The Wizards have gone from a rebuild to a reinvention of themselves with a surprising trade that brought over veteran players Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza for Rashard Lewis on Wednesday.Ariza and Okafor are expected to be starters up front and bigcontributorsto the Wizards, although Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said everybody will have to earn their minutes next season.
"We felt like we needed to add some veterans to the roster and we were able to do that with this move," Grunfeld said in a teleconference yesterday. "Instead of going into free agency to try and fill our needs, we did it through a trade."
According to Grunfeld, Ariza can play either the small forward or shooting guard while Okafor, who has averaged a double-double over his 8-year career, will play power forward.
"These players fit in well with what we're trying to do," Grunfeld said. I think we're going to be a better team with the addition of these players and the players we'll add in the draft."
So if you look into the crystal ball for next season, the Wizards would likely start Nene at center, John Wall at point guard, Okafor at power forward, Ariza at small forward, and perhaps the first round draft pick at shooting guard.
It's going to be a new look starting five for the Wizards for sure next season.Several players who started games last season -- such as forward Chris Singleton, guard Jordan Crawford, forward Jan Vesely, forward Trevor Booker andcenterKevin Seraphin-- now would come off the bench.
We're trying to get better," Grunfeld added. "We think we're a better team than we were yesterday but we still have a lot of work left for us."
Grunfeldsaid the trade does not affect the team's approach to the NBA Draft on June 28, but you have to think that the Wizards will go after a shooter, increasing the likelihood that Florida's Bradley Beal will be the team's selection with the third overall pick on June 28.