The veteran is having the best season of his career and is a key part of the Wizards' roster ... but he's an impending free agent and plays the same position as their first-round pick. So ... what's the best course?

Outside of his torrid run in the 2009 playoffs, this might be the best we've ever seen Trevor Ariza play. For years, he's teased us with his athleticism, only to come away with poor shooting numbers and occasional defensive lapses.

This year? Forty-three percent from three. Fifty-seven percent from the corners. A PER of 17.2, a career best. The Wizards are nearly five points better defensively per 100 possessions with Ariza on the court this year, per NBA.com. Even his biggest detractors (raises hand) have to admit that he's been great this year.

But of course, this also raises some interesting questions for the future, for several reasons. Namely:

Ariza is an impending free agent, much like Marcin Gortat, who is also playing great.
Ariza has an expiring contract
Ariza plays the same position as the team's No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft, an expected building block for many years into the future.
Ariza also (sort of) plays the same position as Martell Webster, a guy who was just signed to a four-year mid-level contract. I say "sort of" because they have proven they can play together.
Ariza also has one of those portable salary numbers ($7.7 million) that can be used in many different kinds of trades. He can be combined with others to go after a high-salary player, or he can be used to pursue multiple lower-salary players, though the Wizards would need to release someone to get back under the roster maximum size.