The Los Angeles Lakers are interested in acquiring Phoenix Suns forward Trevor Ariza via a three-team trade that would involve Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Here’s the full report from Woj:
The teams have been working to reach an agreement with a third team that would take on Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as part of a potentially larger deal, league sources said.
The Suns want to land a playmaking guard and a draft asset as the price of unloading Ariza, sources said. Phoenix and Los Angeles have made progress in third-team scenarios, although no agreements are close and both teams remain active in multiple trade discussions throughout the league, sources said.
No trade can be completed officially until Saturday, when players like Ariza, who were signed in summer free agency, become eligible to be traded.
The third team acquiring Caldwell-Pope will be the most essential part of this deal.
As you may recall, Caldwell-Pope has a de facto no-trade clause because he would have to give up his early bird rights if he were traded by the Lakers before the deadline. That means Caldwell-Pope has a say in where he wants to be moved and he may not want to head to Phoenix.
Caldwell-Pope hasn’t been the player he was last season, but he’s still been relatively productive in his limited role and has started trending upward over the past month.
This season, Caldwell-Pope is averaging 8.5 points per game and shooting 34 percent from behind the arc.
However, despite the fact that KCP has shown signs of life, the Lakers’ interest in Ariza is an absolute no-brainer.
Ariza would give the Lakers another big forward, one that can play defense at an elite level.
Ariza hasn’t been as productive as he was last season with the Houston Rockets, but as we saw with Tyson Chandler, his dip in production might be a cause of the system, or lack thereof, in Phoenix.
Ariza is averaging 9.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists while making 34.8 percent of his threes this year, and is a career 35.3 percent 3-point shooter.
If Ariza can bounce back and be the 3-and-D player he was under Mike D’Antoni — skills he first demonstrated during his first stint with the Lakers, culminating in key contributions to a 2009 NBA championship — he’ll be a perfect fit in Luke Walton’s fast paced system.
As Woj notes, no trade can be made official until Saturday, Dec. 15. At that time Caldwell-Pope, Ariza and any other pieces that might be involved can be moved.
There’s no guarantee that Ariza will be in a Lakers uniform this season, but the front office certainly doesn’t seem to be sitting idle, and it looks like they’ll be actively looking for roster upgrades as we head towards the Feb. 15 trade deadline.
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