NBA Rumors: Trevor Ariza Rejected Meeting with Rockets in Free Agency

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2018

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 26:   Trevor Ariza #1 of the Houston Rockets looks on prior to Game Six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors on May 26, 2018 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. 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 Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets reportedly wanted Trevor Ariza back following four seasons with the team, but the swingman didn't even give them a meeting this past offseason.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Chris Paul and the Rockets wanted a sit-down meeting with Ariza following their loss in the 2018 Western Conference Finals in an effort to bring him back, but he signed with the Phoenix Suns instead.

On Saturday, Phoenix traded him to the Washington Wizards for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers, per Charania.

It is no wonder the Rockets wanted to keep him given their success with Ariza on the roster in 2017-18. They won a league-best 65 games during the regular season and were one victory away from an NBA Finals appearance before Paul suffered a hamstring injury. He didn't play in the last two games of the playoffs, both losses to the eventual champions Golden State Warriors.

By contrast, Houston is an ugly 14-14 this season and on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

Ariza was able to play off Paul and James Harden, taking advantage of open looks created by their presence and connecting on 36.8 percent of his three-pointers last season. He also provided formidable perimeter defense, holding opponents to 7.9 percent worse shooting from three-point range than their normal averages, per NBA.com.

With Ariza bothering shooters on the outside, Houston finished seventh in the league in defensive rating in 2017-18, compared to 28th in 2018-19, per NBA.com.

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Charania noted seven to eight teams wanted him before Washington made the move, although the trade didn't come without complications.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reported there was a three-team deal in place that would have seen Ariza and two second-round picks from the Memphis Grizzlies going to Washington, Oubre going to Memphis and Rivers and Memphis forward Wayne Selden going to Arizona. However, the trade didn't go through because there was confusion from the Suns and Grizzlies about whether Dillon Brooks or MarShon Brooks would be involved.

Ariza is averaging 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game this season and will look to help the 12-18 Wizards turn things around. They are 2.5 games behind the Orlando Magic for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.