With the Phoenix Suns playing like arguably the worst team in the league, and the Los Angeles Lakers hoping to improve themselves without sacrificing long-term plans, it makes sense that the two sides would be in discussions on a potential deal for veteran wing Trevor Ariza.
Ariza would give the Lakers another excellent defender and shooter, as well as a veteran who has performed on the league’s biggest stages. The main piece the Lakers would reportedly be giving up in a deal would be guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
He is on an expiring contract worth $12 million, however, the Suns have other needs they’re looking to fill. According to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, Phoenix wants a point guard or draft picks in what would be a multi-team trade:
Similarly, they don’t need Caldwell-Pope, so they’re canvassing the league instead for a point guard and/or draft considerations in a multiteam deal with the Lakers.
Phoenix reportedly wanted a member of the Lakers young core, which naturally did not lead to much discussions over the possibility that Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma would be moved in a trade for Ariza.
The Suns don’t need Caldwell-Pope for the same reason they are looking to deal away Ariza. He would take away minutes from their young wings such as Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges. Their want for a point guard also makes sense as their current options are rookies De’Anthony Melton, Elie Okobo and two-way player Jawun Evans.
Considering Caldwell-Pope has veto power on any trade thanks to a little-known rule, it would seem likely that his agent is working with the Lakers and Suns to find an ideal landing spot. Only on another one-year deal, Caldwell-Pope would likely prefer to join a team where he can play consistent minutes in order to sign a long-term deal next summer.
If everything works out, this could turn out to be a deal that is a positive for all parties involved. Caldwell-Pope and Ariza would both find themselves in better situations, the Lakers would add another veteran player to improve their team, and the Suns could acquire a point guard they sorely need or draft considerations.