After losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in the recent free agency, the Houston Rockets have been active on the market, searching for a defensive-minded player to fill the huge hole in their wing. They signed Carmelo Anthony upon reaching a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks, but bringing the 10-time NBA All-Star to Houston proved to be a huge mistake for the Rockets. After struggling to make himself fit with the last season’s Western Conference runner-up, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Rockets finally decided to part ways with Anthony.
Releasing Carmelo Anthony is a good decision for the Rockets, but if they are serious about challenging the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, for the Western Conference supremacy, Houston should still find a way to improve their wing. One of the best options to address the issue is to bring back Trevor Ariza to Houston.
While the Rockets were negotiating a new contract with Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza decided to sign a one-year, $15 million deal with the Phoenix Suns in the recent free agency. The Suns added some veterans with the belief that they were finally ready to compete for a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference. Unfortunately, as of now, the Suns are dead last in the Western Conference with a 3-11 record.
ESPN story on Carmelo Anthony, Rockets. https://t.co/VxsvMvqxkC— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 15, 2018
If they find themselves out of the playoff picture, buyout talks between Trevor Ariza and the Suns could be inevitable. Instead of losing him for nothing as an unrestricted free agent, the Suns may consider making Ariza available on the market before the February NBA trade deadline. According to Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated, the Suns could extract a future first-round pick from the Rockets for the veteran small forward.
“The most natural fit is Ariza’s former team, the Rockets. Houston’s start to the season has been a touch better than disastrous, with Mike D’Antoni’s squad ranking No. 29 in points per game and No. 24 in offensive rating. Ariza’s minutes from last season have been largely replaced by James Ennis and a now-scapegoated Carmelo Anthony. As for the other wings, Eric Gordon is shooting 23.1% from three while Gerald Green is a shade better at 25.9%. After reportedly offering four first-round picks for Butler, one first could suffice for the expiring Ariza.”
The Rockets won’t mind giving up a first-round pick to bring Trevor Ariza back to Houston, especially knowing that they are on a win-now mode. Ariza may not be a prolific scorer, but he’s an incredible defender who knows how to make things easier for James Harden and Chris Paul. If the Rockets succeed to acquire Ariza before the February NBA trade deadline, they could soon rise again as a serious threat to the Warriors’ throne.