Trevor Ariza has been in the rumor mill his entire career and that won’t stop this season, given the fact that his trade value might be at an all-time high. After getting much criticism from fans for starting Ariza over Martell Webster, who shot career high percentages last season, Randy Wittman’s decision hasn’t looked all too bad after Washington’s first four games of the season. Averaging 17 points and over 9 rebounds per game, Ariza has thrived with John Wall in the lineup and has embraced his role as a 3-and-D player for the playoff hopeful Wizards. This past season, Ariza looked to do too much on the offensive side of the floor, often times hindering the team’s play more than helping. Ariza hasn’t looked all that great offensively, but with Wall on the floor he’ll inevitably get some wide open three point shots, particularly from the corner, and needless to say he’s done a great job executing. He’s currently ranked eighth in the NBA in total points coming off catch and shoot situations, above 3-point marksmen like Kevin Martin, Jared Dudley, and even Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
With that said, the Wizards still have a thin bench and with Martell Webster still playing very well as a reserve, Trevor Ariza could become a valuable trade piece come late February before the trade deadline. If last year gave any indication as to what Ernie Grunfeld and Co. thought of Ariza as an asset, he’ll undoubtedly continue to look for possible landing spots for Ariza and his $7.73 million dollar expiring contract.
Once Otto Porter Jr. makes his debut with the Wizards, the coaching staff will have to find a way to get him acclimated, and it’ll certainly be a tough task especially since Ariza and Webster take up most of the minutes at small forward. Even though he struggled in the summer league, Porter was still considered the most NBA ready rookie coming out of Georgetown, and the Wizards have to see if he could make an impact this season.
Even though the Wizards don’t necessarily have to trade Ariza, I think he’ll probably choose to sign with a championship contender during the offseason, leaving Washington with nothing. The Wizards have already traded their most intriguing pieces, Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract and their first round pick (protected), so Ariza will definitely continue to get brought up in trade rumors. Ariza has looked very good early on this season and may not even get the credit he deserves, but I’m not so certain he’s irreplaceable. Listening to offers before the trade deadline couldn’t hurt, especially if lingering injuries keep Nene in and out of the Wizards lineup.
Would you trade Trevor Ariza, now that his value may be at an all-time high in Washington? Let me know in the comment section.