Okafor, Ariza in Wizards Long-Term Plans?
The savviest in any sport realize that reaching the top, or climbing within shouting distance of it, usually isn’t an overnight process. Franchises supposedly committed to winning (the Wizards claim to be one) eventually need to show significant progress. The Wizards’ latest move provides another example that they need to raise their bar.
The 2012-13 season will be the Wizards’ third since they began their latest (perpetual?) rebuilding project. During that time, owner Ted Leonsis and President Ernie Grunfeld have been open about their strategy of building through the draft, creating salary cap flexibility by jettisoning unwanted players and supplementing their core group with the right veterans through free agency and trades.
Over the next two years, the Wizards will commit $43 million in salary to (Emeka) Okafor and (Trevor) Ariza. That’s grossly overpaying for guys who haven’t been difference-makers in their careers, especially on what figures to be a middling team with no more than 30-something-victory potential.