According to multiple reports, including this one from David Aldridge, the Wizards have agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets, which will send Trevor Ariza to Houston in exchange for an $8.5 million trade exception and Melvin Ely. Ely has an non-guaranteed contract and will likely be waived.
By adding the trade exception, the Washington Wizards could acquire any player that makes $8.5 million or less without having to match the salary. Basically, it will give the Washington Wizards some more flexibility and another way to add talent. If you want a more detailed explanation about trade exceptions, check out Mike Prada’s update on the situation.
The Washington Wizards will have a year to use the trade exception or let it expire.
Washington added a small forward replacement for Trevor Ariza by signing Paul Pierce, but they do still have some weaknesses on the roster. Trevor Booker is expected to be back, but the trade exception could be used to acquire more front court depth. Washington may choose to use the trade exception soon, but they could also wait for more opportunities to come during the season such as the trade deadline.
Although it seemed like the Wizards would have some trouble bouncing back from Trevor Ariza’s exit, Ernie Grunfeld and the rest of Washington’s management have done a terrific job this offseason. They’ve added more veteran leadership and flexibility for future moves.