As December 15th nears and the majority of this past summer’s free agent class will soon become trade eligible, discussion surrounding which players are most likely to be shipped out has intensified. One of the most prominent names in talks has easily been Trevor Ariza. Following his 1 year, $15 million signing with the Phoenix Suns in the offseason, things haven’t necessarily worked out between Ariza and the Suns.
As Phoenix sit with the worst record in the league at 4-22, the likelihood of Ariza being trade only grows greater. While originally suspected to be one of the bigger names on the buyout market later into the season, the Suns would greatly favor cutting ties in a way that gives them some type of return.
It does seem there is some trade market for the 33 year old forward. Known as one of the better defenders in the league with a reliable ability to hit threes, there are multiple teams expected to express interest in Trevor Ariza. Here are some of the teams we could see picking up the phone to make something with Ariza and the Suns.
The Lakers, who are highly expected to be seeking to make moves midseason, could be prominent players in the race for Trevor Ariza. Los Angeles made a big offseason splash in acquiring LeBron James and entered the season with uncertain goals and identity. Seated in the fifth seed and only 1.5 games out of the first seed with a 16-10 record, the Lakers seem to be further in their timeline than they may have previously thought. Already making a move to acquire a veteran player from Phoenix once this season, adding Ariza could help them bulk up a little depth and leadership on the roster. Filling out the team with players like him could also help as they look to possible add another star player before the trade deadline, as well.
A trade for Trevor Ariza would likely center around Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for salary reasons. Despite their future with the team growing less certain, it is unlikely the Lakers would send out any of their core young guys for a player only under contract for a year. Los Angeles could seek to add assets to the deal by sending Phoenix Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, or picks.
Bringing in Jimmy Butler has given the 76ers new life and helped propel them to the third seed in the west with an 18-9 record. Unfortunately, it has also created some issues regarding depth and shooting for Philly’s roster sending out both Dario Saric and Robert Covington has meant Philadelphia must play forwards like Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala more minutes than they had hoped.
Bringing in Trevor Ariza could be a quick fix for most, if not all, of their current problems. A lineup of Ben Simmons-JJ Reddick-Jimmy Butler-Trevor Ariza-Joel Embiid could help the Sixers’ tenth best defensive rating move closer to the top five, where many predicted their team would rank. Ariza also brings back some of the shooting lost in the Butler trade, and the 76er’s desperately need it. As this team aims to go deep into the playoffs and reach the NBA finals, this move could be pivotal for them.
With the Phoenix Suns in dire need of a point guard, Philadelphia could use an Ariza trade to kill two birds with one stone. Markelle Fultz could be a key piece for the Sixers to acquire Ariza. The goal for Philly would be to receive more in return asset wise than just a one-year contract. A move involving Fultz and Furkan Korkmaz in exchange for Ariza and either a future first round pick or the Milwaukee first round pick owned by the Suns could be the balanced trade both teams are looking for.
It has been a long season for the Houston Rockets despite only being 25 games in. After claiming the best record in the regular season last year and taking the Golden State Warriors to seven games in the Conference Finals, they currently hold the second worst record in the west at 11-14.
The Rockets have taken steps backwards on both their offense and defense. The loss of Trevor Ariza in the offseason hasn’t done them any favors this season, which may be a sign they should try to bring in a familiar face. Ariza’s return would give Houston a little more firepower on their incredibly shallow depth chart and would help lighten the load on young players like Danuel House and Gary Clark. This team, ranked the sixth worst defensive rating, should seek to add defending any way it can, also.
A move for Ariza would be a tough one for Houston, as they only salary they could match (outside of core pieces) would be Brandon Knight, who they acquired from the Suns prior to the season. If Phoenix’s need for a point guard gets the better of them, though, Knight trotting back to the Suns’ roster could be likely. A trade involving Knight and a pick for Ariza would have to get the deal done for Houston, who is strapped for assets.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have been right about where they were expected to be at 14-14 after dealing with injuries along the way so far this season. New Orleans is finding ways to win, but their wing depth isn’t making things any easier. With undersized E’Twaun Moore playing heavy minutes (a significant amount as a forward, as well) and players like Solomon Hill and Wesley Johnson being counted on to contribute to the rotation, it is time for the Pelicans to inject some talent into their roster.
Trevor Ariza would be an immense help to this team. Looking to move up and out of the bottom 10 in terms of defensive rating, Ariza’s ability to guard multiple positions would be a perfect fit alongside Anthony Davis. He would be able to play the 3 or slide down into the power forward role when needed.
Depleted of young talent on the roster, the only way the Pelicans could make a trade for Ariza would be via draft picks. However, if they sought to obtain Ariza by sending out a package players like Hill along with Tim Frazier and first round or multiple second round picks, they could help the Suns with their point guard depth issues and shed some salary at the same time.
The Jazz shocked many around the league last season, making a run into the second round of the playoffs behind a stellar rookie showing from Donovan Mitchell. This season has been a little less exciting for the 13-14 Utah roosting near the bottom of the Western Conference. Shooting has been a major concern for this team, as they currently are shooting 33.4 percent from deep, good for 25th best in the league.
Trading for Kyle Korver has helped, but this team could use all the shooting they can get their hands on. Trevor Ariza could be a great addition for this team, bringing extra versatility to this roster. The introduction of a veteran with championship experience could prove to be invaluable to this young team, as well.
Utah could make an interesting offer for Ariza with the ability to send a young point guard to Phoenix straight up in exchange for wing help. Dante Exum has seemed to play himself out of the team’s future plans and could be great player for the Suns to take a flyer on. With defensive and playmaking potential, he could be just the type of player they seek to pair with Devin Booker. Exum won’t be available for trade until January 15th, but if the Phoenix Suns are willing to wait, this could be the offer that gets Trevor Ariza moved out of Phoenix.