Trevor Ariza isn’t coming home to the Los Angeles Lakers after all. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Ariza is headed back to the Washington Wizards in a three-team deal involving the Phoenix Suns and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Update: Due to a hilarious miscommunication, this trade didn’t actually happen. Original story follows.
In exchange for Ariza, the Suns will be getting Austin Rivers from the Wizards, either Marshon Brooks or Dillon Brooks and Wayne Selden from the Grizzlies, and two future second-rounders. Kelly Oubre, the No. 15 overall pick in 2015, is headed to Memphis.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Couldn’t the Lakers have outbid the Wizards?” The answer to that question is absolutely yes, but according to David Aldridge of The Athletic, the Lakers were never really in the running because Suns owner Robert Sarver is tired of getting owned by old ladies and also the Lakers:
Per source, Suns owner Robert Sarver was adamant that he would not send Trevor Ariza to the Lakers, so Phoenix pivoted to other options. Wizards desperate for toughness/defensive grit, and would have had difficulty re-signing Oubre next summer.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) December 15, 2018
Oh, man, The Suns really stuck it to the Lakers by getting Austin Rivers instead of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Watch out, NBA! The Suns are now a sleeper team in the Western Conference with Austin Rivers, a Brooks of some kind and Wayne Selden — the “new big three.” Do they even have enough minutes for Devin Booker now?
In all seriousness, the Lakers are in the same position they were less than an hour ago, which isn’t a bad position to be in at all.
Would it have been nice to add some size and defensive versatility on the wing? Absolutely! But sticking it out with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was always an okay option for the Lakers. Even with the struggles he’s had early this season, he’s arguably a better player than Ariza is right now.
This also means that Caldwell-Pope and his $12 million salary can be floated around in other trades. The Lakers were linked to Wayne Ellington of the Miami Heat and Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic earlier this week, who have also been more productive than Ariza this season.
Missing out on Ariza might have stung for the moment, but at least fans can rest easy knowing there was nothing they could do except maybe send LeBron James. Even then, Sarver might have passed because ... well, he’s Robert Sarver.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.