LAS VEGAS -- Trevor Ariza is still heading to the Houston Rockets, but instead it'll be in a three-team sign-and-trade that results in the Wizards acquiring journeyman Melvin Ely and an $8.5 million traded player exception, CSNwashington.com confirmed with a person with knowledge of the situation Sunday.
Ely, a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2002 who has played nine seasons in the NBA, will not be retained by Washington. His contract isn't guaranteed and also could be used as a throw-in for another move if the Wizards needed his $1.3 million salary. Ely, CSN was told, is "gone."
The 6-10 center/power forward came from the New Orleans Pelicans, who receive Omer Asik, Omri Casspi and $1.5 million from the Rockets. The Rockets receive Ariza and Alonzo Gee. TNT's David Aldridge reported these details and the Rockets' decision to merge what had been separate transactions.
So what does the traded player exception mean for the Wizards? First, it's good for one year. Secondly, it gives the Wizards the flexibility and options they covet as they retool the supporting cast for a 44-win team that advanced to the second round of the playoffs last season.
The sizable exception can be used to fit a player up to $8.5 million from another team without giving up anything more than a protected draft pick. It's simply a mechanism to use in case of emergency by the Wizards, or if a transaction that's too good to pass up becomes available.
Also, the Wizards can do a sign-and-trade with another team, which may want to dump a player, with the exception. They now have three trade exceptions on the books, including for $2.1 million and $1.2 million in moves made last season involving Eric Maynor and Emeka Okafor.
Trade exceptions cannot be combined in transactions.