Wittman comfortable with Wizards' direction post-Trevor Ariza

Wittman comfortable with Wizards' direction post-Trevor Ariza
July 15, 2014, 6:45 pm
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(Associated Press)

LAS VEGAS -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman hasn't been able to say anything during free agency as his teams retools and waits for deals to become approved by the league office. But Tuesday he could weigh in on Trevor Ariza, who was sent in a three-team deal to the Houston Rockets, and the direction the Wizards appear to be heading by allowing Trevor Booker to leave, trading for Kris Humphries, re-signing Drew Gooden and eventually Garrett Temple.

"He can spread the floor, so you lose that," Wittman said of Ariza, who shot a career-high 40.7% from the three-point line as the Wizards won 44 games and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in nine years. "We'll gain other things back but from a defensive standpoint, his ability to spread the floor and knock down threes was important to us."

Wittman went to Los Angeles along with Ed Tapscott, the director of player development, to make their pitch to Ariza on the July 1, the opening of free agency. It lasted a few hours and they'd come away with a positive vibe, but Ariza settled on a four-year, $32 million offer from Houston. It eventually morphed into a trade, with the New Orleans Pelicans involved, to help the Wizards acquire an $8.6 million trade exception. Part of that exception, which is valid for one year, was used to acquire Humphries in a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. 

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There's no animosity from either side, it appears, on Ariza's departure. It's just business and a healthy respect. 

"It happens all the time," Wittman said. "You've got to move on right away and try to figure out a way to make your team better. With him making his decision, we got to do our thing now. 

"When it's all said and done I think it's going to be good. We're going to have a good mix again of veteran guys long with hopefully a couple of younger ones."

Drew Gooden was retained Tuesday on a one-year deal at the veteran minimum at $1.4 million. Backup guard Garrett Temple is expected to be re-signed on a similar deal. 

Wittman sat and watched rising second-year players Otto Porter and Glen Rice torch the Miami Heat at Thomas and Mack Center in their third summer league game. They entered 2-0 with a chance to advance in the tournament with a victory.