Feb 27, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza (1) is guarded as he goes to the basket against Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson (15) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) at Air Canada Centre. The Wizards beat the Raptors 134-129 in triple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Ariza – Raptors’ free agent target?


May 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson (7) drives to the net against Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson (54) in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre. Brooklyn defeated Toronto 104-103. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Sheridan’s look at Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs)  has got me mulling over which of these people should join the Toronto Raptors next season. Sheridan has listed Kyle Lowry as the fourth most-desirable UFA, and it should go without saying that I and every other Raptor fan wants him to return. I’ve also written about how much Luol Deng could help us, but he’s likely to be very expensive. Let’s zero in on Trevor Ariza.

In my view, the Washington Wizards made a serious mistake. They chose to sign Martell Webster, who’s always going to be great next season, to a multi-year deal, yet left Ariza without a contract. The Raps should pounce. Ariza is a veteran swingman who’s played for six teams in his 10-year NBA career. For me, that’s usually a red flag, but I’ve decided Trevor is a late bloomer. He started 77 games for the playoff-bound Wiz, averaging over 14 points and 6 boards per game. Trevor suddenly developed a 3-point shot, averaging 2.3 makes at a 40.7% rate, both career highs. For the Raps, a long-ball team, he’d fit in nicely. Coach Dwane Casey would also appreciate Trevor’s defensive prowess. He’s the Wiz’ best on the ball defender and an active helper.

Trevor doesn’t have a position, and doesn’t need one. He can play shooting guard or small forward, and doesn’t look out of place guarding stretch-4s on the perimeter. Sheridan describes him as a “glue guy”, but I think he’s more than that.

I’m not suggesting Trevor is going to push any of our starters to the bench, although I’m confident he’ll try. Being on the second unit again may be of little appeal to Trevor, who has averaged a lot of minutes the past few seasons. However, he’s 29 and without a contract. Playing for a playoff contender in Toronto may look mighty good in early July if the offers aren’t flowing.

Would I choose Trevor over Patrick Patterson? No. Two-Pat is younger and likely to cost less. But the Raps need one of them, and I’d be happy if we signed both.

I’m not interested in re-jigging the Raps’ roster much. The chemistry is right, the prices are right, so I’m firmly in the “No trades” camp. [20-second timeout: Please don't send me "What about Landry Fields or Chuck Hayes?" notes. I'm saying don't trade any of our tradeable players.] However, there’s always room for a versatile hustling veteran like Trevor Ariza, and I’d get an offer sheet out to him as soon as the calendar turns over into July. He made $7.7M last season, and is certainly worth $26M on a 3-year deal.

What do you think, Rapture Nation? Does the acquisition of Ariza make sense? Comments please.

Tags: Toronto Raptors Trevor Ariza Washington Wizards

  • Humongousglobe

    Ariza off the bench makes too much sense!

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hmmm…OK, are you in favour of getting him or no?
      I think the Raps are a sensibly-run organization. Do you disagree? I’m asking you to flesh out your thought, please.

  • Xtremenator1

    Love the idea. Have him in the starting lineup over Ross whom I like, but he’s still very young and not ready for the big stage “yet”. This also gives them a three point threat off the bench that can actually do other things on the court, no offense Novak. He could guard the Lebron’s, Johnson’s, George’s, etc. Better than anybody else on the Raps as well. Good idea. Maybe a better PF would be a better idea who could have Amir come off the bench, but there really isn’t anyone on the market. Perhaps next season they could go after someone when a lot of their expiring deals come up. But I am all for Ariza to the Raps!

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi X-man:
      I’m glad you like the idea. The problem, as you alluded, is the expiring deals/salary cap space. Can the Raps put out an offer sheet to Ariza and get him to sign it without renouncing a bunch of UFAs we want back, like Amir?
      Speaking of Amir, I love him coming off the bench. He’s highly capable at both the 4 & 5, and is a “team first” guy who won’t grumble. With Trevor at the 4, we can run and gun with anyone.
      TRoss stays in his starting role. Expect big things.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Xtremenator1

        I believe in Masai, so I think he’ll make the right decision.

  • BIG WoRm

    Ariza would be great

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Short & sweet!
      Thanks for commenting.

  • AM

    Not taking into account contracts etc. it would be nice to have a utility guy like Ariza. He’d match well to the core group of players and I don’t think he’d come in and alter the team concept the Raps play with. Ross coming of the bench with Ariza starting sounds good to me. His versatility also gives a lot of flexibility to mix-up line-ups for Casey. As, mentioned, depending on lineups, he can guard certain 4′s. Put him at the 4 and you get one athletic, shoot capable lineup that would be very difficult/tiring to guard. I’d love the starting backcourt – Lowry, DeRozan and Ariza (especially if Demar continues to progress with his shooting).

    I’d still like to see 2Pat returning though. I really like his game.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi AM:
      I did look at contracts in today’s post, and couldn’t make the math work to get Trevor here. If you are a salary cap/CBA guru, please have a look and make some suggestions.
      You’re not the first to suggest TRoss should come off the bench, but I have to disagree.
      I completely concur about 2Pat. He brings it at both ends of the floor.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • AM

        I’m terrible with the numbers. My ideal situation would to keep Ross as a starter, he still has a lot of potential and giving the minutes/experience is crucial for his development. I could see why some coach’s would put Ariza over Ross. That’s one reason why I’m anxious to see what gets done – quite a few young players that still have high potential on the roster right now.

  • BigAntz

    Ariza will be a great fit!!! but they have to sign lowry first.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi BigAntz:
      Yes, I completely agree. But if I’m Masai, I’ll certainly be telling Lowry that an offer to Ariza is pending. One more inducement to get Kyle to sign.
      Thanks for commenting.