Fans of the Purple and Gold may remember the circumstances surrounding Trevor Ariza’s exit from Los Angeles following the first of the Bryant and Pau Gasol-led championship runs in 2009, but he is a player the team should once again pursue as an unrestricted free agent this summer. At 28-years-old, the former Bruin is still an above average perimeter defender and has developed into one of the deadlier three-point shooters in the league. Improving over each of the past four seasons, Ariza actually shot a career-high 40.7 percent from beyond the arc (5.7 attempts per night) and played in 77 games for the Wizards.
Early reports out of Washington were that the team is interested in bringing him back, but they also have the matter of Marcin Gortat’s pending free agency to consider as well. With Martell Webster under contract for another three seasons and last year’s seldom-used #3 overall pick in Otto Porter still waiting to be developed, this could be the perfect opportunity for the Lakers to offer a three-year deal somewhere in the ball park of $20-24 million. Having already proven he’s able to play alongside Bryant during two trips to the Finals (including the loss to Boston when he was hampered by injuries), Ariza could truly be a perfect fit to play at the small forward.
The Wizards are expected to make Gortat their top priority.
Ariza averaged 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season. He shot 45.6% from the field and 40.7% from beyond the arc.