The Lessons of Trevor Ariza, As Taught By Mitch Kupchak

(Note: In the original publishing of this article, I wrongly wrote Ariza was acquired by the Lakers in February of 2008. As pointed out by our readers, this was incorrect. Ariza was actually acquired in November of 2007. I apologize. I went off one article. The date seemed awkward to me too, but that’s what I get for being lazy).

On November 20th, 2007, the Los Angeles Lakers made a trade. No, they didn’t trade Kobe Bryant, as Kobe had demanded they do the summer before the season.

Los Angeles Lakers' Trevor Ariza (3) goes to the basket against the Denver Nuggets in the second half of their NBA Western Conference final game 2 in Los Angeles on May 21, 2009. Denver won 106-103. (UPI Photo/ Phil McCarten) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

No, this trade barely caused a ripple in the NBA infosphere, even though it occurred shortly before the trade deadline.

The Los Angeles Lakers had shipped out Brian Cook (former first round draft pick) and Maurice Evans for a 6’9″ sinewy swing-man out of UCLA who was currently stuck on the end of the Orlando Magic’s bench. His name? Trevor Ariza.

Many people saw it as a salary dump, to help Jerry Buss’ wallet out after it took a substantial hit with the acquisition of Gasol. The Magic won the Headline Test with the trade (Whichever team gets the headline, “Soso acquires Player-X” is usually thought to win the trade). Phil Jackson said Ariza was athletic and had an “all-around-game” but the Lakers wanted him primarily for his defense.

Next: Ariza’s Hollywood Story

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