Quick Links

Wizards will allow contracts for McClellan, House, Ochefu to become guaranteed for season

Wizards will allow contracts for McClellan, House, Ochefu to become guaranteed for season

The contracts of Sheldon McClellan, Daniel Ochefu and Danuel House will become fully guaranteed for the Wizards which will lock in the undrafted rookies for the rest of the season, league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com.

A player has to clear waivers before Tuesday, so the actual deadline is today at 5 p.m. ET.

All three signed non-guaranteed deals in the summer and all teams have to make a decision near the midway point of the regular season whether ot not to allow such contracts to reach full value. 

Each earns the rookie minimum of $543,000 which makes it sensible to retain their services for a team that's over the salary cap but still under the luxury tax. With the trade deadline a little more than a month away, it also keeps the Wizards' options open. Young players with potential can make for attractive throw-ins to sweeten the pot, though the best-case scenario is they pan out for the next 2-3 years as contributors at a low cap number.

Ochefu signed for three years non-guaranteed and the other two have one more non-guaranteed year on their deals.

McClellan has emerged out of necessity, with an early-season injury to Bradley Beal and Marcus Thornton having difficulty on the defensive end under coach Scott Brooks. Friday, McClellan didn't score in 11 minutes but had three assists. Two of them came in the fourth quarter when the Wizards were making a 9-0 run to regain the lead 89-85 vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves in a comeback victory. McClellan averages 4.1 points in 13 appearances, including three starts.

Thornton, who had a disastrous two-game road trip earlier in the week, didn't play Friday.

Ochefu has played spot minutes with Ian Mahinmi (knees) out. While Jason Smith gets the first call behind Marcin Gortat, Ochefu is there in case there's foul trouble or another injury. If it weren't for Mahinmi's injury, Ochefu would've been sent to the D-League already to get game action which has happened with McClellan and House. Ochefu has appeared in eight games. 

House has been out since breaking his right wrist in November.

Quick Links

Austin Rivers getting cut by Suns may change perception of Trevor Ariza trade to Wizards

USA TODAY Sports Images

Austin Rivers getting cut by Suns may change perception of Trevor Ariza trade to Wizards

When the Suns traded Trevor Ariza for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers, the thought by most was that Rivers, though not a perfect fit, would slide in at point guard to fill their biggest need. Instead, on the day the trade became official, Phoenix opted to waive Rivers and make him a free agent.

The Suns will pay about $8 million to let Rivers go, according to ESPN. He is now free to sign with any team except for the Wizards. That means he can return to the L.A. Clippers, where he played last season, if he wants.

Rivers, 26, has had a dramatic fall in a matter of months. In July, the Wizards sent starting center Marcin Gortat to the Clippers to acquire Rivers, who was coming off a career year. They believed he could solidify their backup shooting guard position and become an asset off the bench.

Rivers, though, proved a poor fit. He struggled with fewer shots and fewer minutes, averaging only 7.2 points while shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 31.1 percent from three. 

Rivers arrived in Washington with numbers that suggested he could score efficiently. But his stint with the Wizards showed he may need more volume to sustain a rhythm.

The Suns cutting Rivers makes the trade between the teams from a Suns perspective essentially an Ariza-for-Oubre swap. Phoenix wanted to clear some money and part with Ariza, who was wasting away on their last-place roster. Now they can see what they have in Oubre over the course of the rest of this season before he hits restricted free agency.

From the Wizards' side, this move shows how far Rivers' trade value had dropped, as one of the league's worst teams has cut him loose. That they were able to unload Rivers' salary while prying away Ariza may change slightly how the trade is viewed.


Quick Links

With Trevor Ariza now in store, Wizards begin new phase against Hawks

With Trevor Ariza now in store, Wizards begin new phase against Hawks

The Wizards have undergone a midseason roster renovation over the past week-plus, culminating with a trade over the weekend to acquire Trevor Ariza. On Tuesday in Atlanta, a new phase will begin for the Wizards as they take on the Hawks at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

Ariza has joined the team on the road in anticipation of his debut. With Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers now out the door, the team brought back guard Chasson Randle. Those two will help make up a new-look rotation for Washington, as they try to recover from a 12-18 start to this season.

Ariza will likely slide into the starting lineup, certainly in the short-term as Otto Porter Jr. recovers from a minor knee injury. The changes should also present opportunities for a few players who otherwise may not have played.

Sam Dekker, for one, will clearly be in the mix. He has averaged 13.5 minutes per game since coming over in a three-team trade last week. On Sunday against the Lakers, he put up a season-high 20 points. Even when Porter returns, he should have a role, as his path to play was carved by Oubre's departure.

The adjustments should, in theory, also clear the runway for rookie Troy Brown Jr. The 2018 first round pick has only appeared in 13 of the Wizards' 30 games this season because of a logjam at his position. 

But on Sunday, the first game since Oubre and Rivers were dealt, he played 15:21 against the Lakers. It wasn't in garbage time, either. He entered in the first half and made an instant impact with three steals and two rebounds.

Though Tomas Satoransky has played an important role this season as a backup guard and temporary starter, his standing was made even more secure when the Wizards traded Rivers. They have Randle and two-way player Jordan McRae, but Satoransky is now their primary backup guard. Barring a trade or another signing, they have no choice but to rely heavily on him to spell John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Speaking of Wall and Beal, they will bear watching despite nothing changing in their roles with the Wizards. They, along with Markieff Morris and Porter, have been the core of this team throughout the tumultuous last two years. The Wizards brought in Ariza to help compensate for their shortcomings in defending the perimeter, rebounding and - this year, at least - three-point shooting. 

If Ariza's arrival has a domino effect on teammates, if it lights a spark and brings the best out of the Wizards, those are the guys to watch. The Wizards want consistency from them, more of what they saw against the Lakers. And Ariza's commitment on the defensive end, the team hopes, can rub off on others.

The Wizards have already played one game since trading Oubre and Rivers, but now that Ariza is in store and ready to debut, the Wizards can officially hit the restart button. Will this trade prove the catalyst and help get them back on track? Tuesday night will give the first answers to that question.