JULY 6: Ariza’s deal with the Suns is now official, the team confirmed in a press release. “Phoenix was the most aggressive team and the team that showed the most interest in me,” Ariza said today at his introductory press conference. “We all want to feel appreciated and wanted. When a team shows that much appreciation for what you do, naturally you are attracted to something like that.” (Twitter link from Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle).
JUNE 30: The Suns and Trevor Ariza have reached an agreement on a one-year, $15MM contract, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Phoenix will use most – if not all – of its available cap room to complete the signing.
Ariza, who turns 33 on Saturday, averaged 11.7 PPG and 4.4 RPG with a .368 3PT% in 67 regular-season games for the Rockets. While his season ended on a low note following an 0-for-12 shooting performance in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, the veteran played a key role in Houston, knocking down corner threes and playing excellent perimeter defense. His departure will be a blow to the West’s No. 1 seed.
The Suns, meanwhile, continue to add depth to their frontcourt. In the last two drafts, Phoenix has used lottery picks to add Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges. The team also locked up T.J. Warren to a long-term extension that will take effect this year.
Given Phoenix’s need in the backcourt, the decision to devote the majority of its available cap room to Ariza is a little surprising. However, three-and-D wings are one of the most coveted assets in the modern NBA, and Ariza will provide veteran locker-room leadership as part of a young Suns roster.
While it’s not clear how the Suns will address their hole at the point, their deal with Ariza could be good news for a team like the Raptors, who had been concerned that Phoenix might sign Fred VanVleet to an aggressive offer sheet, tweets Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. The Suns seem likely to be in the market for a less expensive point guard now.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.