Ariza to Heat, Bosh to Wizards?
Well respected NBA writer and Washingtonian David Aldridge wrote an article for NBA.com yesterday which outlined what he believed to be the eleven most logical free agency moves for both player and team. Two of his signings certainly caught me by surprise: Trevor Ariza to the Miami Heat and Chris Bosh to the Washington Wizards. With players eligible to pen new contracts today (July 1st), let’s take a look at the two proposed signings and whether they make sense for Miami and Washington.
Trevor Ariza to the Miami Heat
Trevor Ariza arrived in Washington in 2012 in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans (still the Hornets at the time). Ariza had been underwhelming in a Wizards uniform until last season when he finished 16th in 3-point shooting percentage while playing lock down defense on the wing. Ariza’s play was a huge reason that the Wizards enjoyed their finest season in nearly a decade, advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
Aldridge writes that Ariza would fit in perfectly with the Heat’s high energy and pressure defense while allowing LeBron James to take a break from defending the opposing teams best player on a night to night basis. His 3-point shooting would also fit in well with the space that LeBron often creates. Think of him as a much better Mike Miller at this point in their respective careers.
So will it happen? The Washington Wizards have certainly made re-signing Trevor Ariza a top priority this offseason. You can’t blame them; this is a team that’s rarely tasted success and them wanting to ‘bring back the band’ so to speak makes some sense. Ariza will be looking for a raise from his $7.7 million salary last season, and I’d expect the Wizards to go as high as $8.5 – $9 million per season to keep Ariza around. The Heat, meanwhile, are in the process of trying to restructure the Big 3’s contracts so that they can retool the rest of the team. Their bigger needs lie at the point guard and center positions, and along with their salary cap limitations I don’t see them being able to pay Ariza enough to bring him to South Beach. It’s a safe bet that Ariza will either re-sign with the Wizards or go to another team if his salary demands get out of control. Miami will not be that team.
Chris Bosh to the Washington Wizards
This proposed signing seems much more unrealistic than Ariza to Miami for quite a few reasons, and Aldridge himself says, “I write this knowing the Pipe Dreaminess of the endeavor.” Aldridge’s reasoning, however, is pretty sound. While the Wizards focus their offseason plans on retaining Marcin Gortat and Ariza, Aldridge believes that the Wizards should take the opportunity to jump on last season’s momentum and make a run at Chris Bosh. In this scenario, the Wizards would re-sign Gortat to a market value contract, renounce Trevor Ariza, and throw big money at Bosh.
Would this be a smart move for the Wizards? Yes. Throwing Bosh into the big man mix at the power forward spot with Gortat at the center position would give Nene a chance to come off the bench full-time next season, saving his aging and oft injured body from excessive minutes. There’s also reason to believe that the small forward combination of Martell Webster and second year man Otto Porter could fill the void left by the departing Trevor Ariza. Bosh is 30 and still in his prime. Last season he added a 3-point shot to his repertoire which would fit in well with this Wizards team that finished last season ranked 5th in the NBA in 3-point percentage.
Will it happen? No. Chris Bosh has repeatedly stated that he wants to return to Miami – even willing to take less to do so – and I don’t see any reason why that will not be the case. He would be an interesting pick up for Washington, but for now the team seems content to stay with the status quo and keep cap flexibility for 2016’s Kevin Durant sweepstakes.
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