The Washington Wizards have reached a trade agreement with the New Orleans Hornets that would send Rashard Lewis and the Wizards' #46 draft pick to New Orleans for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.
ESPN writer Marc Stein tweeted the news earlier Wednesday.
Lewis was acquired from the Orlando Magic in December, 2010 and as a result of various injuries, has only played in 60 games for the Wizards, NBC Washington reports. He was, however, the highest paid player on the Wizards' roster last season at a little over $21 million. He is entering the 6th year of the $118 million contract he signed with the Magic in 2007.
According to The Washington Post, Lewis could be a candidate for the amnesty clause or he could be waived.
Sources say that the Hornets plan to waive Lewis before July 1, which will cut about $10 million off the $24 million he is owed next season, ESPN reports.
Trevor Ariza, who won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009, has 2 years and $15 million left on the contract he signed with the Hornets, Yahoo Sports reports. He is due $7.2 million for next season.
Emeka Okafor, who was picked 2nd overall in the 2004 NBA draft, is due $28 million for the next 2 seasons, SI.com reports.
Last season was the worst of Okafor's career. He averaged only 9.9 points and 7.9 rebounds, The Washington Post reports. He also played in only 27 games as a result of a sore left knee. Trevor Ariza averaged 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds last season.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the move benefits the Hornets, saving them money, and making more room for Anthony Davis, who is almost certain to be picked #1 by the Hornets in the NBA draft.
Acquiring Okafor gives the Wizards another veteran big man in addition to Nene, who was traded from the Nuggets for Javale McGee in March, 2012. The deal also sent Ronny Turiaf to the Nuggets, but he was waived, and soon after, signed with the Miami Heat.
Wizards president Ernie Grunfield released a statement on the trade Wednesday:
"We are pleased to add two more solid pieces as we continue to build over roster with a balance of proven veterans and the core of young talent that we have developed," Grunfield said. "Emeka's defensive presence and rebounding ability will combine with Trevor's versatility to add new dimensions to our frontcourt, and both players fit in very well with the type of team-first culture that we have been working to establish."