Despite a rash of young forwards on the roster, newly acquired Emeka Okafor fully expects to be the Wizards' starting power forward at the begining of next season.
Okafor made that clear at his and Trevor Ariza's introductory news conference Friday at Verizon Center.
"I assume we would come in right away and start," Okafor said.
The 6'-10" Okafor has averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds in his eight-year career and is set to make 13 million dollars next season, so it's hard to argue with him that he wouldn't be a starter.
Okafor only played in 27 games last season because of a left knee injury, but insisted he will be 100 percent when training camp rolls around in October.
The 30-year old Okafor also knows he was brought to D.C. to provide leadership in a youthful locker room. The Wizards struggled to a 20-46 record a season ago.
"They want us to take a veteran role and provide leadership," Okafor said. "Just bring a sense of professionalism and show the young guys how to work and how to conduct themselves."
Okafor and the small forward Ariza came over from New Orleans in a trade this past week for Rashard Lewis and the Wizards' 46th pick in the NBA draft.
New Orleans tumbled to a 21-45 record after dealing away all-star point guard Chris Paul.
"When I found out I was coming here I was happy," Okafor said.
The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.
The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Phily and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.
That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.
Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.
Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden.
Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.
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On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hugheswas joined by Nick Ashooh to break down the fallout from the trade involving Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan.
They looked at what it means for the Wizards and the East, as well as the Lakers and LeBron. Plus, they took fan questions, many of which centered on Kevin Love and the possibility of a trade to Washington.
You can listen to the episode right here: