For some reason, the impact that Trevor Ariza had on the 2008-09 Los Angeles Lakers squad is never talked about. LA won the NBA title that season and if it weren’t for Ariza averaging 11.3 points per game that postseason, Kobe Bryant would only have four rings as opposed to his current five.
With that being said, the now-Washington Wizards small forward has bounced around quite a bit and his championship days seem much longer than four years ago. No. 1 was unimpressive last year with a decrease in points, rebounds and assists per game — 2013 marked the first time in seven years that Ariza didn’t average double digits in points.
Given his down year, the Wiz have to do some thinking this offseason on what to do with the nine-year NBA veteran. Not to mention, Washington has the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and has been rumored to doing a number of things with the pick. In fact, Otto Porter is being referred to as Washington’s top priority and someone who can be the small forward of the future; yet the ex-Georgetown Hoyas star would be battling with Ariza for at least one season as the latter’s contract is up after 2013-14.
To make this even more complicated, Ariza will be making $7.7 million this upcoming season and that’s a lot of money for a middle-of-the-road player who is on the decline. So, the Wizards have to make a decision on whether or not they want to take the well-rounded Porter and hope that the two small forwards can split the role this fall.