We’ll miss you, Trev. No matter where you go, you’ll always be a Laker for life.
ESPN: The Houston Rockets have answered the defection of Ron Artest to the Los Angeles Lakers by quickly reaching an agreement to sign Trevor Ariza away from L.A.
NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com that Ariza made a verbal commitment Tuesday night to sign a five-year deal with the Rockets on Wednesday — the first day free agents are permitted to sign new contracts — not long after the Lakers and Artest reached terms on a three-year deal worth an estimated $18 million.
ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan reports that Ariza, according to sources, will receive the Rockets’ full mid-level exception, which is being projected to come in at $5.8 million for next season. If the exception for the 2009-10 season is indeed set at $5.8 million Wednesday when the league announces next season’s salary cap and luxury tax, Ariza’s deal would be worth $33.5 million.
The Rockets shifted their focus away from Orlando Magic restricted free agent Marcin Gortat on Thursday when it became clear that Gortat was on the verge of reaching terms with the Dallas Mavericks and when it became known leaguewide that Ariza was determined to leave his hometown Lakers — in spite of his vital contributions to L.A.’s championship run — because they were unwilling to start his new contract higher than the mid-level exception.