The Rockets and Trevor Ariza have agreed on a four-year, $32MM deal that will bring the sharpshooting small forward to Houston, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. A number of teams were rumored to be interested in Ariza’s services, but the Rockets beat them out on a deal that will still provide them enough flexibility to match the Mavericks’ offer sheet that was presented to Chandler Parsons, should they choose to do so.
Ariza’s contract is structured on a declining scale, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). He will earn $8.6MM this season, and $8.2MM, $7.8MM, $7.4MM, in the following years. The price figure doesn’t prohibit the Rockets from bringing back Parsons, but it’s seemingly unlikely, given that both Ariza and Parsons play small forward. Ariza could potentially be used as a stretch four alongside Dwight Howard, but such a scenario would only be necessary if Houston brings back Parsons.
In 77 games with the Wizards last season, the Rob Pelinka client averaged 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per night. He shot 40.7% from beyond the arc, well above his career mark of 34.7%. Ariza, 29, played in Houston during the 2009/10 season. He’ll likely be in line to start for the Rockets, provided the team chooses not to match the Mavs’ offer sheet on Parsons.
Ariza’s departure is a major loss for the Wizards, who worked to secure the return of Ariza and fellow free agent Marcin Gortat. They were able to do so rather quickly with Gortat, reportedly the higher priority of the two, but Ariza was determined to shop the open market. The Wizards, with Martell Webster out perhaps until New Year’s Day after undergoing back surgery, will either have to turn the small forward position over to 2013 No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter or push to find another option on the market.