As the Los Angeles Lakers look to fill out their roster, one familiar name has emerged as a potential fit to add wing depth. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne is the latest NBA insider to suggest the Lakers could look at Trevor Ariza if he receives a buyout from the Thunder. Ariza is a former client of Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.
“I’ll go with Trevor Ariza. He’s a veteran that you’ve heard mentioned in several acquisitions over the past couple years,” Shelburne explained on The Jump. “How many trades did we have last summer? We haven’t seen him in Oklahoma City, but his former agent works for the Lakers right now so always file that one away.”
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After being traded multiple times, Ariza has not reported to the Thunder so far this season as he continues to deal with a personal matter. It remains to be seen if the swingman will receive a buyout from the Thunder, or the team will keep Ariza at his $12.8 million salary this season.
Ariza Is Still Under Contract With the Thunder
During a February episode of The Woj Pod, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also suggested Ariza could be headed to Los Angeles. The snag for the Lakers is the Thunder could be resistant to giving Ariza a buyout.
“Remember a player who’s still out there, Bobby: Trevor Ariza, who is on Oklahoma City’s roster, he’s not reported this year,” Wojnarowski noted, via Silver Screen and Roll. “(Thunder GM) Sam Presti traditionally does not do contract buyouts. He’s usually been able to find trades for guys, so maybe Ariza gets a trade somewhere and then gets bought out if the Lakers can’t trade for him, but that’s another player who I think will be in great demand among the contenders. He’s somebody who has shown up in big moments, a really experienced and versatile forward.”
Ariza averaged 11 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 21 games last season for the Blazers. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported in December 2020 that the Lakers were “monitoring” Ariza’s status with the Thunder.
“The Lakers are monitoring Oklahoma City’s Trevor Ariza should he become available, sources say,” Charania explained.
Vogel on Potential Roster Moves: ‘We’ll Always Look at Opportunities to Improve Our Team’
The Lakers have one remaining roster spot after signing center Damian Jones to a 10-day contract. Los Angeles opened up a spot with the recent release of Quinn Cook. Chances are the Lakers are not done making roster moves as the playoffs get closer. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel admitted the team will “always look at opportunities to improve our team.”
“We’ll always look at opportunities to improve our team, but nothing concrete right now,” Vogel said, per Lakers Nation. “We’re just looking at what players are available. I’m not going to discuss any types of needs that we’re discussing internally.”
Ariza played two seasons for the Lakers including the team’s championship run in 2009. It will be worth watching how the Thunder handles Ariza’s situation before the trade deadline. Given Ariza has an expiring contract, the Thunder may be able to at least land a draft pick in a deal with a contender.