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Wizards flirt with Luol Deng, trying to make Trevor Ariza jealous

Jul 10, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards - NBA Global Games Rio 2013 Getty Images

The Wizards, after their second playoff-series win since 1982, are putting a big emphasis on continuity.

Randy Wittman – retained.

Andre Millerreturning.

Marcin Gortatre-signing.

That leaves Trevor Ariza as the biggest asset hanging in the wind.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

David Aldridge of

At one point, Ariza seemed close to re-signing with the Wizards. But he has plenty of other suitors. Once LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony sign, Ariza will draw plenty of attention.

I’m confident he can get more than $9 million per year if he plays his cards right. Heck, he can probably play his cards wrong and get more than $9 million per year.

Deng is another second-tier free agent small forward waiting for LeBron and Melo to sign. Like Ariza, Deng could get a pretty high salary, as several teams are intersted.

However, after committing $12 million per year to Gortat, the Wizards can probably offer Deng only the mid-level exception. Maybe they can increase that offer slightly with a little creativity, but still wouldn’t be enough for me to take Deng to Washington seriously.

Unlike with Deng, the Wizards have bird rights to exceed the cap to sign Ariza. They can theoretically offer him anything up to a max contract.

Undoubtedly, the Wizards want to re-sign Ariza. I think they’ll ultimately have to offer more than $9 million per year, but they can wait a little to let the market establish itself.

However, Washington simultaneously courting Deng shouldn’t worry Ariza. Ariza, an unrestricted free agent, has the leverage here.

  1. cantonb0und13 - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Please never use that headline again…

  2. mcjon22 - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Well considering Deng wants at least the 10 mil Chicago offered before he was traded to Cleveland, I doubt Ariza can’t see thru this bluff.

    Deng isn’t taking 8 mil a year

    • loubearkane - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      Deng made a booboo turning down the Bulls offer

    • casualcommenter - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      There are plenty of teams with cap space and needs at small forward.

      The competition for guys like Deng and Ariza includes the Wizards, Bulls, Lakers, and whichever team loses out on LeBron, Miami or Cleveland. Dallas is also going to pursue those guys if the Rockets match their near max offer for Parsons.

  3. vapor54 - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Keep Ariza and stop clowning around

  4. handsomerob86 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    I think the Wizards might be paying too much at 9 mil. This situation reminds me of Gerald Henderson back in 2007 when he was good. The Magic went and way overpaid Rashard Lewis (120 Mil over 5 or 6 years). Everyone said Jordon was stupid not resigning Henderson quick, but he ended up getting him for like 57 mil over 4 years. A much better deal than the Magic got with Lewis.

    I think the Wizards should let the market set Ariza, it probably won’t be as ridiculous as it looks now.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 10, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      Gerald Henderson in ’07???

      • handsomerob86 - Jul 10, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        good call I meant Gerald Wallace

  5. whitwarren - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    What an interesting romance this is.

  6. shaner329 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    I’m not really sure why Ariza wouldn’t want to come back to this Wizards team. They did very well last year and were very close to making the ECF. With another year under Wall & Beal’s belt, and the entire cast back again, I don’t see why he wouldn’t want another shot with this team.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      I think Ariza does want to come back to the Wizards.
      He just wants to get paid a lot of money to do so, haha, given the fact that 4 or 5 teams have him on their wishlist including the Lakers who have a ton of cap room.

      Ariza just turned 29. Any 4 or 5 year deal he signs this offseason is likely his last big money contract.

  7. rickmyralls - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    If the wizards are going to make Ariza jealous, they better flirt with someone hotter than deng, he ugly

  8. phillycannon - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Does Ariza only show up and play when his contract is up??? He is at the most a 6-8 mill a year player. But seeing how these crazy contracts that Hayward and Parsons may get, more than 9 mil is possible.

  9. cmart0907 - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    This title sounds like a love story lmao.

  10. watermelon1 - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Perhaps the fact that the Wizards have a good roster where Deng wouldn’t be counted on to carry a team could play a factor?

    After playing for Chicago and Cleveland, DC in their current state doesn’t deem so bad.

    I definitely think he brings more to the table than Ariza.

    But maybe money is more important to him. Either way, if I’m the wizards…. I’m talking to Deng because he’s better than Ariza. Not because I’m trying to make Ariza jealous or trying to make Ariza take less money.

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