The Los Angeles Lakers wanted Trevor Ariza, and there seemed to be little question about that around the NBA. But as the Lakers made their push for the veteran forward the Washington Wizards seemingly came out of left field to strike a deal with the Phoenix Suns for him. After the Wizards sent Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers to the Suns, speculation began on what happened with the Lakers deal.
Note: Rivers has since been released by the Suns.
It seems there may be some clarification on that front, and it goes somewhat hand-in-hand with the rumors of the Suns not wanting to send Ariza to the Lakers. As Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported, the Suns turned down an offer of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a second-round pick, and instead wanted guard Josh Hart. That seemingly led to things coming apart from the sound of it.
“The Suns were willing to dance with the Lakers, but only on their terms. After the first Ariza trade fell apart, the Lakers hopped back in by offering Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a future second-round pick, league sources say. The Suns demanded a young player instead of the pick. That player is believed to be Josh Hart. The Lakers obviously refused; Hart is 10 years younger and has been better than Ariza this season.” O’Connor states.
There’s no surprise that this deal was turned down by the Lakers. This also goes along with the fact that Magic Johnson and company are eyeing a bigger deal far beyond the Ariza talks and any other potential immediate trades.
Lakers’ Anthony Davis Trade Rumors
One key reason why the Lakers didn’t have interest in shipping a young asset for Ariza reportedly comes down to a larger target in Anthony Davis. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed (via Real GM), the Lakers are keeping assets to make a big push for the New Orleans Pelicans star.
“Here’s the line [the Lakers] have to walk: they’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they have to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer either pre or post free agency…
“The absolute dream scenario, people talk about (how) they can trade for Anthony Davis or sign a free agent. The dream scenario is they do both.”
The Lakers certainly have the pieces in place to push for a trade to land Davis, but much of that comes down to whether the Pelicans are interested in moving him. In turn, the decision on whether Davis accepts the expected contract extension this offseason could be a deciding factor. As his contract shows, he has a player option in 2020-21 (per Spotrac), which is what’s started the bulk of the trade speculation.