The Los Angeles Lakers announced that they have waived veteran forward Trevor Ariza, marking an end to his second stint with the team.
Ariza will forever be beloved for what he contributed to the Lakers the first time around, helping them win the championship in 2009.
Unfortunately, this time around didn’t go as hoped after getting off to a rough start when he injured his ankle during training camp. Ariza was forced to undergo surgery and missed the first couple months of the season and was never quite able to get back on track after returning.
In 24 games this season (11 starts), Ariza averaged 4.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 19.3 minutes per game.
The reason the Lakers waived him with three games to play after already being eliminated from playoff contention is to begin to play for the future. The Lakers now have an open roster spot to work with and can sign players before Sunday’s deadline.
The Lakers only have a handful of players under contract for next season, so they can give a young player a multi-year deal to add him to their core. It would also give them another tradeable contract going into the summer, which could be important for making deals.
As far as who the Lakers will use the open roster spot on, the obvious choice would be Wenyen Gabriel, who the Lakers brought in on a two-way contract in the back half of the season.
Gabriel has impressed with his energy and athleticism in his limited minutes with the team, perhaps earning a contract for next season.
Davis understands Lakers will lose players
It’s no secret that this season didn’t go as planned for the Lakers, although injuries played a large factor in them never being able to get going.
Because of that, Anthony Davis would like to see what they could look like together healthy next season, although he understands that’s not likely to happen.
“Like I said, when we put this team together, we had championship aspirations and once again, injuries got in the way of that,” Davis said.
“I think we would love to see, I think the world would love to see, if we were healthy for the full 82. Now if that repeats next year and we have the same team, who knows. Like I said, we got to recap this season, what worked and what didn’t work and go from there.
“But I truly think that we could’ve done something special but Bron and myself, mainly me, weren’t healthy for the entire season.”
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