The presence of swingman Trevor Ariza was one reason the Houston Rockets finished with the best record in the regular season and took the Golden State Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference Finals, but he could be joining forces with the enemy this offseason.
ESPN.com's Chris Haynes appeared on the TK Show with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic and discussed players who could look to take a pay cut to play alongside Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant on the Warriors in 2018-19 and mentioned Ariza as "a name that I'm hearing."
According to Spotrac, Ariza is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason after playing in Houston on a four-year, $32 million deal.
Landing Ariza would not only be a boost for the Warriors, but it would remove one of the important pieces from the Western Conference foe that could have knocked them out of the playoffs had Chris Paul not suffered a hamstring injury that sidelined him for Games 6 and 7.
Ariza averaged 11.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this season and drilled 36.8 percent of his three-pointers. His shooting ability and length at 6'8" would allow head coach Steve Kerr to work Ariza into his small-ball lineups that bury opposing defenses because of the spacing they create and the presence of five players who can all shoot from deep.
He is also a capable perimeter defender who held opponents to 7.6 percent worse shooting from three-point range than their normal averages during the regular season, per NBA.com.
While Ariza would likely have to make a financial sacrifice to play with the Warriors, it would also put him in position to win championships in the latter portion of his career. He will be 33 years old next season, but pairing with Curry, Durant and Klay Thompson would mean there is little pressure to carry the offensive load beyond hitting open shots created by defensive attention shifted elsewhere.
It would also make the Warriors all the more formidable, which is a scary thought for the rest of the NBA considering they are a single victory away from their third title in four years.