The Los Angeles Lakers will begin their 2020-21 season tonight, taking on the Los Angeles Clippers back in good ole’ Staples Center. It’s been nearly nine months since basketball was played in the arena, as the Lakers will be taking a full roster into the game including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, as well as some new, exciting players attained in the offseason. Now, of course, we know after last year’s acquisition of Markieff Morris that this may not be the final roster we see in the playoffs. The Lakers appear to again be doing their due diligence in terms of improvements around the margins before the playoffs begin in 2021, as they’re reportedly “monitoring” the situation with current Oklahoma City Thunder forward Trevor Ariza.
Here’s the full quote on the situation from Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The Lakers are monitoring Oklahoma City’s Trevor Ariza should he become available, sources say. As of now, both Ariza and George Hill are expected to begin the season on the Thunder roster. There is also interest in Hill’s services around the league.
The Thunder would have to waive Trevor Ariza, which they may do in conjunction with Ariza and his agent as this type of situation happens many times. A team may be rebuilding, putting an emphasis on their younger players to become better in years to come. This is not good news for old, veteran players like Ariza who may want to contribute to a contender late in his career for another shot at a championship. This was the exact scenario that led to Markieff Morris getting bought out from the Pistons, ending up on the Lakers.
This obviously wouldn’t be the first time that Ariza wore a Lakers uniform or even the first time that he played for a Lakers team that was one of the best in the league. Ariza played for the Lakers after being traded to them in the 2007-08 season. After that, he was a full member of the Lakers team in the 2008-09 season, playing all 82 games leading to the Lakers’ championship led by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Ariza was a fan favorite, coming up with huge clutch steals within the playoffs to help the team win.
He would have a limited role on the Lakers, but he would be a good veteran presence and would be a reliable back-up if players were to go down with COVID-19 and/or injuries.