The Los Angeles Lakers will probably go after another veteran forward, and this time it’s a familiar name.
Trevor Ariza first made headlines when he helped the 2008-09 Lakers squad win a title. It looks like the team can close the circle. The team pays close attention to Ariza’s situation with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Shams Charania from The Athletic was among the first to report on this possibility. If Ariza becomes available through a buyout, so the franchise may want to bring him back.
This buyout doesn’t seem to be imminent right now. The Oklahoma City Thunder has had success in flipping veteran players for draft picks. In other words, the franchise would rather trade him to a contender like the Lakers than let him go for nothing. This may be a big situation for the Lakers as they don’t have trade assets and movable salary to provide this trade.
“As of now, both Ariza and George Hill are expected to begin the season on the Thunder roster,” Charania wrote earlier today. “There is also interest in Hill’s services around the league.”
The Lakers may not be able to sign the veteran forward
Even if Ariza secures an immediate buyout, LA would have to make some big choices in an effort to get him. The team has only 14 guaranteed contracts. There’s a roster spot for him, and they have to sign him or another player. Los Angeles used the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to snatch Montrezl Harrell from the Clippers. At the moment, the Lakers have only $1.3 million below the line. The cap charge for a one-year minimum salary deal goes at $1.6 million. The Lakers will “have to let some time pass before the prorated portion of this minimum could fit under the tax.” They can also waive the non-guaranteed deal of veteran Quinn Cook.
The best scenario involves the Thunder waiving the veteran right after the NBA trade deadline. If this happens, the Lakers wouldn’t have any trouble getting him under the hard cap without cutting Cook.
In his career, Ariza was averaging 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. He is a 35.2 percent shooter from three-point line.
From the 2008-09 to the 2018-19 season, Ariza was averaging double-figures in scoring in 9 of 10 seasons.