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Hornets trade Okafor, Ariza to Wizards

The Hornets and Wizards have made the first significant trade of the summer, as center Emeka Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza are heading to the nation's capital for the albatross contract of Rashard Lewis.

The Hornets will also receive the 46th overall pick in the upcoming draft.

"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. "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."

Since the Hornets lucked into the first overall pick, this trade seems to clear room for the presumed top selection Anthony Davis to move into a starting role for New Orleans. Both Okafor and Ariza have two years left on their respective deals, with Ariza's final season coming as a player option.

Lewis, who is going to be one of the highest paid players in the league next season, has only one season remaining on his deal.

This deal will give the Wizards another big man to pair with Nene, whom the team acquired in a trade with Denver last season. In 27 games during the 2011-12 campaign, Okafor averaged 9.9 points and 7.9 rebounds.

In 511 games over eight seasons with the Hornets franchise, Okafor has posted per-game averages of 12.7 points and 10.1 rebounds.

Ariza spent the last two seasons in New Orleans after bouncing around from New York to Orlando to the Lakers to Houston. In 41 games for the Hornets last season, he scored 10.8 points per game.

Lewis, whose production has fallen significantly since his time in Seattle, scored 7.8 points per game for the Wizards last season.

"First, we want to thank Emeka and Trevor for their service on and off the court for our organization. Both of those gentlemen are good players and better people that will be missed." Hornets general manager Dell Demps said. "We are rebuilding our team and this is one step in our new direction. This trade will provide an opportunity for our young players to develop and create flexibility to add to our core group moving forward."