Best Destinations for Wizards veteran Trevor Ariza
In hopes of fixing what appears to be a disappointing start to a promising season, the Washington Wizards traded young forward Kelly Oubre Jr to the Phoenix Suns in exchange of veteran swingman Trevor Ariza. The purpose for this trade was for Ariza to provide a steady presence to a sinking ship that is already halfway into the water.Embed from Getty Images
However, it was totally unfair to place that responsibility on a 33-year old vet who may have seen his best basketball years leave him on the rearview. The Wizards are sporting a 2-5 record with Ariza aboard, and with John Wall missing the rest of the season due to a left heel surgery, it’s safe to say that the Washington ship has sunk. At least for this season.
With Ariza’s mission in Washington in total peril (not his fault), the team should do him a favor and send him packing to a playoff-contending team. Ariza is not getting any younger, and another shot at the Larry O’Brien trophy will be a pleasant sight for the 6-foot-8 small forward.Embed from Getty Images
Oklahoma City Thunder
Already sporting an impressive 23-13 record heading into halfway point of the season, making a play for a veteran like Ariza will bolster the Thunder’s bid for a deeper playoff run. Aside from Paul George, the team does not get much production from its wing players like Terrance Ferguson (4.5ppg, 0.5spg) and Alex Abrines (5.6ppg, 0.6spg). Jerami Grant is slowly becoming a capable 3-and-D player, but he is still a step behind other quicker and stronger combo forwards in the league.
By acquiring Ariza, the Thunder would have an excellent perimeter defender and a versatile offensive player. He can rebound and pass (5.6rpg, 3.5apg), score when needed to (11.0ppg), and is an experienced on-ball defender (2.4spg).
There’s no question that Oklahoma will make the playoffs in April, but outstanding forwards like LeBron James and Kevin Durant are also waiting on that line. You won’t necessarily stop those guys, but it’s worth it to let Ariza make those superstars try hard on the offensive end.
Portland Trail Blazers
Each year, it always seems like the Blazers are always one piece of the puzzle away from being a truly elite team in the playoffs. They were heavily-favorited in their first-round matchup last year but Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans dismantled them in four games.
One of the problems that continually hound the Blazers is that they don’t have a consistent perimeter player who could effectively play both forward positions in a consistent basis. Evan Turner is an all-around forward, but his ridiculous inefficiency in shooting beyond the arc (13%) has limited the team’s options on offense. Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu are good defenders but they are nowhere the elite level of Ariza.
Ariza will definitely do a better job on defense than those three players, and his inside-outside offensive game will make it harder for opposing teams to double on Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum.
New Orleans Pelicans
This could be the year that will be the telling tale of whether Anthony Davis should elect to stay in New Orleans or force his way out of the team via a trade. Year after year, the Pelicans front office has failed to surround Davis with a strong supporting cast that would elicit a reflection of a true championship-caliber team. The only year that they came close was when they paired DeMarcus Cousins with Davis, a season that unfortunately resulted to a Cousins injury and second round exit in the playoffs.
It’s hard to imagine that the Pelicans could pull off a stunning trade for a superstar to play with Davis this season. They don’t have enough young players or trade assets for that. One way they could convince the All-Star center to stay is to pledge their undying loyalty to build a championship contender in New Orleans by acquiring a top-level glue guy, a great factor in many championship teams in the past.
Acquiring Ariza midway through the season is a no-brainer for the Pelicans. With Jrue Holiday manning the point guard position and Julius Randle becoming a positive surprise for the team, head coach Alvin Gentry could use a primary defender who is not a liability on the offensive end. It’s not a given that Ariza will quickly put them on top of a stacked Western Conference. But it’s a step in the right direction, something that could set off the dominoes in the right place.