The Wizards are close to completing a deal with the New York Knicks that would land veteran big man Ronny Turiaf, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.
The Knicks have been looking to shed salary in order to create enough salary cap space to sign free agent center Tyson Chandler and the Wizards had ample cap room and a need for an experienced front court player. Full details of the trade have not been finalized, but the Wizards aren’t expected to send back any players and one source said the team could also receive cash for taking on Turiaf.
The 6-foot-9 Turiaf is in the last year of a deal that will pay him $4.2 million. He is a high-energy player known for animated reactions to big plays and providing spirited encouragement from the bench.
Turiaf, 28, can play power forward or center and averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds last season with the Knicks. The Wizards had one of the youngest collection of centers in the league, with JaVale McGee, Kevin Seraphin and Hamady Ndiaye combining to have just five years of experience — and Seraphin and Ndiaye were both used sparingly last season.
A native of Martinique, Turiaf played last summer on the French national team with Seraphin, a second-year forward. Turiaf suffered a broken hand while training with the team, but he has since recovered and he played with San Antonio Spurs all-star guard Tony Parker on a French team, ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, during the lockout.
Taken a few spots ahead of Andray Blatche in the 2005 NBA draft, Turiaf has also played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors and has career averages of 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds.
The deal is expected to be completed on Saturday, clearing the way for the Wizards to sign restricted free agents Ndiaye and Larry Owens, who were unable to participate in the first day of training camp at Verizon Center. The Wizards plan to create some cap space by rescinding the nearly $1 million qualifying offer for Othyus Jeffers, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament last July.