RealGM: Trevor Ariza, who has been buried on the bench behind Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu has been traded to the Lakers for Brian Cook and Maruice Evans.
Ariza was labeled a ‘situational’ player by new head coach Stan Van Gundy. He averaged just 10.5 minutes per game and played more than 20 minutes just twice.
It was no surprise to see his floor time decrease due to the addition of Lewis, but Ariza was a very productive player last season, averaging 8.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in just 22.4 minutes. He shot 54% from the floor and was one of the NBA’s best rebounders at the small forward position.
His very good athleticism on the wing (defensively and offensively) will serve a need that Luke Walton, Vladimir Radmanovic and Sasha Vujacic cannot fill.
Another added benefit is that Bryant will no longer need to defend opposing team’s best wing for the entire game.
He also is signed for less money ($3.1 million) and one fewer season than Cook ($3.5 million).
This is easily the best trade of Mitch Kupchak’s tenure, though I’m not sure that is saying much.