and even the #32. Also, what little cap room we will have remaining can focus on bringing in a guy or two that can put the ball in the bucket.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Initial Trade Thoughts
We traded Rashard Lewis! All we had to do was take on two contracts the New Orleans Hornets didn't want and give them our second 2nd round pick! The cynical opinion of today's trade is that by acquiring Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza we have ruined our previously stellar cap situation by picking up overpaid, marginal players on the downsides of their respective careers. I admit that I generally take the glass half-full approach to things, but I feel like I logically disagree with the above sentiment. I'm convinced that there are fans that are so scorned by the past that they refuse to acknowledge or admit that the Wizards and Ernie Grunfeld can make a good move. This trade, to me, makes us better in the short-term while at the same time does not hamstring us long-term. Below are some initial thoughts on why I feel this way.