Trevor Ariza

Southeast Notes: Ariza, Westbrook, Robinson, Brazdeikis

Heat forward Trevor Ariza has provided a maximum payoff since being traded to Miami earlier this year, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Ariza has since earned a role in the team’s starting lineup, giving consistent production on both ends of the floor.

“Trevor’s one of the most underrated players in this league,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Ariza. “But I would say that the contending teams that had him before, he’s not underrated. He does so many things — his activity, his deflections, his ability to guard multiple positions.

“And he also has been a very underrated scorer over the course of his career.”

Ariza has averaged 8.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game this season, playing an average of 27.1 minutes across 23 contests. He’s provided versatility alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo at 6’8″, also shooting 35% from downtown.

Here are some other notes from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Wizards guard Russell Westbrook further proved that he’s still a star in the team’s game against the Mavericks on Saturday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Westbrook finished with 42 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and two steals against Dallas, shooting 17-of-30 from the floor.
  • Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald examines the impressive milestone from Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson. Robinson became the fastest player to reach 500 made threes in NBA history on Saturday, finishing the game against Cleveland shooting 6-of-9 from deep. He’ll be a restricted free agent in August.
  • Josh Cohen of examines 10 interesting basketball facts about new Magic forward Ignas Brazdeikis, who signed a 10-day contract with the team on Sunday. Brazdeikis, the No. 47 pick in 2019, holds brief NBA experience with the Knicks and Sixers.

Ariza: Miami “A Place I Definitely Wanted To Be”

Veteran swingman Trevor Ariza made his debut for the Heat on Friday, just days after he was traded by the Thunder to Miami ahead of the 2021 NBA trade deadline. The 35-year-old has now suited up for 10 different teams during his well-traveled career.

Ariza tallied just two assists in six minutes of action in Miami’s loss but he nonetheless feels capable of helping the reigning Eastern Conference champions. Despite struggling early, the Heat occupy fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 22-20 record and Ariza thinks it’ll be a good fit for him.

“This is a place I definitely wanted to be,” Ariza told reporters, including Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Twitter link).

Ariza had not played all season after he was acquired by Oklahoma City and reached an agreement to remain away from the team. In 53 games between the Kings and Blazers last season, Ariza averaged 8.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG.

Now, in his attempt to compete for a title, Ariza feels his situation in Miami is a suitable one.

“I just feel it matches my style of person,” he said (Twitter link).

Heat Notes: Dinwiddie, Ariza, Gay, Bjelica, Winslow

The Heat are among the teams with interest in Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, according to Ian Begley of, who previously reported that Detroit is eyeing Dinwiddie as well.

Miami’s interest in Dinwiddie is curious — the Heat presumably want to make a push to get back to the NBA Finals, and the 27-year-old is considered likely to miss the rest of the season due to a partially torn ACL. It also may be tricky for Miami to make a deal with another Eastern Conference contender, lest they risk strengthening a potential playoff opponent.

On top of that, the Heat have the ability to open up some cap space this offseason, so Dinwiddie’s Bird rights wouldn’t be as valuable to them as they would be to teams without any projected room. So while it’s not impossible to imagine Brooklyn and Miami making a deal involving the veteran guard, it seems somewhat unlikely.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • In the wake of Miami’s acquisition of Trevor Ariza, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald breaks down what the deal means for the team, while Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald gets some feedback from an NBA scout on the 35-year-old’s fit. Ariza has typically played the small forward position, but Jackson’s source expects him to be a de facto power forward in Miami. “In today’s day and age, Ariza can be a four,” the scout said. “There’s so little distinction between threes and fours when you look at who’s on the floor. I don’t think that’s a problem at all.”
  • Within the same story, Jackson suggests that it may no longer make sense for the Heat to pursue some veteran forwards who were previously believed to be targets, such as Rudy Gay and Nemanja Bjelica. And while LaMarcus Aldridge remains a possibility in a buyout scenario, Jackson is unsure the Spurs big man would get a ton of playing time in Miami if Kelly Olynyk continues to play well and Ariza establishes himself as a rotation player.
  • Before playing his old team for the first time on Wednesday, Grizzlies forward Justise Winslow expressed gratitude to the Heat, with whom he spent the first four-and-a-half years of his NBA career. “More than anything, I want to see those faces, just to tell them, ‘Thank you,'” Winslow said, per Michael Wallace of “Because I wouldn’t be here without their guidance and without their support. It’s no hard feelings, just a lot of gratitude from me.”

Heat, Thunder Finalize Trevor Ariza Trade

5:22pm: The Heat have officially announced the deal (via Twitter). As had been expected, the Thunder announced in a press release that Leonard would remain away from the team.

“Leonard will not be reporting to Oklahoma City and will not be an active member of the organization,” the statement read in part.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets that Ariza has been undergoing tests for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in anticipation of a potential deal, and hopes to suit up for Miami as soon as Friday, when the Heat host the Pacers.

1:57pm: As expected, Leonard has signed off on the trade, confirms Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link).

1:32pm: The Heat and Thunder are finalizing a trade that will send forward Trevor Ariza to Miami in exchange for center Meyers Leonard and a 2027 second-round pick, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski notes, Leonard’s contract gives him the option of vetoing a trade, but he’s expected to sign off on the deal. Although the veteran big man likely won’t ever play for Oklahoma City, he’ll probably remain on the roster through the deadline in case he can be used in another deal, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman.

After starting the 2019/20 season in Sacramento, Ariza was dealt to Portland and played well for the Trail Blazers, averaging 11.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG on .491/.400/.872 shooting in 21 games (33.4 MPG). However, he opted out of the summer restart, then was traded multiple times in the 2020 offseason, ultimately landing in Oklahoma City. Ariza and the Thunder reached an agreement to have him remain away from the team.

Since he’s 35 years old and has essentially spent a full calendar year out of the NBA, it’s unclear how much Ariza has left in the tank, but the Heat will pay a very modest price to find out.

Leonard is out for the season with a shoulder injury and was recently fined and suspended for using an anti-Semitic slur during a video game live stream. While his $9.4MM salary for this season is guaranteed, his $10.15MM salary for 2021/22 is a team option and has long been viewed as a lock to be declined. He’s just being included in the deal to sufficiently match Ariza’s $12.8MM expiring contract.

The real asset going to the Thunder in the swap is the future second-round pick, which was one of the only picks Miami had left available to trade. Even though they won’t actually receive it for another six years, the Thunder will be happy to add that 2027 selection to their ever-growing stash of draft assets, especially for a player who didn’t play a single game for the club.

Even after trading for Ariza, the Heat will have a handful of assets to pursue other deals prior to next Thursday’s deadline, including Andre Iguodala‘s and Kelly Olynyk‘s expiring contracts, a $7.5MM trade exception, and a handful of promising young players. Because they’re trading Leonard, they’ll lose the $4.7MM disabled player exception they received after he suffered his season-ending injury, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (via Twitter).

Miami remains about $5.4MM below the tax line and still has approximately $10.6MM of breathing room below the hard cap, Marks adds (via Twitter).

If the Thunder don’t use one of their existing traded player exceptions to take on Leonard’s salary, they’ll create a new $3.4MM TPE in the deal. They could very well be active again before the deadline, with veterans like George Hill, Al Horford, and Mike Muscala among their potential trade candidates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat, Thunder Discussing Ariza Deal

The Heat are discussing a trade with the Thunder that would send veteran forward Trevor Ariza to Miami, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets.

The Thunder have been seeking a second-round pick from the numerous playoff contenders showing interest in Ariza, O’Connor adds. Ariza has been away from the team all season, having been acquired in an offseason trade as a salary throw-in.

Ariza has a $12.8MM salary and the Heat are a hard-capped team, so they’d have to send out at least one player to match salaries. Miami has a $7.5MM trade exception that expires on Monday but Ariza’s salary wouldn’t fit into that slot.

Ariza, 35, appeared in a combined 53 games with Sacramento and Portland last season. He’d add some wing depth for Miami.

The Lakers are one of the other teams that have reportedly looked into acquiring Ariza.

Trade Rumors: Hill, Ariza, Tucker, Hawks, Collins, Celtics, More

Multiple playoff contenders have interest in Thunder veterans George Hill and Trevor Ariza, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. According to Charania, the Clippers are among the teams eyeing Hill.

Neither Hill nor Ariza is active right now for the Thunder. Hill hasn’t played since January 24 due to a right thumb injury, while Ariza has been away from the team all season, having been acquired in an offseason trade as a salary throw-in. Hill shouldn’t be out too much longer though, and there’s no indication that Ariza isn’t healthy.

The Thunder have been focusing on developing their young players, so Hill and Ariza are expendable. However, Charania notes that the team would be fine with retaining Hill, who is under contract for 2021/22 at a reasonable price ($10MM).

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from Charania:

  • The Rockets continue to discuss possible P.J. Tucker trades with teams like the Bucks, Heat, and Lakers, but the Nets are no longer believed to be actively involved, writes Charania. A Brooklyn deal for Tucker likely would’ve involved injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
  • The Hawks have made trade inquiries in recent weeks about wing players, per Charania. The team is currently missing two of its top young forwards, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, due to injuries.
  • Hawks big man John Collins is among the potential trade targets being eyed by the Celtics, but Atlanta’s asking price is high, according to Charania, who says the team is seeking a high first-round pick and/or a talented young player. Collins is eligible for restricted free agency this summer.
  • The Pistons are after a second-round pick in exchange for veteran shooting guard Wayne Ellington, says Charania. Ellington is having a nice year in Detroit, with 10.6 PPG and a .422 3PT%.
  • Heat guard Avery Bradley and Grizzlies forward Gorgui Dieng are receiving interest from several teams, sources tell The Athletic.

Pacific Notes: James, Lakers, Batum, Warriors

How much longer does LeBron James want to keep playing? Long enough to make history by playing with his son Bronny, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. “That’s definitely one of my goals, but that’s a long-term goal,” The Lakers‘ star said. “My son right now is in high school and enjoying what being a teenager is all about. But that would be pretty cool to go on my resume.” Bronny, 16, attends Sierra Canyon in Chatsworth, Calif. and recently had surgery to repair torn meniscus.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are unlikely to find help via a trade due to salary-cap restrictions and the fact that their best trade pieces are rotation players, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines. The team could use help at backup center, as well as a large wing with 3-point ability. Their best place to find that would be in the buyout market, with Andre Drummond, P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza as possibilities. The Lakers’ reported interest in Drummond was already noted here.
  • Nicolas Batum was looking to redeem himself after his career went sour in Charlotte. The Clippers entered the season seeking redemption after an abrupt dismissal from the postseason. That’s one of the reasons Batum decided to sign with the team, as Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times details. Batum is averaging 9.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 2.4 APG in 35 starts this season. He’s on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal and will re-enter the free agent market this summer.
  • The Warriors would be better off building toward next season rather than making moves to collect more victories this season, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic argues. There’s no reason to use their $9.2MM disabled player exception, especially with the luxury-tax implications it would bring. The better course of action would to give lottery pick James Wiseman ample playing time and wait for the loaded draft.

Lakers Keeping Eye On Trevor Ariza

The Lakers are monitoring Trevor Ariza‘s situation and would have interest in signing him if he becomes a free agent, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

For now, Ariza – who is on an expiring contract – remains under contract with the Thunder, though he’s reportedly away from the team for family reasons. According to Charania, Ariza and veteran point guard George Hill, who is also drawing some interest around the league, are expected to open the regular season as members of the Thunder.

Oklahoma City entered full rebuilding mode this offseason and Ariza and Hill landed with the team in bigger trades that were more about other assets (draft picks). However, it makes sense for the Thunder to retain Ariza and Hill – along with fellow veteran Al Horford – rather than simply cutting them, since the club may be able to move them for an asset or two later in 2020/21.

While Horford’s contract has negative value, Ariza and Hill are earning mid-level type money and neither has a fully guaranteed salary beyond this season, so they could make good trade candidates.

Adding another veteran three-and-D wing would help fortify the Lakers’ depth chart, but they aren’t in position to trade for Ariza’s $12.8MM expiring salary. The defending champions will only be in position to add Ariza if the Thunder can’t find a taker for the 35-year-old forward and decide to release him, perhaps with a buyout agreement.

The Lakers are right up against a hard cap and figure to start the season with just 14 players, but Quinn Cook‘s contract isn’t fully guaranteed and the team should be able to add a 15th man later in the season on a prorated veteran’s minimum contract.

Two Thunder Players Test Positive For COVID-19

New Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault has indicated that two Oklahoma City players did not practice today due to positive COVID-19 test results, according to Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman.

Mussatto goes on to note that the identity of those players was not divulged by Daigneault, in keeping with NBA guidelines surrounding coronavirus testing. About 11-15 players suited up today for the club’s initial training camp team practice.

That tally did not include oft-traded veteran small forward Trevor Ariza, who remains away from the team indefinitely as he attends to a family situation, Mussatto reports in a separate piece.

Ariza is focused on the same family matters that prompted him to opt out of the NBA’s Orlando restart with the Trail Blazers this summer, according to Mussatto, who adds that the Thunder were aware of Ariza’s family conflict when they traded for him.

Wright To Pistons, Ariza To Thunder, Johnson To Mavs In Three-Team Trade

NOVEMBER 27: The Thunder, Mavericks, and Pistons have officially finalized their three-team trade, according to press releases from the teams. As detailed below, Ariza and Jackson are headed to Oklahoma City, Johnson is going to Dallas, and Wright moves to Detroit.

The Thunder also acquired a 2023 second-round pick (the more favorable of Dallas’ and Miami’s picks) and the Mavs’ 2026 second-rounder in the deal.

NOVEMBER 21: The Thunder, Mavericks, and Pistons have agreed to a three-team trade, according to reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links) and Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links).

The move will send James Johnson from Oklahoma City to Dallas and Delon Wright from Dallas to Detroit. The Thunder will receive Trevor Ariza (from the Pistons), Justin Jackson (from the Mavericks), and – unsurprisingly – some form of draft compensation.

From the Mavericks’ perspective, the deal will allow them to open up a roster spot and add some veteran toughness, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, who tweets that Dallas intends to keep Johnson on its roster. Moving Wright, who had two years left on his contract, and taking back Johnson’s expiring $16MM deal also allows the Mavs to create some added cap flexibility for the summer of 2021.

The Pistons will reduce team salary for 2020/21 and will reunite Wright with his former coach in Toronto, Dwane Casey. Having signed a three-year deal in Dallas in 2019, Wright had a decent year off the bench, averaging 6.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.3 APG in 73 games (21.5 MPG). But he became expendable when the club acquired Josh Richardson earlier this week.

As for the Thunder, I’d be surprised if they have big plans for Ariza or Jackson — they simply saw another opportunity to pick up an extra draft pick to add to Sam Presti‘s constantly-growing collection.

Ariza, who is still technically a member of the Blazers, has now been part of trade agreements that will send him to Houston, Detroit, and Oklahoma City within the last few days. Those deals will all be completed after the transaction moratorium lifts on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.