An interesting article on the Ariza situation.

ESPNTheMagazine: That script began to be rewritten at the toll of free agency, 12:01 a.m. on July 1, one minute into the day after Ariza’s birthday. He was still celebrating with family when he received a call from his agent, David Lee. “He said, ‘The Lakers called, and they think you’re worth only the midlevel,’ ” or $5.8 million a year, Ariza recounts. Technically, it wasn’t even an offer. Says Lee of the Lakers GM, “Mitch Kupchak’s exact quote was, ‘We want Trevor on the cheap, and we’re not going to make an offer. Find what the market will bear and come back to us.’ ”

Ariza was bummed. He’d been expecting something in the $7-to-8 million range, but he also knew the Lakers had committed $74 million to eight players, putting them well into luxury tax territory. And free agent Lamar Odom was still unsigned. “I thought, Fine, let’s talk to some teams and see if anybody values me more,” Ariza says. Later that morning, he headed to Vegas to cool out with family while fielding calls from suitors. The Cavs brought it hard. Mike Brown and Shaq phoned, LeBron texted, then met Ariza face-to-face. They eventually put a five-year, $33 million offer on the table.

But it was Rockets GM Daryl Morey who received the coveted dinner meeting that night. Like everyone else, Morey was taken with Ariza’s selflessness, athleticism and offensive uptick, all of which made him a snug fit in Rick Adelman’s free-flowing attack. But in his analysis, Morey, the league’s top number cruncher, discovered something else, too. “We found Trevor’s defensive impact to be at the top of his position,” he says. “He was always our top free agent target, but on his defense alone, he was worth the money we had available for him.” As he and Ariza were leaving dinner, Morey checked his voice mail. Ron Artest was LA-bound.

A few hours later, Ariza agreed to a five-year, $33 million deal with the Rockets, similar to what the Lakers had given to Artest. “We were surprised Trevor was available,” Morey says. “We thought the Lakers would bring him back for sure.” Ariza was pretty sure of that too. “If you’d told me I wasn’t going to be a Laker, I wouldn’t have believed you,” he says. “You’d think they’d want to keep their team together. I mean, we won the championship, and I was a big part of it.”

Kupchak insists he wanted the same thing: “It was our intention to keep the team together — and that included Trevor.” But free agency is a fast-moving target, and decisions need to be made. “Early on, we weren’t able to agree on a deal,” he continues. “If it doesn’t look like things are going the way you want them to, you have to make a quick decision and go in another direction.”

  • gugy

    I think in the end the Lakers had their eyes set on Artest and they would only consider Ariza for the mid-level. So I think they did a good job bringing Artest. They will be an improvement over Ariza.
    I love Ariza by the way, the kid did 100% but at the end of the day, Artest is a player that impose all more respect and any opponent will think twice before try to bully any Laker player.

  • daboss1848

    Lee is already the least credible agent there is and now this:

    Says Lee of the Lakers GM, “Mitch Kupchak’s exact quote was, ‘We want Trevor on the cheap, and we’re not going to make an offer. Find what the market will bear and come back to us.’ ”

    Really? mMld mannered Mitch said that?!?! Really Lee?

  • Alex

    His agent just hoped he would make more money on this contract….. U have think fast …. U idiot….. Now try making money during the seazon in damn Texas …. And u could be making em in La— champions city!!!!!! You moron!!!

  • http://www.jjceleb.com Megan Fox JJC

    I read this awhile ago. Essentially, Lakers told his agent to go find out what market value of Ariza and get back to him. It was Ariza’s agent fault for never following up with the Lakers.

  • LakersFirst

    Ariza and his agent should have known that very few teams, if any, would have been able to offer him $7 to $8M per year, as most teams were over the salary cap limits.

    Mitch knew that Ariza wanted $7 to $8M/year, which means negotiations with him would have taken longer, thus causing free agents to sign elsewhere. Mitch didn’t want to be stuck negotiating with Ariza while free agents signed elsewhere, so Mitch took the MLE and offered it to Ron Artest before Artest was off the market. You can’t blame Mitch.

  • Jason

    This is so tired. Ariza is gone lets move on. Ariza could have been a laker but wanted to much for what he gave to the team. This is the new economy people have to work with less money now. The greedy years of whack players getting millions is over for the Lakers.

  • cassandra

    Ariza’s agent is trying to keep his clients and save his b-hind, he should have taken the offer the Lakers made to him, he had to say they never offered anything because Ariza took the same amount the Lakers offered. Even Artest had enough sinse to say yes to the Lakers offer. The simple truth is Ariza’s agent was trying to play hard ball and he over played his hand. Jerry Buss does not scare easy and he made a fair offer, that is why you accepted the offer from Houston because that is all he is worth. It was the TEAM that made Ariza mark my words he won’t be the same player this time around. Have fun in Oblivion Ariza you coulda been a contender.

  • http://twitter.com/AceFreshh Freshh

    Just beating a dead horse,
    Ariza didn’t take the MLE initially, Artest jumped at it.
    Dog eat Dog. .

  • http://thelakersnation Fear the P&G!

    Plain and simple, Ariza’s agent messed up and now he’s trying to cover his a$$

  • lakers#1

    i don’t believe Ariza. He just want money over ring, period. He does not want look bad.

  • lakerman1

    Ariza will be sorry believe me’ I don’t care what his story is. Ron was up as a free agent and Mitch who has been making some good decisions lately jumped on it. Its all about this crop of Lakers. Enjoy your stay in Houston Ariza because L.A. will survive without you.

  • http://vinginor laker raja

    Lee old saying sometimes first offer is best offer. Greed is a bad omen. Ariza has to play with scrubs no yao a x laker crazy von wafer
    this team is bad Batier wants out. Dude you screwed up the deal. Trevor you had the power to fire the agent and deal direct so you screwed up also.What the hell was in your head Houston is a football town.

  • Short Dog

    He had a chance to win 2 or 3 more rings along the best player in the world.

  • touchingmyself

    Man, summer time is soooooooo BORING! There’s nothing goin on with our Lakes and so this tired @$$ news has to be replayed again!?!

    Fresh is right… “dog eat dog”! Wasn’t it David Lee that told the Lakers “don’t expect a hometown discount”? This was right after the Finals and now he’s coming out with the “we want him on the cheap” blast at Mitch! Fcuk David Lee!

    This was the same motha fcuka that tried to squeeze the Lakes for a max contract for an unproven Bynum comin off of knee surgery! That’s right punk @$$ Lee! It was partly your doing in getting such a big contract for Bynum and how ironic that because of that, there wasn’t enough room under the cap for your boy Ariza?

    I’m sure that we all loved Ariza for all that he did for us… his steals, his 3′s, and just his presence on defense to throw off the opposing team! I wish that we could’ve kept him as well as LO and Artest, but at the end of the day, the Lakers improved in that spot! Artest is a friggin beast! He hits 3s, mid range jumpers, create his own shots, hits free throws, boards, lock down D, intimidates everyone he plays against, and he’s friggin hungry! He wants his ring and he’ll help us keep the trophy in Los Angeles again this year!

    LAKERS 4 PEAT!

    • gugy

      could not have said better myself.

  • Robert

    Yeah – really old news. Sounds like Ariza is still thinking about the Lakers. But, time to move on. Lakers needed an upgrade (generally speaking) to handle the ‘new’ teams that were stacking up against our ‘existing’ team. We would have had our hands full if we just had the ‘same’ team. Artest brings it up another level.

    BTW, Von Wafer left the Rockets to play with Olympiakos, so even ex-Lakers don’t hang around Houston that much. Ariza might be back in a few years.

    • desecrator93

      That would be kinds cool if he came back after his contract runs out, he’d still be only 28-29 and he’ll prolly have improved his game. Until then, Ron Ron has taken over as the Thuggaboo on our team.

  • Patrick Chewing

    this guy is stupid, enjoy your life on a barn playing for the kentucky rockets

  • JCbiglessworth42

    HAHAHA the Cavs DID NOT make that offer to Ariza. If they offered the same contract that the rockets did then im pretty sure Ariza would of gone to the Cavs cuz he would have a better chance of winning. The Rockets were the only team that wanted him after LA got tired of his agent’s negotiating.

    Ariza….ur really not worth that much as u think u are. You were a spot up shooter in the playoffs for us…..anybody on our team could do that. Artest can do that and much more

  • http://purplegoldblog.blogspot.com/ The Purple and Gold Blog

    This doesn’t change anything. Mitch told David Lee to shop Ariza around to see his value around the league then report back to him so they can start negotiations. But, Lee was more worried about his own pocket book by taking more time to get more money for his client. The Lakers intended to bring Ariza back, but they were also given a chance to snag someone like Ron Artest. From this point on, the decision was a no-brainer. Since Artest showed more enthusiasm and willingness to take a pay cut, and not to mention is a better player, the Lakers made a bold decision and signed Artest.

    Mike Brown, Shaq, and LeBron are not the general managers of the Cavs and should not be treated like so. Daryl Morey is a general manager and told Ariza they need somebody to replace their just departed starting small forward. Just like Ariza, the rest is history.

  • PTG23

    DAVID LEE IS AN IDIOT. ARIZA COULD HAVE BEEN BACK BUT I GUESS WE CAN BLAME LEE FOR THAT ONE. NOW, ARIZA DID PLAY A IMPORTANT ROLE IN HELPING THE TEAM WIN A TITLE, BUT HE STILL AINT WORTH $7-$8 MIL A YEAR. SH!T, LAMAR ODOM BARELY GOT WHAT ARIZA WANTED FROM THE LAKERS AND ODOM IS THE X-FACTOR. AND, AFTER ALL THAT WHINNING ABOUT THE LAKERS ONLY WANTING TO GIVE MID-LEVEL, HIS A$$ TURNS AROUND AND SIGNS WITH HOUSTON FOR EXACTLY WHAT THE LAKERS WERE WILLING TO PAY HIM. I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO SEE ARIZA STAY, BUT WE GOT ARTEST NOW SO IM COOL.