Report: Wizards speak with Deng; Ariza's price on the rise

Report: Wizards speak with Deng; Ariza's price on the rise
July 9, 2014, 8:45 pm
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(Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports)

All the big NBA free agency rumors on Wednesday focused on those that play small forward. Yes, that includes LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but also Trevor Ariza and Luol Deng.

Ariza remains a high priority for the Wizards. Based on the relentless flow of buzz pouring out of league-wide insiders, Washington is clearly not alone.

Last season the 6-foot-8 forward made $7.7 million dollars. The per-year average on his next deal will be significantly higher as more teams come calling. Expectations are for a four-year deal no matter which team signs the small forward, who turned 29 in June. Some estimates are at $9-11 million per year. Others suggest the number goes even higher. While others can throw out higher dollar figures at Ariza, Washington has the advantage of familiarity and comfort.

The Cavaliers reportedly would target Ariza if James decides to keep his talents with the Miami Heat. Two Texas teams, the Mavericks and Rockets, might get involved depending on which one ends up with Chandler Parsons. Dallas reportedly agreed to a 3-year, $46 million deal with the restricted free agent. Houston will have three days to match once Parsons inks the contract on Thursday, the first new deals can be signed. Even at $12 million per year, Ariza would be a less expensive for the Rockets.

Would he return to the team he last signed a free agent deal with is the question, or rather one of many.

[RELATED: How does LeBron's decision affect Trevor Ariza?]

All off that has the Wizards checking in with their own backup plans. That reportedly includes Luol Deng.

However, the fit with Washington seems unlikely as Deng could command a salary greater than the four-year, $48 million deal Andre Iguodola received from the Warriors last season. Should Ariza sign elsewhere, the Wizards could look to add wing depth with quality players at lower costs, including P.J. Tucker, Marvin Williams and Brandon Rush.

The Wizards currently have just under $10 million in salaries committed to small forward Martell Webster and Otto Porter, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft. Porter will play for the Wizards' summer league team. Webster could miss the start of the regular season following back surgery last month.