Once the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook via trade ahead of the NBA Draft, many wondered how the franchise was going to fill out the remainder of their roster. The team was in dire need of shooting and likely would need to add veterans on minimum deals due to salary cap restrictions.
Several names were mentioned as possibilities, but one of the more intriguing ones was veteran wing Trevor Ariza, a familiar name amongst Laker fans. Ariza, of course, helped the franchise win an NBA Championship back in 2009 and has remained one of the best veteran 3-and-D wings in the league.
Now a reunion has apparently come to fruition as the Lakers and Ariza have come to terms on a one=year deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Free agent F Trevor Ariza has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agents Aaron Mintz, Steven Heumann and Erika Ruiz of @caa_sports tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 2, 2021
Ariza spent most of last season with the Miami Heat, where he was one of their key rotation pieces. Though obviously not the same athlete he used to be, he remains a solid perimeter defender who must be accounted for offensively with his three-point range.
The veteran also brings toughness and an attitude that is needed for a team with championship aspirations. He is never afraid of the moment and has thrived on the biggest stages the NBA has to offer.
Who else the Lakers can bring in or retain remains to be seen, but the franchise is off to a good start in finding veterans who can contribute while on minimum deals, and Ariza is one of the best. Last season with the Heat, Ariza averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 35% from three-point range.
Lakers agree to one-year deal with Wayne Ellington
The Lakers’ front office wasn’t done making moves at the outset of free agency as the team also came to terms on a one-year deal with sharpshooting guard Wayne Ellington. Like Ariza, Ellington is also familiar with the Lakers’ franchise, spending time here in 2015.
Ellington isn’t quite the defender Ariza is but is one of the best shooters the league has to offer and proved that last season with the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 9.6 points while knocking down 42.2% of his shots from deep last season and has shot below 35% just once in his entire career.