New Orleans trades Emeka Okafor to Washington

The New Orleans Hornets traded forward Trevor Ariza and center Emeka Okafor to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday for forward Rashard Lewis and a second-round draft pick.

Lewis is entering the last season of a $118 million, six-year contract and could be a candidate for the NBA's amnesty clause, meaning he may not end up playing for the Hornets if New Orleans chooses to cut him loose in order to clear space under the salary cap.

"We are rebuilding our team and this is one step in our new direction," Hornets general manager Dell Demps said. "This trade will provide an opportunity for our young players to develop and create flexibility to add to our core group moving forward."

Said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld: "Rashard unfortunately was injured while he was with us, and he didn't get an opportunity to show the kinds of things he was capable of doing. ... He had a very hefty buyout in his contract, and we elected to add a couple of players to the roster by using his contract."

Grunfeld said the Wizards would have had to pay a $13.7 million buyout.

New Orleans also receives the 46th pick in this year's draft, which originally belonged to Dallas.

The Hornets, who are expected to take Kentucky star Anthony Davis with the top overall draft pick and also have the 10th selection, did not have a second-round pick before the trade. Washington, meanwhile, has the third overall pick and still has the second pick of the second round.

Grunfeld said the deal won't have any effect on the team's draft plans.

"We felt like we needed to add some veterans to the roster, and we were able to do that with this move," he said.

- Associated Press

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