Like most of the NBA world, the Washington Wizards are waiting on the impending decisions of some of the top-tier free agents before pursuing some of the lesser coveted players. For the Wizards, it’s always been about retaining their core players which helped push them to the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Trevor Ariza completed a career season in his contract year with the Wizards and is receiving interest from multiple teams around the NBA, including teams that are expected to compete for a championship. Although Trevor Ariza has always been fond of the West Coast, he’s also expressed interest in returning to the nation’s capital for the right price.
With that said, Michael Lee of the Washington Post is reporting that Trevor Ariza is seeking a contract comparable to that of Andre Iguodala, who received a 4-year, $48 million deal.
If that’s the case, the Wizards will likely have to pursue other free agents. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Wizards have contacted free agent Luol Deng, but remain determined to re-sign Trevor Ariza.
Washington Wizards have talked to free agent Luol Deng, but still determined to re-sign Trevor Ariza, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
Washington has already used up the majority of their cap space to retain Marcin Gortat, so I’m not sure how they’d be able to land Luol Deng. In all likelihood, the Wizards will pursue a cheap replacement for Trevor Ariza, and have expressed interest in other free agents such as: P.J. Tucker (restricted), Marvin Williams and Caron Butler. Washington also still has Martell Webster and Otto Porter under contract.
The Dallas Mavericks were also a team rumored to have interest in Trevor Ariza, but after signing Chandler Parsons to an offer-sheet, they may have taken themselves out of the race. If the Houston Rockets do not match the contract, Shawn Marion could also end up leaving Dallas via free agency.
As Ben Standig pointed out on Twitter, Marion is represented by Dan Fegan, who also represents John Wall, Nene, Martell Webster and Drew Gooden. Marion could potentially join Washington if Parsons signs with the Mavericks and Ariza decides to walk.
So, to summarize, the Wizards still want to keep Trevor Ariza. At this point, it seems like they’ll have to compete with multiple teams that have the cap space to offer Trevor Ariza more money than they could. We likely won’t learn more until the big time free agents are off the market. Until then, it’s all speculation.