by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Now that King James has decided to return to Cleveland, the ripple effects on the NBA’s remaining free agents can begin to be felt.

Where will Melo land? How about Chris Bosh? Is he going to return to Miami or take the money from Houston and run?

To see how LeBron going home effects the Washington Wizards, look no further than swingman Trevor Ariza.

Ariza, 29, shot a career-high 40 percent beyond the arc this past season, combined with a stellar line of .456 from the field and 14.4 points in 35 minutes per game.

The Wizards have already locked up a lot of future moneys, to the tune of $60 million over five years, in re-signing Marcin Gortat. Retaining Ariza, something John Wall’s been vocally supportive of, could prove incredibly costly — like a lot more than $7.7 million he made last year.

Here’s what Mike Jones reported two days ago, pre-LeBron announcement:

According to an NBA front office executive, Ariza is seeking a salary comparable to the four-year, $48 million deal that Andre Iguodala received last season. CBS Sports is reporting that he wants a deal starting between $9 million and $11 million.

Now, with James’ departure from the Heat creating a chemical imbalance in Miami, there could be an extra bidder, driving up Ariza’s price.

Here’s Matt Moore, NBA writer for CBS Sports, to Chad Dukes on Friday … post-LeBron announcement:

“If they’re gonna get him back, they’re gonna have to pay because right now, this thing has broken perfectly for Trevor Ariza,” Moore said. “Because now, if you’re Miami, Chris Bosh is likely gone. If he’s back or if he’s not, the Heat are gonna have to fill a position on the wing, and if they’re not content to just settle back into rebuilding, they’re probably gonna get into the hunt for Ariza as well, with all that cap space.

If the Rockets can’t pull off this move for Bosh, Trevor Ariza’s gonna be a primary option they’re gonna try and target, depending on what happens with Chandler Parsons. The market for Ariza has already been high, and it’s only going to explode now. It’s gonna take a lot of money to get him back in Washington.”

So, I’m not honestly sure how much “a lot of money” is, but when it’s predicated by the words indicating the market’s “going to explode,” it sounds like Ariza stands to make a lot of money this offseason.

The only questions remaining are ‘How much?’ and for the Wizards, ‘Are we willing to pay it?’


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