Hornets land Ariza in four-team trade

The New Orleans Hornets acquired Trevor Ariza(notes) Wednesday in a four-team, five-player trade that also sends point guard Darren Collison(notes) to the Indiana Pacers, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The deal also sends Pacers forward Troy Murphy(notes) to the New Jersey Nets and Nets guard Courtney Lee(notes) to the Houston Rockets. In addition to landing Collison – the young point guard they’ve been searching for all offseason – the Pacers also have to take on forward James Posey(notes), who has two years and $13.5 million remaining on his contract.

The Rockets signed Ariza to a five-year, $35 million contract a year ago, but have since acquired guard Kevin Martin(notes). Trading him should keep them from paying a substantial luxury-tax bill this season. They also received a $6 million trade exception in the deal.

Ariza said he was surprised by the trade.

“I didn’t ask for a trade or anything,” Ariza said. “What [the Rockets] asked for, I thought I gave them more while I was there. I didn’t have a great statistical year, but I did more than they expected me to do.”

The Hornets made the trade in an effort to improve their supporting cast around star point guard Chris Paul. Paul called Ariza after the trade to welcome him.

“He was excited,” Ariza said. “He said, ‘I’m all about winning. I’ll do everything to win. I’m just more hungry now. Just getting to the playoffs is not good enough for me.’

“Him just calling me let me know he was comfortable where he is and with the steps the organization is taking.”

After failing to include point guard T.J. Ford in the trade, the Pacers are discussing a buyout with Ford’s agent on the $8.5 million still owed him in the final year of his contract, sources said. The Pacers also are continuing to explore trade opportunities with Ford.

ESPN.com first reported the proposed trade.


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Updated Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010