Per Draft Express: Hornets Trade Okafor and Ariza for Rashard Lewis

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Published: June 20, 2012

The last remaining Hornet from the Pre-Demps era and the first guy he acquired are gone. Rashard Lewis is soon to follow 

Jonathan Givony of Draft Express is reporting that the Hornets have finally unloaded Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards for Rashard Lewis and the 46th pick in this year’s draft. The Hornets have been looking to dump Ariza and Okafor for some time now, and recently there has been talk of them attaching one or both of these bad contracts to the tenth pick in an effort to get rid of them. Thankfully, they simply traded them for one, shorter bad contract instead.

Rashard Lewis is scheduled to be paid 23.8 million this season, but only 13.7 million is guaranteed. The Hornets will likely pay only the guaranteed part, and let Lewis walk. In essence, this trade will free up about 7 million dollars in cap room this season and give the Hornets a 2nd round pick that can either be used as an asset in another deal or to select a foreign player that the Hornets can stash for a couple of years. The big savings in this deal comes next year, where it clears over 22 million dollars off the books for an off-season that will feature Chris Paul, Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, Serge Ibaka, James Harden and others as free agents.

The deal also opens the door for the Hornets to bring Chris Kaman back this summer or to select another big man with the tenth pick in the draft. As of right now, Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon are the only big men under contract for next season. Obviously the Hornets will select Anthony Davis with the first pick, but that still leaves the door wide open for a starting caliber big man to be plucked out of free agency or targeted in the drafted.

Outside of Kaman, Omer Asik, JaVale McGee, Robin Lopez, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, and Spencer Hawes are all free agents that the Hornets could target this summer. As for small forward, it seems as if the Hornets are willing to give Aminu a full year to show whether or not he is the guy that can hold down the position long-term. He is only 21 and showed signs of life late in the season. A full training camp with Williams and the staff could do him wonders.

The Hornets now have nobody remaining on the roster that Dell Demps inherited, as Okafor was the only hold over. Ironically, Ariza was the first player acquired by General Manager Dell Demps when he arrived. With this trade, the deck has been cleared and the Hornets move forward with young guys on cheap contracts, two top ten picks, and the ability to retain Eric Gordon. The foundation is in place and Dell has gotten into an unbelievably flexible position where he can go in any direction he chooses.

Can’t wait to see the next move.

137 comments
NO-CHI
NO-CHI

Now that the Hornets have all this cap room and roster space, I say they go after Kirk Hinrich. Guy is a combo guard, defensive specialist that can guard 3 positions, and is used to coming off the bench even after starting for like 6 years. (He did it with Derrick Rose in Chicago.) He can shoot the outside guard. Think of him as like Jarrett Jack but with Ariza's defensive passion.

Matt O
Matt O

Eric Gordon is the key. A team with cap space is going to take a chance and offer him very close to the max. I dont think he is work more than $11m per season. If the Pacers were to offer $12m + would Hornets fans be happy with a Gordon for Granger trade? We can then look at drafting #1 - Davis, #10 - Rivers/Lamb, #46 - Miles Plumlee. I think this satisfies all our needs and next season we can make a serious run a Josh Smith and CP3...

Christian
Christian

Outside of Kaman, Omer Asik, JaVale McGee, Robin Lopez, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, and Spencer Hawes. We need to go after Brook Lopez or Roy Hibbert. Hibbert is a beast and will continue to improve.

Josh
Josh

Great trade for the Hornets.

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

I know everyone is expecting a foreign player at 46 but here are 3 guys I would consider at 46 (2 of them would have to drop on most boards) with their 10 counterparts. 1) Drew Gordon (PF New Mexico)/ Rivers or Lillard 2) Jae Crowder (SF Marquette)/ Rivers/Lillard/Leonard/Zeller 3) Tu Holloway (PG Xavier)/ Leonard/Zeller The latter two are proven scorers that could prove instant scoring off the bench. Crowder and Rivers would just be sick. The former I just fell in love with late in the season. Gordon is a winner, a worker, and one slick skilled mofo for how tall he is. He's only 239 lbs. but his body looked NBA ready to me. Projects are ok but those are the type of proven winners in college that could find a niche as a solid rotation player in the pros in the mold of a Michael Redd. I am not overly infatuated with trying to chase after the next Nowitzki or Ginobili but I do trust Dell and his out-of-country scouting.

Mike Wr
Mike Wr

For what it's worth the ESPN trade machine projects the trade to add 3 wins to WASH and 4 losses to NO. Obviously, it doesn't account for the value of shedding or taking on new contracts.

mojart
mojart

draft machado at 46 or satoransky if still available....draft drummond at ten if he is still der....i think ad,robinson,mkg,beal,barnes are the top 5...portland they like lillard a lot....GS wil go SF,TOR they have valanciunas coming so they wil go SG or SF hir....the pistons are the only threat to select drummond at 9....hope they go henson and snatch drummond at 10.....just hoping

Chuck
Chuck

Correction: since the trade deadline, not the draft

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

Ya'll do realize we basically used a "double/super" amnesty that basically allowed us to amnesty 2 very mediocre, 1 or 2 dimensional players, for 1/3 the cost right? Oh, and we got a 2nd round pick for our troubles. If you don't absolutely love this trade I question your knowledge of basketball. All of a sudden, D-Will's name is being thrown around people! Is it likely? Hell nah but we sure as hell weren't gonna get in that number at all before. Put it this way. Okafor and Ariza make an estimated 43 million over next 2 years. Let's subtract the 13 mill for Rashard. Okafor 2 yrs/18 mill Ariza 2 yrs/12 mill You signing EITHER of those two deals in the offseason? Me? Again, HELL NO. Aminu is literally Ariza with upside. Don't even get me started on Okafor. I for one am beyond thrilled that I'm never going to have to watch a weak-ass, directly under the rim, blockable, layup, Okafor putback ever again in my flipping Hornets fan career. Also, my CP3 watch percentage just went from 20% to 40%. Now we have cap room to add CP AND another star? GTFO! Just GTFO!

Jae504
Jae504

And all the Hate for JJack is absurd

nolahog
nolahog

What's everybody's favorite Okafor and Ariza moments during their time with the Hornets? For Ariza, I'd say the three he hit against Miami at home last year during our winning streak at the first of the year. For Okafor, I'd have to say the screen he set on Gerald Wallace with the Blazers last year. My girlfriend and I were at that game, and she still talks about that play to this day.

Jae504
Jae504

Deron Williams..The Grass is Very Green over here!

Jo D
Jo D

I think the 10th pick tourney should be re done... As the immediate needs have changed now that 2 projected starters have been shipped out

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

I think the significance of this trade is being overblown. Good trade for us no doubt though.

CharmedHive
CharmedHive

Ok..question. Why is everyone suggesting that we should resign kaman, when he was about to get traded halfway through the season because he wanted out. Who says he would want to resign here? Sorry, just confused. I don't want any players on our team that don't want to be here. Anyways, I like this trade and am soo excited for draft night!!

Ian H
Ian H

I haven't heard it discussed or mentioned but Chris Broussard wrote today that Deron Williams could be on Hornets radar. Do we have a legitimate shot at him? I would love CP3 back but him and Gordon are a very undersized backcourt but Gordon and D-Will not so much. I would absolutely love that signing and he would bring physicality and enhance AD's game in pick and roll tremendously.

Marco Rosamano
Marco Rosamano

I like Kostas Papanikolaou with the 46th pick. Looking at his stats he'd make a good battle with Henry for the SF spot.

Josh
Josh

Didn't mean to ping back.

jmbell
jmbell

With Johnny Flynn, and no decent center, I just can't see them picking anyone other than Drummond if he's still there.

Zombian
Zombian

Oakafor was a disappointment but I liked him. He played hard and gave a lot for our team. If it weren't for that albatross of a contract I would have loved to see him stick around. And as for Ariza, that three he hit late in the game against the Heat when we went on that 8-0 start was one of my favorite moments as a Hornets fan. He was awesome to watch. His contract wasn't near as bad but I can understand how he doesn't fit on this team anymore. It'll be sad to see both of them walk out that door and I hope they get some cheers when they come back in the building. Besides that, they're going to the Wizards. I kind of feel sorry for them.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

I think every single person who has read this website, listened to our podcasts, etc. knew that Okafor and Ariza were gone after this year, but my point is that this was not the only way the exact same thing could have been done. In fact, for months- and in my CP3 piece, I have been promoting the idea of trading Ariza for a late first/early second rounder, then amnestying Okafor next summer. That gives us the EXACT same cap room next summer as this trade does. It also gives us a year with Okafor, a professional vet who is a good role model for our young vets. And the dead money is actually less in my scenario. The Hornets are going to eat Lewis's 14 million this year. If they amnesty Okafor next year, they eat his salary MINUS the claim put in on him. Obviously, if one team is willing to pay him 14 million next year, some team would have put in a claim for a few million- let's say 5. So, exact same cap room following year, 5 million dollars less dead money, and a year of Okafor. It's not a bad trade AT ALL, but let's not act like this is the only way the Hornets could have gotten to the exact same place.

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

Or how's this? "D-Will. Why don't you talk to your boy Dwight Howard before you accept a Lakers/Mavs deal. Tell him he's got a spot waiting for him next to you, Gordon, Rivers, and Anthony Davis. Whatcha think?" Tell me that under that circumstance, those 2 wouldn't have to think LONG and HARD about that unholy quintumvirate.

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

Concur, it is quite illogical and unreal. 6-7mil for a 18-19 PER PG that players love playing with, is great in the community, and is the antithesis of all that is wrong in the super-team era? Comeon man! Can we see what the guy can do with real talent around him before burning him at the stake? You guys drive me up the damn wall sometimes.

NoJoke
NoJoke

I remember that Ariza three......Good times.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I can see why . . . and agree with Chuck!

Josh
Josh

Who cares about needs? That is what free agency is for. We can just sign minimum players on 1-year contracts.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

It's overblown. I'm still trying to work out the costs and benefits. I will tell you one benefit. We're making trades right out of the gate, and the message should be that Dell has a mandate and should be taken seriously at the bargaining table. Not seriously as in "Check your wallet and your socks," but as in he is as empowered as any other GM, maybe more. There's a PR side, and I think that is clearly a win for us independent of the finances and on-the-court evaluation.

Josh
Josh

"Who says he would want to resign here?" Chris Kaman said he wouldn't mind signing here (not that I want him).

Zombian
Zombian

For some reason I can't respond to Tim's post but I'll say this about Kaman A- dude's USG% went way up. We let him go to work offensively because we wanted to trade him and had no one else scoring aside from jack. nad B- He's not a great defender. C- Throughout the year his shots kept getting further and further from the basket. That's not the kind of thing I like from my 7ft player. All that said I trust Dell and Monty and assume that he likes the fit better for Kaman and wants him back (cause I don't see who else we're looking at for big man depth)

Zombian
Zombian

Echoing what Thomas and Tim said, he was a big potential trade piece for a team getting ready to make a deep playoff run. He is a 7 ft former all star and was on an expiring contract. Kaman has gone above what most players have to say about how they like where they are and seems to really enjoy NOLA. That said I don't know how I feel about us signing him.

Thomas
Thomas

Who said he wanted out? As far as I can tell, the Hornets were trying to trade him because we wanted another young player with the draft pick. Kaman probably understands this as do most old vet professional athletes. Also, he seems to be enjoying Louisiana for all the seafood and hunting.

NOH Domination
NOH Domination

How odd would it feel to have him after years of everyone in New Orleans hating him due to the Chris Paul rivalry and how much he destroyed CP everytime they played?

Matt O
Matt O

Love the idea of Jack & #10 for Lowry. Rockets can then package #10, #14 and #16 to move up to where they wanted.

Jo D
Jo D

I too have been expecting both players to vacate the premises... My excitement is purely from the action of it getting done... Anytime talk turns to action I get excited...

Ian H
Ian H

So if you were Dell what is your next play MM? Do you draft at #10 or do you move it for a vet in last year of his deal to continue loading up for next year? Or do you make a legit run at D-Will or package J-Jack and #10 for Kyle Lowry or to move up to #7 or #8 to draft Lillard if you know he is "your guy" and go all the way young with the goal of possibly being great in 2/3 years?

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Oh, and the immortal Travis Outlaw got a 3 year, 12 million dollar bid on amnesty waivers. Okafor would have gotten at least 1 yr 5 million as evidenced by the fact that at least one team (Washington) was willing to give him 1 year 14.5 million

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

That's fine. Like I said, I am fine with the trade. I just think people are more excited than I am because it was unexpected to them. I fully expected Oak and Ariza gone by next summer- so to me, it's like "Yeah, and ?" Dell just did the same thing in a different way. It's all good. Now, let's see how he uses this flexibility. If he throws a max deal at Javale McGee this summer, I won't be a fan. But if he is patient, I think he could build something special

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

And as far as your trade grade goes, that is INCREDIBLY flawed logic. By your argument, the only way we can get a B or better was to get good-great talent in return. What alternate reality are yall living in that allows you to trade 2 overpaid players for good-great talent?

Chuck
Chuck

Yeah I'm operating under the assumption Dell couldn't trade them for picks. There have been rumors out there since the draft about him trying to unload them for late firsts/early seconds and nothing happened. Since he couldn't do that, I think this is a great second option

ImSorryMonty
ImSorryMonty

Yes but you are also crowding a frontcourt and creating further controversy with dead weight essentially. I would rather watch Smith/Ayon/Davis/? rotation continue to improve than watch Okafor continue to decline. Further, I don't think it's unrealistic to assume the Hornets are higher on Aminu than they are on Ariza period. Do you REALLY believe MM that someone would give us a late 1st, early second for Ariza? Even if you did, that's essentially close to what this trade got us back for Ariza (a mid 2nd), which in itself is a minor miracle. We would have traded Ariza away for a Trade Exception last year at the deadline and you know that's true. No one wants a 1 dimensional player that can't shoot on their wings. Ariza= Thabo with an even crappier jumpshot and less athletic game. We essentially amnestied Okafor a year earlier than expected and got your coveted draft pick for Ariza. And let's please stop assuming this nonsense that people would jump in line to get in a bidding war over Okafor. Give me one example of an amnestied player getting a bid even close to his real value.

kempleton
kempleton

Why do you guys think that we hate Jack when we put his name into a potential trade? I personally do not hate Jack. On the contrary, I like him! But I like the Hornets more! JJ is 30 now, He is a professional player and he may play for us or Toronto or Portland or another team. JJ is on the last year of his contract and I really do not expect us to have the cap space to extend him a long-term contract next summer. This means you either let him go, or you have to use JJ in a trade scenario to improve roster. (i.e. moving from #10 in this years draft to #6?) If Hornets are going to be a better team in the expense of Jarrett Jack. Sorry, JJ. I feel you, wish you the best, good luck, bye...! And with the current roster, it seems like the only way in moving up in the draft is to trade jack with other picks. I also do not hate Ariza or Okafor. However, Hornets is trying to rebuild the team around Anthony Davis and possibly Eric Gordon and there are reasons behind yesterday's trade, like trying to add another all-star player within a year or so! Maybe JJ will stay and bring a heck of a performance to the court every night because he is on contract year. I will be very happy to watch that. Maybe JJ will leave and we will be watching a potential all-star player that we drafted. I will be happy with that too. In summary, I do not hate Jarrett Jack, I love Hornets!

Zombian
Zombian

+1,000 I will always remember that play. Great celebration Aaron Gray. Good Job, Good effort.

Tim
Tim

Dudes...rewind and review. Whether or not you think that we totally pulled an obvious tank job, or just a slight one by benching players etc. I think we can all agree that we did to a certain extent. That said, games where Kaman started, he'd have like 10 points and 5 rebounds towards the end of the 1st quarter before we benched him. Had we given Kaman full-on starter minutes, he was easily a 20 pt, 15 board center. Add A.D. to the mix and it's gonna get ugly under our basket. I'd very much like to see that.

Thomas
Thomas

agreed. Wouldn't mind keeping him. Wouldn't mind seeing him go.

Tim
Tim

Kaman likes it here. And as Thomas said, he was just rolling with the punches. He's a really smart dude and understands its also a business. Follow him on Twitter...he's effin hilarious. But yeah...I hope we keep him. He's good.

Ian H
Ian H

Everytime they played!!!! He owned Chris. I don't think the Hornets would make a run at him but I wouldn't mind seeing him in a Hornets uniform.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] increasingly likely that the Hornets will keep their star shooting guard. In fact, as I noted in the comments section of Michael’s post breaking the news of the trade, this deal could even keep teams from throwing big offers at Gordon. In restricted free agency, [...]

  2. [...] Emeka Okafor heading to Washington in mid-June 2012 and Chris Kaman agreeing to a deal in early July, the Hornets were left with only [...]