We added two vets to our team today in exchange for a late second round pick and a player who we were intending to buy out.
All in all, we will enter next season with possibly nine players on their rookie contract, as we have two picks in this coming draft – a high first and a high second round pick.
We will now have the opportunity to surround the young players with five to six seasoned vets. We added Nene last season, and now we have added Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. All three will play in our rotation next season and are experienced, tough and talented. They are “team first” in attitude kinds of players that have had championship successes – one in college (UConn) and one in the pro ranks (Lakers).
They are all high character people as well and provide us a deep front line. They will also be able to mentor our young players in a positive fashion – and they are all happy to be in DC!
I also am happy that we were able to add these two players because their coming to our team is guaranteed, while playing free agency is a bit more of an unknown outcome. In free agency, you can bid on and recruit players, but since they are unrestricted free agents, they can choose to go wherever they feel is best for their careers and their family life. And to sign them, you must make a long term commitment that could affect your team in the out years of their deals.
These two new players are not signed for the long term – so we can manage our team, retain players and add players in the mid to long term the right way. We still have the draft coming up – and I bet we have some more moves to make before next season.
I am happy we were able to turn an expiring contract into very productive players for us next season. Two players with high character, high basketball IQ, winning attitudes and they are both still young players even though they are considered to be seasoned vets. Please help us to welcome them both to Washington, DC!