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Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and the $43 million problem

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by Clips/Roxfan, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. Clips/Roxfan

    Clips/Roxfan Member

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    By Mike Prada


    [​IMG]

    It's not a huge deal that the Wizards are 0-3. It it a problem that their two most expensive offseason acquisitions are contributing nothing.

    On the surface, an 0-3 start isn't really that big of a deal. Everyone and their mother knew that the Wizards were going to struggle without John Wall and Nene in the lineup. That they were competitive in two losses to a tough Boston Celtics squad is encouraging. That young players like Kevin Seraphin, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely and Jordan Crawford have had their moments is doubly so.

    But there's one major problem here. More accurately, there's a $43 million problem.

    Forty-three million dollars is what the Wizards are slated to pay Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza over the next two years. If the first three games are any indication -- and to be fair, we are just talking about three games -- that money appears to be a complete waste. When they have been in the game, the Wizards have been an awful team. When they have been out, the Wizards have shown lots of promise. That's really not that much of an oversimplification.

    This is exactly the scenario that detractors of the trade feared when it was made. Ariza had bounced around the league aimlessly since leaving the Los Angeles Lakers, frustrating the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets with lethargic play, horrendous offense and untapped athleticism. Okafor had been fine for the Hornets, but he was never a game-changer and was in decline. Both players were pretty redundant with the current roster's makeup. Ariza blocked Singleton, and Okafor blocked Seraphin, Vesely and Trevor Booker. Declining, redundant and expensive. That's a triple-whammy.

    But this bad? It's hard to have even envisioned that scenario. Surely Ariza and Okafor would at least be so-so contributors, but instead, they've hurt offensive spacing, missed defensive assignments and showed a complete inability to put the ball in the basket. They should get better, but so far, it's been worse than almost anyone could have expected.

    There are two damming ways to think about the trade now that we're into the regular season. First, consider what the Wizards would look like without those two playing at all. Martell Webster and Kevin Seraphin would likely start, and unless their games fell off a cliff for some reason (which rarely happens when bench players become start), they would provide more production, especially offensively. Cartier Martin would jump into the rotation, and all of Okafor's minutes could be made up with more time for Vesely and Earl Barron. How much worse would the Wizards be? Would they even be worse?

    Second, we once again must consider what Ernie Grunfeld could have done differently. I know, I know, coulda woulda shoulda, we don't know what was available, etc. But I think enough time passed over the summer that several more cost-efficient options existed. The Wizards could have released Rashard Lewis for $14 million, or bought him out for less. They could have entered the amnesty bidding and claimed a veteran like Elton Brand, Luis Scola or even Brendan Haywood for a fraction of the price Okafor cost. They could have then used the remainder of their cap space to acquire shooters like Dorrel Wright or Kyle Korver, both of whom were salary-dumped by their teams. It's still early, but those options sure look good right now. More patience would have mitigated some of this problem.

    Instead, we all sit here hoping that Okafor and Ariza truly aren't this bad. On the one hand, it's nice that Randy Wittman is willing to sit them if other players are producing. On the other hand, it really shouldn't have to come to that.

    Ariza and Okafor need to be much better than this. Otherwise, Grunfeld's offseason trade will have been a huge -- and expensive -- failure.

    http://www.bulletsforever.com/2012/11/8/3616538/washington-wizards-trevor-ariza-emeka-okafor
     
  2. NL Rocket

    NL Rocket Member

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    Glad I'm not a GM, I've been saying Morey should've traded for Okafor at least 2 times in the last 3-4 years :) Thanks Morey for selling Ariza quickly after realizing he was a bust and not getting Okafor. They must be pretty bad judging from the article, didn't expect that at all. Wizards are a good team on paper but I guess with the wall crumbling everything else comes tumbling down :)
     
  3. Jontro

    Jontro Member

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    Okafor must have stopped attending the gym.

    Also I think I saw Okafor at the UH Rec before his rookie season.
     
  4. Haymitch

    Haymitch Custom Title
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    Yeah, Ariza is terrible. Morey's best move was getting rid of him after just one year.
     
  5. Dei

    Dei Member

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    I can't believe the Magic had to be threatened not to draft Okafor in 04 else Charlotte would've taken guys who were supposed to be packaged in the McGrady trade. Okafor is horrible.
     
  6. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    That was a great trade for the Hornets. After getting his money from the Rockets, Ariza stopped trying. Okafor also gave up years ago. Not sure why Ernie Grunfeld didn't realize what he was getting in return.
     
  7. BigBenito

    BigBenito Member

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    /nom nom crow

    I thought Wizards would be decent this year with their acquisition. While they do not give much on the offensive end (putting it mildly), I thought they would bring a defensive edge to a young group.

    Not so much.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. DonatasFanboy

    DonatasFanboy Member

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    they only did that trade because they wanted to surround Wall with some vets. So in the end, that trade will be judged by Wall's play.

    If Wall starts developing in this new environment, no one will care about Emeka's or Ariza's individual production.
     
  9. GreatOne1978

    GreatOne1978 Member

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    Ariza only looked half decent when he played next to Kobe and the Lakers. He never found a comfort zone again and played with that intensity/motivation after leaving LA.
     
  10. DieHard Rocket

    DieHard Rocket Contributing Member

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    I can't believe that Trevor Ariza still keeps getting chances. He teases GMs because he's so long and appears to be athletic, but really he has terrible coordination.

    Easily my least favorite Rocket in recent memory.
     
  11. spdngyns69

    spdngyns69 Member

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    Trevor Ariza made enough bricks to build the entire city of Rowlett TX.
     
  12. ferrari77

    ferrari77 Contributing Member

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    My thoughts exactly.
     
  13. roslolian

    roslolian Member

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    Okafor doesn't look like it but he's probably one of the laziest players in the NBA. I don't think I've ever seen a player put the exact same numbers from his rookie year to his final year at Charlotte. I also find it funny he's already regarded as in decline...how old is he? 28? LOL.
     
  14. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    So, what would Morey try to get from Washington to take one of these two off their hands?
     
  15. DimeDropper

    DimeDropper Member

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    they have a beautiful young center, kevin seraphin, but i'm guessing he is untouchable. but i really like where you're going here. clever.
     
  16. krnxsnoopy

    krnxsnoopy Contributing Member

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    Remember when Okafor was the pride of Houston when leaving UCONN for the NBA?

    Remember when Ariza was basically "traded" for Artest and we thought we were getting younger and more athletic?

    smh..
     
  17. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    We were getting younger and more athletic. Just not necessarily better at basketball.
     
  18. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    lol :grin:
     
  19. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    Ariza was one of the few big mistakes Morey made. But he got rid of the dude quickly enough for us to forgive him.
     
  20. Dei

    Dei Member

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    Courtney Lee was a good player who just didn't get the opportunity.
     

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