The Los Angeles Lakers have continued their rivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers off the court in the NBA off-season, with 2009 ring-winner Trevor Ariza on the way out of LA, maybe to Cleveland, and Ron Artest possibly the subject of a tug-of-war between the two franchises as he leaves the Houston Rockets.
Ariza, who averaged 11.3 points and 4.2 rebounds and shot 50% from three-point range in the 2009 NBA playoffs, is reported to be unhappy with the base-level deal the Lakers are offering him as a free agent. While the Portland Trailblazers and Toronto Raptors are the only two NBA teams who are in a position to offer him more, Ariza is reported to be so annoyed with the Lakers that he would be willing to switch teams for the same money, with Cleveland itself one team that has showed interest in him.
Meanwhile, the Rockets’ Artest was reported to have met with Cavaliers star LeBron James at the BET Awards recently, fueling the Cavs’ interest in Artest to shore up their defensive weaknesses that saw them bundled out before reaching the 2009 finals against the Lakers. Houston TV is reporting that Houston is only offering Artest a one-year deal and Artest’s agent has confirmed that his player would talk with James or LA’s Kobe Bryant if approached.
Could we see a new trio of stars at either the Cavs or Lakers, like the Boston Celtics had in 2008 for their championship?