Updates from Saturday, July 12
USA Today's Sam Amick reports the Rockets have landed Ariza:
The Houston Rockets have agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with Trevor Ariza, @USATODAYsports has learned.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 12, 2014
ESPN's Marc Stein has the latest on a new team hunting Ariza:
ESPN sources say Rockets appear to be out in pursuit of Luol Deng but remain in the hunt to try to sign Trevor Ariza away from Wizards— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 12, 2014
Updates from Friday, July 11
CBS Sports' Ken Berger has the latest on Dallas' interest in Ariza:
Fully expecting Houston to match on Chandler Parsons, Dallas moving ahead with plan B: Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza, league sources say.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 11, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, July 9
If the Cavs can't get James, their backup plan remains making a run at signing free-agent forward Trevor Ariza, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Wojnarowski also had an update on how his former team the Washington Wizards currently view Ariza:
Washington Wizards have talked to free agent Luol Deng, but still determined to re-sign Trevor Ariza, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
Updates from Monday, July 7
ESPN's Chris Broussard reported on one of the suitors for Trevor Ariza in free agency:
Dallas, believing it likely will lose out on both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, will attempt to sign Chandler Parsons away from the Houston Rockets. The Mavericks also have Luol Deng andTrevor Ariza in their sights, sources said.
Updates from Wednesday, July 2
While Trevor Ariza has been mum on his preferred destination in free agency, his Wizards teammate Bradley Beal had no qualms voicing his thoughts on how much he would like the small forward to return via Brandon Parker the Washington Post:
“He’s kind of up in the air, but he loves D.C. for sure,” Beal said during a Wednesday phone interview. “We had a successful season this past season, and he’s a big reason why. He’s definitely considering coming back, and hopefully the front office can lure him back in so we can keep building on last season.”
Fresh off of arguably the best season of his 10-year NBA career, Trevor Ariza is attracting lots of interest. Before his expected flirtation around the Association, though, he'll meet with current Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman.
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the news:
Trevor Ariza has significant interest -- including Cavs -- and his Wizards coach, Randy Wittman, will be in L.A. by morning to meet him.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2014
Ariza was vital in helping Washington to its best season in nearly a decade. In 77 games, he averaged 14.4 points, a career-high 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest. He also established himself as one of the best shooters in the league, knocking down 2.3 treys a game at a career-best 40.7 percent.
Once regarded as a defensive specialist, he has developed into an all-around stud. When he was on the court last year, the Wizards averaged 104.8 points per possession and allowed just 101.2, per NBA.com. When he went to the bench, those numbers went to 99.9 and 104.9, respectively. That's a massive net difference of 8.5 points per 100 possessions.
He certainly made life easier for point guard John Wall, who told the Washington Post's Michael Lee he wants Ariza back:
Asked John Wall if he's making that last pitch to Trevor Ariza. Wall texted back, "That's my guy he know I want him back." #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) July 1, 2014
In a free-agent class that features names like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Luol Deng, it might have been conceivable that Ariza could fly under the radar or be had at a bargain, but he is clearly a very hot commodity after such a standout campaign.
According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Arash Markazi, two of the league's best teams are potential suitors:
Another "if Lowry is off the board early domino"..I wouldn't be surprised if Heat pursue Trevor Ariza. Perfect SF to lighten LeBron's load— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 1, 2014
One of the top off-season priorities for the Clippers is upgrading at small forward. They will reach out to Paul Pierce and Trevor Ariza.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 1, 2014
In addition to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers, Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears cited a source saying the Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns will also be in the mix.
Things are going to get interesting, and a bidding war could potentially drive Ariza's price up. Either way, Wittman, who is also concentrating on bringing back Marcin Gortat, has his work cut out for him.
If Ariza continues to build off of last year's tremendous campaign, though, the work will be worth it.