When the Los Angeles Lakers filled in their roster around LeBron James, they faced plenty of criticism over bypassing the signing of a traditional spot-up shooter that historically were on teams he led.
There was also the aspect of the Lakers not trading for a second All-Star. While they reportedly are against breaking up the young core unless it means acquiring a marquee player, the Lakers are pursuing a trade involving Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Speculation over the past week linked them to potentially acquiring Trevor Ariza from the Phoenix Suns. Ariza, Caldwell-Pope and others who signed a new contract during 2018 NBA free agency became eligible to be traded on Saturday.
The possibility was one that sat well with Ariza, as he informed the Suns of his preference to be sent to the Lakers, per Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
Ariza let the Suns know that the Lakers were his preferred destination, and the teams tried to work out a deal.
The Lakers and Suns reportedly discussed a multitude of trade scenarios and ones that involved looping in a third team that would take on Caldwell-Pope. But as Suns owner Robert Sarver was against sending Ariza to the Lakers, the team came to terms with the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards.
However, that fell apart almost immediately after the trade agreement was reported due to the Suns believing they would receive Dillon Brooks, not MarShon Brooks. That allowed for the Lakers and other teams to re-engage with the Suns, but they hammered out a new trade with the Wizards in the morning.
Although Ariza didn’t have his wish met, he does return to a team he previously succeeded with. He spent two seasons with the Wizards, which included starting 77 games for them during the 2013-14 campaign when they reached the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.