Trevor Ariza likely figured his tenure with the Phoenix Suns would be short after signing a one-year, $15 million contract with the team in free agency this offseason, but he probably didn’t think it would be this brief.
26 games into a season to forget for the 4-22 Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in trade talks for Ariza that would likely ship out Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a third team, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Suns are reportedly hoping to land a playmaking guard and draft pick in exchange for Ariza.
Such a trade would mean the Suns are unloading Ariza as early as legally possible, as players signed in free agency this summer are ineligible to be traded until this Saturday.
Why the Lakers would trade for Trevor Ariza
There seem to be two major reasons for Los Angeles bringing in Ariza. The first is that Ariza remains a pretty solid player at age 33, currently averaging 9.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
The Lakers have enjoyed Ariza’s ex-teammate Tyson Chandler’s leadership and defensive presence since acquiring him from the Suns and adding another veteran could help the team stay in playoff contention while maybe not having to rely on LeBron James to play hero ball every night.
The other reason might be more important for the team: Ariza’s expiring contract. The Lakers haven’t exactly made a secret about their intentions for the 2019 free agent class, which is likely to include Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker and many more.
The Lakers want to bring in a star, maybe two, and they’re going to need all the salary cap flexibility they can get to do so. Ariza’s one-year deal would give the team even more wiggle room as its heads into that pivotal phase of its future plans.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Report: Cowboys’ Jason Garrett tried to lure Jason Witten out of ‘Monday Night Football’ booth
• Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray will honor Athletics contract, according to agent
• Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh on potential NFL return: ‘I’m not going anywhere’
• Bulls suffer worst loss in franchise history mere days after firing Fred Hoiberg