After a poor start, the Los Angeles Lakers have started to show improvements in their performance in the 2018-19 NBA season. So far, they are the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference with a 16-10 record. However, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka continue to find ways to improve their roster.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers are currently engaging in a trade discussion with the Phoenix Suns to bring back veteran small forward Trevor Ariza to Los Angeles. The Lakers and the Suns are reportedly looking for a third team that could help them facilitate the trade that also involves veteran shooting guard Kentavious-Caldwell Pope.
“The Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in talks trying to acquire Phoenix Suns forward Trevor Ariza, league sources told ESPN. The teams have been working to reach an agreement with a third team that would take on Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as part of a potentially larger deal, league sources said. The Suns want to land a playmaking guard and a draft asset as the price of unloading Ariza, sources said. Phoenix and Los Angeles have made progress in third-team scenarios, although no agreements are close and both teams remain active in multiple trade discussions throughout the league, sources said.”
The potential acquisition of Trevor Ariza will give the Lakers a veteran wingman who has a championship experience. It’s worth noting that Ariza won his first NBA championship title with the Purple and Gold when he and Kobe Bryant took down the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals. Ariza may not be a prolific scorer, but he’s one of the best defenders in the league. This season, the 33-year-old small forward is averaging 9.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.3 steals on 36.8 percent shooting from the field and 34.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The Lakers and the Suns will be needing to wait until December 15 to push through with the deal since Trevor Ariza and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope just signed new contracts in the last offseason. Also, the Lakers should first ask permission from Caldwell-Pope before including him in any deal since he has a 15 percent trade kicker on his current contract. However, as ESPN noted, the Lakers are already working with KCP’s agent, Rich Paul, in finding a deal that might increase his role and help him land a decent contract when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July.
Wojnarowski hasn’t mentioned any team that could possibly help the Suns and the Lakers facilitate the trade, but Phoenix is reportedly seeking a point guard and future draft assets in exchange for Trevor Ariza.