With Trevor Ariza’s name being floated around in trade talks lately, should the San Antonio Spurs make a push to add the veteran wing to their roster?
The San Antonio Spurs lack some depth on the wing this season after injuries to Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker, and there are a couple of possible fits at that position in the trade market.
The Phoenix Suns have gotten off to a horrible start after their fans hoped for a breakout season from their young nucleus.
The Suns brought in Trevor Ariza to be a veteran presence on a young team with loads of talent, but they might be willing to move on from him now that it looks like they’re lottery bound.
The Lakers have been a rumored destination for the former NBA champion, but should the Spurs give Phoenix a call regarding Ariza’s availability?
Let’s look at Ariza’s contract, how he would fit in San Antonio, and whether the Spurs have the assets to get a deal done.
Next: Trevor Ariza's contract
Trevor Ariza’s contract
The Suns were trying to make a push for the playoffs this year after being miserable for a few seasons, and they thought Ariza might be the missing piece to put them over the top.
They had plenty of cap space to spend, so they offered him a one-year $15 million deal this offseason and the Rockets were unwilling to match an offer at that price.
With the wheels falling off in Phoenix this season, the Suns should probably clean out their expensive veterans and look towards next year for a serious playoff push.
The Suns can start putting Ariza in trade offers beginning on December 15th, and he’s already reportedly drawn interest from eight different teams ahead of that all-important date.
The Spurs would be able to swallow that $15 million salary this year if they send back the right amount of salary to Phoenix.
Who could possibly be included in that deal?
Next: San Antonio Spurs' trade assets
San Antonio Spurs’ trade assets
There are a couple of different scenarios the Spurs could explore if they are looking to add Trevor Ariza.
They could try to send Pau Gasol’s $16.8 million salary to Phoenix along with some sort of draft compensation in exchange for Ariza. The Spurs should have their own first round pick as well as a first round selection from Toronto if they are willing to part with one of them in this deal.
Unfortunately Pau’s foot injury complicates things and the Suns probably wouldn’t want to take on his salary without significant draft compensation.
A combination of Patty Mills and another player making a small amount of money (Dante Cunningham, Quincy Pondexter, etc.) could be enough to entice the Suns into making a deal. Phoenix could desperately use a point guard, and Mills could be a good fit alongside Devin Booker.
Mills and Gasol would be the two veterans that would be easiest to package in a potential trade, and the Spurs have enough draft capital and cheap veterans to get a deal done if they’re willing to give up a future asset.
Next: Trevor Ariza's fit in San Antonio
Trevor Ariza’s fit in San Antonio
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With injuries to Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker, the Spurs have been left extremely thin at the wing position behind Rudy Gay.
Dante Cunningham and Davis Bertans are currently rotating in at the wing, but both of them are more power forwards in today’s game.
Ariza doesn’t need the ball in his hands very much, he can provide some spacing around DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge (35.3% career three-point shooter), and he’s still capable of playing at a high level on the defensive end of the floor (the Spurs currently rank 29th in defensive rating).
Ariza would be an upgrade over Patty Mills in the rotation if San Antonio is willing to deal him, and he would certainly give this team a boost to make the playoffs.
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This potential trade would depend on what sort of draft compensation the Spurs are willing to send back and whether Phoenix’s demands are reasonable.
If San Antonio is serious about making the playoffs this season, they should try to get this deal done. If they are looking further into the future, it’s probably not worth giving up significant draft capital for a veteran on a one-year deal.