12 years after he helped the Lakers raise a banner before leaving in free agency, Trevor Ariza is coming home to Los Angeles to try and help the team raise another one. He will be joined by fellow veteran shooter Wayne Ellington, who previously played for the team during the 2014-15 season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports broke the news about the Lakers’ first two deals of free agency:
Free agent F Trevor Ariza has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agents Aaron Mintz, Steven Heumann and Erika Ruiz of @caa_sports tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 2, 2021
Both of these deals will presumably be for the veteran’s minimum, which is just about all the Lakers have to offer in free agency this summer, other than the taxpayer’s mid-level exception worth $5.9 million, which neither player is really a candidate for. And while both Ariza (36) and Ellington (33) are past their primes, they should still be able to provide some sorely needed doses of cheap shooting around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
Here is how our own Jacob Rude broke down Ariza and Ellington’s cases to return to Los Angeles when the Lakers were linked to them previously:
Wayne Ellington is one of the names Lakers fans are most familiar with on the list, having spent one season in Los Angeles during the rebuilding years. Last season, he shot 42.2% from the 3-point line in Detroit, the second-best mark of his career. Ellington is also the most tangible connection of the group, given Turner explicitly reported that he has interest in returning.
Trevor Ariza is the other familiar name. Entering his 18th year, Ariza did play a bigger role with Miami last season, but shot just 35.0% from the field, albeit while converting 41.1% of his looks from behind the 3-point line. Ariza, though, is a former client of Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, and won a title with the team in 2009.
Mentioned a few times this season/recently about being a fan of Ellington given his market value. Also, his career year was equally impressive given he was in the 21st percentile (D- grade) in terms of "shot quality" per @The_BBall_Index.— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) August 2, 2021
That should improve next to LeBron/Russ. pic.twitter.com/nmbcxlUHyh
In short, the Lakers needed cheap shooting, and they got cheap shooting. Not a whole lot more to take away from these signings, but they’re some solid veterans to add on day one of free agency to a mostly empty roster. Plus, bringing two well-liked Lakers home (and one former champion) is always going to be a feel-good story. This team certainly won’t be getting carded at any bars this season, but on paper, these additions make sense.