Wizards lose out on Ariza, but add Pierce, Humphries and Blair

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Despite losing Ariza, the additions of Pierce and Humphires will be better for the Wizards' wallet.

The Washington Wizards had two big pieces of their 2014 playoff team set to become free agents this summer.

The hope was, among most Wizards fans and talking heads that they would be able to get both Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat back at reasonable prices and if not, then they could find replacements. Gortat would of course be harder to replace; seven-footers that can run the pick and roll with John Wall and protect the rim don't grow on trees, but three-and-D wings like Ariza are more common in today's game.

A few weeks ago, the Wizards re-signed the Polish Hammer, Gortat, to a a five-year, $60 million dollar deal. Perhaps a slight overpay, but Gortat was instrumental to the Zards success last season and one of the hardest pieces to replace.

Over the weekend the swing man, Ariza, got his money too; signing a four year deal with the Houston Rockets worth $32 million. In a sign and trade deal with the Rockets, the Wizards received an $8.5 million trade exception, in which they have a year to use (more on that in a second).

But the Wizards didn't wait long to fill the void at the small forward position. Instead of relying on second year player Otto Porter Jr., the Wizards gained the services of The Truth; signing former Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce to a two-year deal worth $11 million.

In addition to signing Pierce, the Wizards also completed a sign and trade with the Celtics; sending that trade exception that they acquired in the Ariza deal to Boston to sign big man Kris Humphries to a three-year deal worth $13 million.

If you're keeping score at home, the Wizards spent $24 million on Pierce and Humphries; $8 million less than the Rockets spent on Ariza. In terms of money, the move was a savvy one by the Wizards front office because it keeps their wallet full for the 2016 off-season when it will be time for an extension for Bradley Beal. 2016 is also the year that DMV native Kevin Durant is set to become a free agent.

Come 2016, the only players on the Wizards books will be Wall, Gortat & now Humphries, leaving around $30 million in cap space to give Beal and extension and sign another star.

The kicker is that Pierce is the better fit for the Wizards anyways, and Humphries adds veteran depth behind the often-injured Nene.

Sure, Pierce might be eight years older than Ariza, but he's better at what Ariza does and he's been doing it longer.

ARIZA, WIZARDS, 2014

Age

Pos

G

GS

MP

FG%

3P%

FT%

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

28

SF

77

77

35.4

.456

.407

.772

6.2

2.5

1.6

0.3

1.7

2.3

14.4

PIERCE, NETS, 2014

Age

Pos

G

GS

MP

FG%

3P%

FT%

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

36

SF

75

68

28.0

.451

.373

.826

4.6

2.4

1.1

0.4

2.0

2.5

13.5

Their stats from the past season are similar, though Ariza averaged more minutes, an extra point, three points on behind the arc shooting and two more rebounds. The problem with looking at last season is that Pierce was on a new team for the first time in his career and often played the power forward position when Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez suffered injuries, while Ariza excelled in contract year. This season was only the second time in his 10-year career in which he scored over 1,000 points while Pierce has hit the mark in each of the past 15 seasons. For their careers, Pierce is also a better shooter than Ariza with the Truth shooting 37 percent from behind the arc compared to Ariza's 34.5.

Humphries is also an upgrade in the big man department in terms of depth, and replaces Trevor Booker, who signed with the Utah Jazz over the weekend. The Wizards also brought back Drew Gooden on a one-year dealafter he averaged 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 32 games for the Wizards last season.

So not only do the Wizards get to keep Gortat, but they add big man depth, sign a future hall of fame inductee in Pierce and most importantly they keep their options open in 2016.

The Wizards might have another move or two left, but as far as the off-season is concerned they have accomplished what they set out to do.

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For more on the Washington Wizards, visit SB Nation's Bullets Forever.

--

EDIT: Apparently Humphries and Gooden weren't enough for the Wizards in terms of big man depth. Today the Wizards completed a deal with the Dallas Mavericks that will send Blair to the District.

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