The Wizards have been in trade rumors this entire season, and it continued today with Trevor Ariza and Chris Singleton. According to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, formerly of ESPN, both Ariza and Singleton have been in trade talks leading up to the deadline.
Ariza has been in trade talks before, most notably for Caron Butler at last year’s NBA trade deadline. Although Ariza has been one of Washington’s most consistent players, both offensively and defensively, he’s in his final season of his contract and has the chance to sign elsewhere during the off-season. Ariza is shooting a career-high 39% from 3-point territory and he’s helped the Wizards defensively, coming in at 6th in steals per game, right behind John Wall. Ariza has played some terrific defense against elite-NBA players, most notably against Kevin Durant this past Saturday, but he has taken nights off against lesser opponents, such as Jeff Green a few weeks ago.
The Wizards have to make a choice about Ariza, especially since contending teams are always looking for 3-and-D players. Washington could trade Ariza, but I don’t see why they’d rush to do so, especially since it’s unlikely that they’d get equal or more value back. If they don’t trade him before the deadline, then he’ll remain their starting small forward through this season and hopefully the playoffs, but then things get tricky. If they decide to keep Ariza, then they’ll have to either let him walk in the off-season or attempt to re-sign him to a deal in the summer. Ariza is an unrestricted free agent and he’ll probably want to play for a contender, so the Wizards would likely have to overpay a bit to keep him on the roster. He’ll be 29 years old this summer and I honestly don’t see him continuing to play this well, especially since he’s in his contract year.
Oh yeah, Chris Singleton is also in trade talks.
If anything, the Wizards would probably try to get a backup guard in exchange for Singleton. He’s been stuck behind Ariza and Martell Webster, and the Wizards really don’t have any use for him right now. His contract is also expiring, and if the Wizards throw in another player and/or a 2nd round pick, I think they might be able to get something back.
We’re just a few weeks away from the trade deadline, which is February 20th, so I’m glad the Wizards are still active in talks. Nothing is guaranteed, but the Wizards have typically been engaging before the deadline, and we’ll just have to see what happens.