Trades have always been a topic of discussion, especially around this time of year in the NBA season. The Wizards have always done a good job of keeping their cards close to their chest in terms of trade rumors, but they’ve already traded two of their most attractive assets in Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract and their first round pick for this upcoming NBA Draft (protected) for Marcin Gortat.
Washington’s bench has been atrocious this season, and although they’ve picked up their play recently, I think it’s safe to say that the Wizards could use some reserve help. The Wizards already have 15 players under contract, which is the most allowed, and they don’t have the flexibility to sign free agents currently. With that said, Trevor Ariza is the only player the Wizards have that will be an attractive piece come the trade deadline in February. He’s arguably been Washington’s second or third most reliable player and his recent play has undoubtedly increased his trade value.
Ariza is averaging a career high 15.8 points per game to go along with 5.9 rebounds. He’s also shooting a career high 42% from 3-point range, which has probably made him the best 3-and-D player in the NBA this season. He’s consistently knocked down big shots for the Wizards and his presence on the defensive side of the floor has been invaluable. Although he’s been overrated defensively throughout his career, he’s had success against some of the league’s most explosive scorers this season such as Carmelo Anthony. He tends to gamble a lot defensively, but for the most part, it’s helped the Wizards create transition opportunities from getting stops on the other end.
Ariza is having an outstanding season thus far, and playing along side John Wall certainly couldn’t hurt. From looking at his shot chart, it’s evident that Ariza is definitely benefited from playing with Wall more than anybody else has this season. His ability to knock down corner 3-point shots better than anybody in the NBA has been spotlighted from John Wall’s drive and kick passes. Wall, who’s currently second in the NBA in assists per game, has praised Ariza for knowing where to be in transition and it certainly shows in his increased percentages.
There’s no doubt that Trevor Ariza has been great this season, but his expiring contract opens up plenty of questions for the Wizards. Will they try to re-sign Ariza in the offseason, knowing that he’ll get interest from contending teams, or will they trade him before the deadline to ensure some sort of return instead of letting him walk this summer?
Ariza has emerged as one of Washington’s best players this season, so it’ll obviously be tough for them to part ways with him. Ernie Grunfeld reportedly tried dealing him to the Los Angeles Clippers last year in exchange for Caron Butler, and I think Ariza will show up in the rumor mill quite a bit in the next couple months. Washington has a choice to make, and it’s not an easy one. Even though the Wizards have small forwards on their roster who are capable of starting, Trevor Ariza’s production won’t get replicated. He’s been playing the best basketball of his career with the Wizards this season, but does that make him untradeable?