The salary-dumping trade between the Wizards and Hornets is likely to have little effect on next Thursday’s NBA draft – or more specifically, how the Wizards plan to utilize the No. 3 overall draft pick.
In case you missed it, the Wizards dealt veteran forward Rashard Lewis to the Hornets on Tuesday, receiving big man Emeka Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza in return. While the Hornets are expected to dump Lewis’ monstrous contract within the next 10 days, the Wizards will keep their new duo.
”Emeka’s defensive presence and rebounding will combine with Trevor’s versatility to add new dimensions to our frontcourt,” said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld.
A quick look at the Wiards’ roster shows, at the very least, competency at every position. The frontcourt now consists of Okafor, Nene, Andray Blatche, Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin, with Ariza and Chris Singleton at small forward. Point guard John Wall and shooting guard Jordan Crawford are the big names in the backcourt.
Some believe the makeup of the current roster will deter the Wizards from selecting another big man, such as Kansas’ Thomas Robinson or Connecticut’s Andre Drummond with the third pick – and make them think twice about selecting a small forward such as Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes.
That leaves Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal as the logical option.
But such is not the case, according to sources familiar with Wizards’ thinking.
“They didn’t necessarily make the trade with the draft in mind,” said one source. “I don’t think it changes their strategy at all. If they want Robinson or Kidd-Gilchrist, and they’re available, they’ll take one. They can deal with the rest of the roster later.”
In other words, any of the prospects mentioned could still be available at No. 4 and beyond.
“Everyone wants to jump to conclusions about what this means for the Wizards in the draft,” the source said. “The answer right now is nothing.”