Contract Status: Player option exercised
Acquired in the November trade that sent Maurice Evans and Brian Cook to Orlando, Ariza blossomed as a backup small forward for the Lakers before breaking his foot shortly after the New Year. After coming to the Lakers, the L.A. native averaged almost seven points and four rebounds per game while showing jaw-dropping athleticism as evidenced by his Dunk-of-the-Year candidate leap over Grant Hill in the Lakers’ victory over the Suns on Christmas Day. However, where Trevor most took advantage of his athletic prowess was on the defensive end as Coach Jackson immediately entrusted the forward with guarding some of opposing teams’ most prominent wing players.
With Ariza expected to be back with the Lakers after returning from injury during the Western Conference Finals, L.A. has a logjam at the three spot with Radmanovic and Walton also occupying the post. However, neither player is particularly adept at defense so Ariza figures to see a lot of playing time next season as the team looks to improve its overall defensive game. His role could expand even more if the improved stroke from outside that he showcased during the playoffs continues into next season.