HoopsHype Emeka Okafor rumors

November 26, 2012 Updates

Ariza and Okafor account for one-third of a $66 million payroll, the 19th highest in the league. But Coach Randy Wittman has already benched the duo in favor of less-seasoned players at the start of games, and they are often not on the floor with the outcome of the games in doubt. “It’s tough,” Okafor said, as the Wizards prepare to host the San Antonio Spurs on Monday at Verizon Center. “I’m a competitor, but right now, we’re just trying to get wins and when you’re 0-11, you try to find a way. So I’ve always been a team player and I’m going to do what I can do.” Washington Post

November 20, 2012 Updates
October 26, 2012 Updates

In the offseason, Okafor visited the Vatican, sampled restaurants in Italy personally recommended by his pal Mario Batali, stopped by the Great Wall of China and was amazed by the architecture in Shanghai. “He’s someone you can talk to about anything,” said Ed Tapscott, the Wizards’ director of player programs and the former president of the Charlotte Bobcats, the team that made Okafor the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft. Washington Post

“He’s not pretending to be something that he’s not,” Ariza said. “That’s very admirable, especially in what we do. We have a lot of followers in our game. Everybody wants to pretend they’re something else. Mek is who he is, and he’s proud of it.” Some of those differences were on display this week. As the preseason winds down, the team scheduled events away from the court to introduce this year’s squad to its fans. First up was a charitable luncheon in which players and staff served as waiters for about 100 combat veterans, other members of the armed forces and their families. Washington Post

October 23, 2012 Updates
October 11, 2012 Updates

Wittman said Okafor hasn’t experienced any problems with his knee or elsewhere during practice: “He looks fine. He’s been fine all summer and he’s been full bore ever since we got a hold of him.” Okafor is diligent when it comes to managing his body and has tried to make sure that he doesn’t push himself too hard and risk suffering a more serious injury down the road. “Early in the summer I was feeling very good,” he said. “I knew that the season was Part II of the rehab. Just make sure I used the month of October to properly get myself back into NBA shape. Just go at it at a steady pace.” Washington Post

July 16, 2012 Updates

“My left knee just had some soreness and tightness and we had some trouble getting it down,” Okafor said, explaining his situation last season. “I never had an issue with my left knee and it’s one of those things. I was rehabbing with the intention of trying to come back and play, but just the timeline didn’t allow for it. I’m pretty good now.” Washington Post

July 15, 2012 Updates

What was your reaction when you first got traded? EMEKA OKAFOR: "Outside of the initial surprise of being traded, it was pretty much nothing but positive. I'm a fan of D.C. as a city. There's a very good mix, a lot of different people, and it's a city, you know? Basketball-wise, I know they finished on a strong note, and they have a lot of hidden talent. Nene, Jan, etc. After the initial shock of the trade, it was pretty good." Bullets Forever

June 20, 2012 Updates

Ted Leonsis: 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). Ted Leonsis

The Washington Wizards traded Rashard Lewis and the No. 46 overall pick in next week’s NBA draft to the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday in exchange for forwards Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. “We are pleased to add two more solid pieces as we continue to build our roster with a balance of proven veterans and the core of young talent that we have developed,” Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement. “Emeka’s defensive presence and rebounding ability will combine with Trevor’s versatility to add new dimensions to our frontcourt, and both players fit in very well with the type of team-first culture that we have been working to establish.” Washington Times

Lewis was not in the plans for the Wizards going into the next season and had to find a willing trade partner or give him a $13.7 million buyout by June 30. Rather than pay Lewis not to play for them, the Wizards elected to use that money on Okafor, the No. 2 pick of the 2004 NBA draft, and Ariza, who won a championship ring in 2009 with the Los Angeles Lakers. Okafor and Ariza are owed a combined $43 million through 2013-14 and are expected to provide an added veteran presence for a team that currently has seven players with less than three years of experience and will add two more rookies in the draft, with picks No. 3 and No. 32. Washington Post

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