The Washington Wizards have made it clear that they’re going to do everything they could to retain their core next season, which includes re-signing two of their top free agents–Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza.
Both players are expecting to receive a lot of interest from other teams around the league following career seasons in the nation’s capital, but it looks like the Wizards will have the upper hand in signing Ariza and Gortat. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Washington Wizards will remain the front runner at signing Trevor Ariza this summer.
While the Wizards are the front-runner, source said free agent forward Trevor Ariza is also expecting interest from LAL,LAC, DET, PHX & HOU
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 30, 2014
Ariza, who averaged over 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists this season in Washington, also made it clear that he’d like to re-sign with the Wizards if the situation is right. He also went out of his way to say that “free agents would be crazy” not to want to play for the Wizards. With that said, he will get some serious interest from teams in the West Coast, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers who he helped secure a championship in 2009.
Now that Trevor Ariza is receiving interest from plenty of teams around the league, including some legitimate contenders, it might cause the Wizards to pay him more than anticipated prior to the beginning of the free agency period. Trevor Ariza lost his starting spot to Martell Webster, who just underwent back surgery, during the 2012-2013 NBA season, but reemerged as the starter in training camp this season. Ariza shot career high numbers from three and benefited from playing along side John Wall, who led the NBA in total assists.
Washington was once set at the small forward position with Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster and Otto Porter, but now that Ariza is an unrestricted free agent and Webster will be out for quite some time, the Wizards have some decisions to make. Although Trevor Ariza was one of the best 3-and-D players in the NBA and was undoubtedly Washington’s best perimeter defender, the Wizards must find a way to retain him without breaking the bank.
The free agency period will begin tomorrow and look for the Wizards to secure a deal with both Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat before filling out the rest of their roster.