Having signed a new contract as a free agent over the summer, Trevor Ariza won’t become trade-eligible until December 15. However, rival clubs expect the Suns to make him available after that date, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
As Stein outlines (via Twitter), teams with interest in Ariza have been hoping that the Suns will take the same route with the veteran forward that they did with Tyson Chandler, simply buying him out and letting him reach free agency. However, Phoenix is expected to field trade inquiries on Ariza in an effort to secure at least one asset in return.
Ariza, who is on a one-year, $15MM contract with the Suns, isn’t off to a particularly hot start this season, shooting a career-worst 37.2% from the field through 21 games. However, he continues to play solid defense and knock down three-pointers at a respectable rate (35.7%), which will make him appealing to contending teams in need of wing help. His expiring contract should also be favorable to franchises looking to open up cap room during the summer of 2019.
As Stein observes (via Twitter), it will be interesting to see if the Suns are willing to take on unwanted multiyear salary in order to accommodate an Ariza trade. Doing so would compromise Phoenix’s 2019 cap flexibility, but would likely improve the quality of the assets trade partners are willing to offer. For instance, if the Suns and Pelicans were to discuss an Ariza deal, Phoenix would almost certainly have to take on Solomon Hill‘s contract in order to have a shot at acquiring a first-round pick from New Orleans.
It’s also worth noting that the Suns have been linked to Markelle Fultz, which has resulted in some speculation about a swap centered around Fultz and Ariza. The Sixers could use a veteran wing like Ariza, while Phoenix has been in the market for point guard help.
There will likely be no shortage of teams around the NBA that would like to add a player like Ariza to their rotation though, so the Suns should field plenty of interest once the 33-year-old becomes eligible to be traded later this month.