Despite the Los Angeles Lakers being linked to Trevor Ariza, the Phoenix Suns ultimately traded him to the Washington Wizards in exchange for for Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre.
The deal appeared to satisfy the Suns’ reported desire of finding a point guard, however they promptly waived Rivers. As the Suns reportedly wanted Josh Hart instead of a future draft pick, the Lakers were unwilling to trade a member of their young core.
With Ariza teaming up with John Wall and Bradley Beal again, there was a report about Suns owner Robert Sarver refusing to trade the 33-year-old to his hometown team.
However, interim general manager James Jones refuted that, according to Gina Mizell of The Athletic:
No. Throughout all of this, Robert has been adamant that his focus is on what helps the Suns grow and be the best. That was inaccurate. Actually, if something could have worked out, Robert would have been a huge proponent, just because of that investment and understanding that Trevor and his family are (based) on the West Coast. If we can do right for both parties, it should make sense. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t do something that benefits both parties.
Earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, the Suns surprisingly bought out Tyson Chandler ahead of the March 31 deadline in order to be eligible for the playoffs.
Since Chandler has signed with the Lakers, he has completely turned around their season with his defense and rebounding. As a result, the Suns were heavily criticized for the decision since LeBron James reportedly called in a favor to his former teammate Jones.
While Jones denies the report, it is understandable why Sarver would not want to gift Chandler and Ariza to the Lakers.