Suns forward Trevor Ariza is viewed by teams as a player who will become available before the NBA’s Feb. 8 trading deadline, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported this week. However, Ariza rejected the idea upon hearing the rumors and explained his desire to stay in Phoenix, despite his team holding just a 4-20 record as of Thursday.
“I’m not one to get somewhere and then just duck out,” Ariza told Gina Mizell of The Athletic. “I’m one to be in it, regardless of whatever the situation is. Fight until the end. That’s the type of person that I am, and that’s what I expect.”
Of course, the Suns could always choose to move Ariza against his wishes if the right deal comes. He signed a one-year, $15MM deal to join the young team in free agency, entering a vastly different situation than what he had in Houston during the 2017/18 season.
“It gives you a different perspective,” Ariza told Mizell. “Although I love to win, sometimes you have to be the person that’s able to take these punches and be able to still get up. (I have to) teach the next generation, teach the younger players how to prepare, how to become better pros.
“Right now, that’s the situation that I’m in, so I’m not worried about it. I’m not crying about it. I’m very thankful for my position. The only thing I can do is hope that we get better every day.”
There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:
- LeBron James tuned out the noise surrounding him against the Spurs on Wednesday, scoring 20 fourth-quarter points to propel the Lakers to victory. “I’m past the [taking things] personal stage,” James said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I can do whatever. I can have a huge workload, I can have a not so huge workload. … It doesn’t matter for me. What’s most important is seeing my teammates make huge shots in the fourth quarter. … That’s what’s most important to me. I can care less about the narrative about me. It doesn’t matter. I’m a staple in this game.”
- Willie Cauley-Stein is proving his worth with the Kings this season, gunning for a bigger contract in free agency next summer, James Ham of NBC Sports writes. Cauley-Stein is averaging a career-high 14.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, shooting 54% from the floor in 23 contests.
- Lakers forward Brandon Ingram will miss at least two games after spraining his left ankle on Wednesday, according to McMenamin (Twitter link). Ingram didn’t travel with the team and is set to undergo a precautionary MRI Thursday evening. His status will be updated Friday morning.