Lakers Trade Rumors: Lonzo Ball, Young Core Not Available for Trevor Ariza

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2018

PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 6: Trevor Ariza #3 of the Phoenix Suns looks on during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 6, 2018 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are not sacrificing any of their young core to rent Trevor Ariza.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported the Lakers are not making Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart available to the Phoenix Suns in trade discussions.

The Suns, Lakers and Houston Rockets have talked about a three-team deal that would send Ariza to Los Angeles, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Rockets and undetermined assets to Phoenix.

Ariza and Caldwell-Pope are veterans on one-year contracts, so they're essentially shuffled deck chairs. The Suns essentially hold all the power in negotiations because they're negotiating with two playoff-contenting teams in need of help.

The Lakers are a better defensive team than advertised, sitting ninth in defensive rating. But Kuzma's still a minus on that end at the 4 spot, and adding Ariza would help fortify the 3 and 4 spots and help LeBron James rest his body.

Caldwell-Pope's been a disappointment all season but fits the Rockets' need for a floor-stretching wing who can defend at an above-average clip. Houston's been drowning on the defensive end all season and ironically miss the presence of Ariza, whom it allowed to leave for Phoenix in the offseason. 

"I'm just focused right now," Caldwell-Pope told reporters of the trade rumors. "Playing here now."

Neither Caldwell-Pope nor Ariza can be traded until Dec. 15, when the NBA lifts the embargo on moving players who signed a contract during the offseason.

With a couple of more days to negotiate before that date, it's possible the sides can come to terms on a mutually beneficial deal and have things ready to go by the weekend. 

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