Trevor Ariza is one of many players returning to the Los Angeles Lakers this season, though he is the only one with more than a decade in between stints. Ariza, of course, was a huge part of the Lakers team that won the NBA Championship in 2009 and many were disappointed that he didn’t return the following season.
Unfortunately, Ariza and the Lakers were unable to come to an agreement on a new contract. The franchise ultimately turned to Ron Artest, aka Metta World Peace, to basically replace him while Ariza would go on to sign with the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers won their second straight NBA Championship in 2010 and some might think that Ariza would be a little jealous at what happened after he left. But the veteran made it clear he is not built like that at all.
“If there’s a way I felt, I felt excitement. I felt happy,” Ariza said at a recent press conference. “Again, I’m not somebody who hate on nobody. I’m happy for people when they’re doing well. I got an opportunity to do something that a lot of people don’t get to do, so being upset or hating on somebody else for doing some great is not in my character. That’s not even the person that I am, so hell no to answer your question.”
Ariza is definitely part of a different generation of players and it isn’t like he didn’t win a championship already. Ariza had absolutely nothing to be jealous of with the Lakers pulling off the repeat. Furthermore, the player Ariza felt best for was the man who replaced him.
“I was happy for Ron [Artest] actually because he was a person that been through a whole lot in his life and his career. For him to come in and be inserted and was seamless, I was happy for him.”
Now in his second stint with the Lakers, Ariza will hope to replicate the success from his first. Toughness, defense and reliable 3-point shooting were the name of the game for him back in 2009 and that has not changed in 2021.
Westbrook immediately called Ariza after Lakers trade
The first big move the Lakers made this offseason was the trade that landed them superstar point guard Russell Westbrook. The guard gives the Lakers a legitimate three-headed monster, but in the immediate aftermath of the deal, Westbrook made a call to his fellow Southern California native in Ariza.
“It’s funny because Russ got traded and 20 minutes after he got traded he was on my phone,” Ariza said. “I don’t know if he was telling me he was happy to be home or he wanted to go to dinner or what he wanted to do. I just know he called my phone like, ‘Yo, what are you doing? Where are you at? I need to talk to you, I need to see you.’ From then on we kept in contact like that. Constant communication and it just so happened that I’m here.”
Ariza would go on to note that his children being in the L.A. area was the biggest recruitment tool, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the words of Westbrook helped lean him towards the Lakers as well.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!