Wizards trade for Trevor Ariza after initial deal falls apart
The Washington Wizards have traded for Trevor Ariza. For real this time.
A day after a three-team deal fell apart, the Wizards agreed Saturday to send forward Kelly Oubre and guard Austin Rivers to the Phoenix Suns for Ariza. The trade represents a shakeup for a struggling Wizards team and reunites them with a swing forward who spent two seasons in the District from 2012-14.
On Friday, reports emerged the Wizards had acquired Ariza only for the deal to break down when there was a dispute over which player the Memphis Grizzlies had agreed to trade. Memphis, who was set to get back Oubre in the original framework, had thought they were trading MarShon Brooks instead of Dillon Brooks.
Instead, the Wizards and the Suns reworked the trade Saturday without Memphis.
The deal will become official on Monday.
“It’s always sad to lose teammates,” guard John Wall said. “I wish those guys the best in their next situation and it’s always great to add a guy like Trevor back, one of the best veterans and teammates I had in the past. We know what he brings to the table and it seems like he’s excited to be here.”
Ariza, in theory, should help the Wizards as a “3-and-D” player. This season, the 33-year-old has averaged 9.9 points per game and has shot 37.9 percent from deep for the Suns, who signed Ariza to a one-year, $15 million deal in the summer to provide a veteran’s presence to their locker room.
The Wizards also hope Ariza will help provide a calming voice to the Wizards after a tumultuous start to the season. When Ariza was with the Wizards, he was a valuable mentor to younger players like Bradley Beal and Otto Porter.
He originally left Washington to sign a four-year, $32 million deal with the Houston Rockets in 2014.
“He’s vocal,” Beal said. “He’s not afraid to voice his opinion and call guys out, hold guys accountable. He provides that veteran’s presence we need and that challenge we need as well.”
By trading Oubre and Rivers, the Wizards are parting ways with players who didn’t pan out, albeit in different ways.
Oubre, drafted 15th overall in 2015, struggled with consistency. He was a streaky shooter and an inconsistent defender. While his energy helped spark the Wizards at times, Oubre saw his minutes fluctuate with sporadic play. He was moved to the starting lineup earlier this season, only to be removed for Tomas Satoransky after six games.
The Wizards, with the three max players under contract, were unlikely to be able to afford Oubre this summer after his contract expires.
Rivers, on the other hand, never quite found a role on the Wizards after he was acquired in the summer from the Los Angeles Clippers. The 26-year-old was asked to play more off the ball and come off the bench, struggling with both. His shot attempts and usage were down drastically from last year.
Still, Wall and Beal both expressed sympathy for the two, particularly with Oubre and Rivers’ status in limbo when the trade was originally squashed.
“You don’t see that a lot,” Beal said. “I kind of feel for Kelly and Austin to be put in that trick bag in a way of not knowing what the hell is going on. ... I think they handled it well like professionals. I think anybody else would have been a little more frustrated.”
Wall and Beal both said they’ve been in touch with Ariza.
The Wizards are 11-18 and have lost four straight. But they are still only two and a half games out of the playoffs.
“With Trevor, it’s a guy that he understands his role,” Wall said. “Comes in as the glue guy. That’s kind of what you need with these certain teams.. ... That’s what you try and find on certain teams when you try and push and make a run.
“That’s what we’ve been dealing with the last couple of years and hopefully, we can add a piece like Trevor that knows that and understands that and tries to help out as much as possible.”