- The Lakers have shown interest in trading for Suns forward Trevor Ariza, but would it be smart to give up a high draft choice in order to acquire the 33-year-old veteran?
Phoenix Suns forward Trevor Ariza is reportedly on the Los Angeles Lakers' radar, and the Open Floor podcast crew has conflicting thoughts on whether they should pursue a trade for the veteran swingman. Andrew Sharp describes why Ariza's best days may have been left in Houston, while The Washington Post's Ben Golliver discusses the benefits of adding a 3-and-D specialist like Ariza to play alongside LeBron James.
(Listen to the latest Open Floor podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Andrew Sharp: Do you think the Lakers should actually consider giving up a first-round pick for Ariza?
Ben Golliver: That seems like a lot.
Sharp: It does, right?
Golliver: Because one, you're not guaranteed where that pick is going to be. Depends to me on what year it is. Like, if you’re punting this a few years down the road, where like, LeBron’s not going to be in his prime anymore, so okay, then I’d start to think about it. Because there’s got to be some cost to be able to really play for it this year. If I’m the Lakers, though, to me the start of their season has basically been an A-plus. They’re way ahead of what I expected, and LeBron is still in fourth gear a lot of the time, and there hasn’t been that second team to really emerge. They’ve got to feel like their biggest dreams, whatever they came into the season expecting. I think Luke Walton told me, 'We just want to make noise. We want to get to the playoffs and make some noise'. They’ve got a real chance to make a lot of noise right now. So I would be tempted to do that.
Sharp: And the first 25 percent of the season was always going to be pretty wonky fit wise. And we’re still seeing them try to make it work with Ingram. But given all that, to be able to come through it a couple games above .500 and playing really, really well lately.
Golliver: So on the Ariza thing, though, wasn’t Pelinka his old agent?
Sharp: Yes, good call.
Golliver: He’s an L.A. guy, right? So if you’re trading for him you probably have a handshake deal of like, okay we’re going to bring you back on some number.
Sharp: I love how shady the Lakers are at this point.
Golliver: Why even talk around it? It’s just true. If James Jones just hands you Tyson Chandler and Trevor Ariza, what else are you supposed to say about it?
Sharp: Here’s my issue with Ariza, though. He’s in the same Korver-George Hill category, where he’s probably better in theory than he actually will be on the court.
Golliver: He would be really good with LeBron.
Sharp: You think so?
Golliver: Textbook LeBron-type player.
Sharp: No, I know. But textbook in the sense that he was good three or four years ago?
Golliver: No. Textbook in the fact that he will handle the toughest defensive assignment on the wing. That he will not need touches to be happy. That he will hit the open 3-pointer on the kickouts.
Sharp: I could see that being true.
Golliver: That his three-point percentage will immediately climb once he plays with LeBron because LeBron is setting him up.
Sharp: I worry that Houston was the best possible situation for him, and we were seeing the best possible version of aging Ariza over the last couple of years. And what we’ve seen in Phoenix is closer to what he actually is at this point in his career.
Golliver: But isn’t LeBron and James Harden, their role within an offense, very, very similar? As close as you can get. And LeBron is creating as many points by the pass basically as Harden would. If he had better shooters he’d be right there neck and neck, right?
Sharp: You trade the first. I don’t know if you trade the first for Ariza. It’s not the pick that they’re giving up that I’m worried about. I’m worried that Ariza probably isn’t as good as they would need him to be.