The Washington Wizards have become sellers after John Wall’s devastating ruptured Achilles tendon that will keep him out at least a full year. The team has traded Otto Porter to the Chicago Bulls and Markieff Morris to the New Orleans Pelicans to get under the NBA’s luxury tax threshold.
With tax relief in store, the Wizards are focused on retooling the roster beyond this disappointing season. That focus appears to be on using some of the cap space created in the Porter and Morris deals to re-sign some of the upcoming free agents, including veteran Trevor Ariza.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wizards have interest in re-signing Ariza and Ariza is “enthusiastic” about staying put in Washington beyond this season.
Washington acquired Ariza in December in a trade with the Phoenix Suns for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers.
Ariza is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and there were reports he preferred to go back out West. The Los Angeles Lakers had expressed interest in him, however, the Wizards won’t make Ariza available in trade talks.
He is averages 14.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.5 steals in 24 games with the Wizards this season.
Washington has created some financial flexibility moving Porter’s hefty contract. They received Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis in the deal. Portis will be a restricted free agent while the Wizards hold a team option on Parker, who would be owed $20 million in 2019-20 if Washington picks up the option. That’s highly unlikely, creating more cap space.
With both Oubre and Porter traded, the Wizards will be searching to fill both voids created at the wing position.