The exit interviews begin, Ariza indicates possible return!

The L.A. Times has posted an article discussing three of the players and their exit interviews (Walton, Turiaf, Ariza). You can check out the article for all the information, but I think the biggest news comes from Ariza. Who gives us an indication he will indeed return (despite the rumors of him opting out)…

L.A. Times: Ariza has an opt-out clause in his contract, but said he will return to the Lakers, calling it a dream to play in the city where he grew up. “They told me this is a good place for me, that I fit in really well,” Ariza said.

Ariza said he experienced no pain in his foot during the playoffs, but has an MRI scheduled Monday as a precaution to see how it reacted to playing time. This summer, he said he will focus on handling the ball and shooting and trying to add 10 pounds. Next season, he will change jersey numbers from No. 3 to No. 1.

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  • DCLAKER

    Yes!

  • http://ld2k.com LD2k

    This is pretty damn GOOD news. Ariza is a gem.

  • Michael24

    3 was a good number

  • xtro

    Artest and Ariza creating havoc on the perimeter next season. Such a beautiful sight to see!

  • http://letsgolakers.com Mr.81

    YES.

  • banuelos_714

    good news
    i love how he plays
    i really wannna see him in da dunk contest
    still cant get over wat he did to grant hill during the season
    hahaha that was great

  • http://www.myspace.com/on3s3qu3nc3 123kid

    just hopefully that #1 number doesnt turn him into a smush!

  • Smush Walton

    Ariza is one to keep. Unfortunately, there is a list of folks who should be given the boot.

  • maccassedy

    LOL HOPEFULLY NOT SMUSH..BUT ARIZA SEXII..HE SHOULD STAY SO R KIDS CAN GROW UP N LA

  • maccassedy

    LOL DA BOOT THATS MY SHOW

  • Michael_23

    Already some players motivated to become better by next season. This is very good news!

  • http://kelvlam.yelp.com/ kelvlam

    I’m crossing my fingers, hopefully during summer training camp, all these players develop the fire, the desire, the heart, to TAKE a championship away from the Celtics!!! (not to WIN it)~

  • LakersAllDay

    Definitely keep Ariza!

  • Rinnegato

    Great news! I’m glad Ariza wants to stay!

  • BringDFishBack

    Interviews of Ariza, Walton, Mihm, and Kobe are posted on Lakers.com. Gasol, Sasha, and Farmar are supposed to be posted later today while Odom, Fish, and PJ will be tommorow.

  • BringDFishBack

    Forgot to say that in Ariza someone asks “Do you plan to be here next year” and Ariza responds: “Yea, I definately plan to be here.” It was a very definative Yea too, so thats good news. He talked about how its a dream to play in LA and it’s a dream he doesn’t want to end.

  • http://lakernation kauaimamba

    What difference does it make if hes back if his ass is nailed to the bench while Fluke gets all his playing time.Does Phil owe Bill Walton a bunch of money for weed or something?Ariza played one five minute stretch and had 6pts,5boards a steal and a block.Then he didnt play again until the blowout.He needs to play!

  • http://golakers golakers

    Ariza is the future. Walton was the present. Ariza’s limited time due to injury was the reason he didn’t play more in the Finals. He’s got tremendous upside, but he looked lost at times in the triangle. Give him a few months in the regular rotation and he’ll step up big time. Luke seemed to lose his confidence after the injuries. He’s not as spontaneous as he once was. He’s still real smart, but no doubt has regressed. I don’t think it’s time to give up on him. He brings a lot to the team. He just had a real poor Finals as did most of the Lakers bench.

  • LakersFirst

    Next year he will make $2.9M. I think Ariza knows that if he were to opt out, it could be hard for him to a get a solid, long term contract elsewhere, mainly because the injury he got this year prevented him from showcasing his talent around the league.

    People shouldn’t forget that before the injury, Ariza was getting more playing time than Luke. Again the injury really f’d up Ariza’s season so he could never fully get back into the rotation.

  • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/?page_id=2373 Jonny

    Ariza is my ansewer to everyone who wants Artest, Posey, M-Pietrus etc etc. . .i’d go for artest if it meant we could get rid of either luke or vladdy, and i might sign posey anyways if he’s willing to come, but ariza. . i like that he’s working on his handling and shooting. . a consistent jumpshot makes him such a weapon. . oh and it makes vladdy obsolete (luke is already obsolete haha)

  • BringDFishBack

    [Comment ID #40934 Will Be Quoted Here]

    THANK YOU!!! Luke is extremely smart and lost a lot of confidence this year with a ton of injuries and cut playing time as a result. He spent a ton of time in his exit interview about how the limited and uncertain playing time is very hard to get used to. He was finally getting back to his old self against the Nuggets because he was playing a ton because most of the games were not close. Once he gets used to the shorter playing time and PJ gives him consistent playing time he’ll get back to his old self. I’ll tell you this, if the Lakers have a fast break the player I want to be playing point guard most is Luke.

  • BringDFishBack

    Since this is about all the interviews, here’s and update:
    Kobe: Says they have the right pieces and they don’t need to make any big moves.
    Sasha: Hinted he might not be back. While Turiaf and Ariza didn’t guarentee a return they basically said they would, Sasha just said he didn’t know who he’d be with next year.
    Pau: Said a team that is soft couldn’t make the NBA Finals. I’d perfer he would recognize they are and try to fix it instead of making excuses. Will play for Spain in the Olympics.
    Farmar: Said he will work on his shooting and strength. If he can shoot all year like he did in the first half of this season, that’ll be a huge boost.
    Mihm: Said he’ll return. Also said he is finally getting his explosion back. If they didn’t have such a logjam at center I think he’d get a lot of minutes and be very effective. He’ll be a lot better than this past season and more like his old self. Just have to see if he can get any playing time.
    Radmonovic: When asked about Bynum’s return possibly affecting his minutes, he said his minutes don’t matter and getting Bynum back is all that matters. Didn’t say much of what was talked about in the exit meeting, possibly talked about a trade?
    Walton: Mainly talked about how less and inconsistent minutes was very tough to get used to. Said the team is focused on improving defense next year.
    Turiaf: Prefers to be back.
    Ariza: Foot is fine but a precautionary MRI is coming up. Thinks he will be back and wants this dream of playing for the Lakers to never end.

  • http://golakers golakers

    Thanks BRINGDFISHBACK for the update. It would be nice if the Lakers can keep both Sasha and Turiaf. They are young and productive. In a perfect world it would be great if they were more consistant, but that may be for the years to come. I agree with the no more excuses approach. Pau needs to spend most of the off season working on strength and conditioning. I think a “big man” camp would help him with footwork and balance. The Lakers should pick up the tab and send him. Just remember, there is no way we make it to the Finals without Pau.

  • domz

    Mitch, please find a way to keep Sasha and Ronny.

  • Odom the worst player

    I love Ariza, and hope he comes back. I think he has a lot of potential and will challenge for the small forward starting position next year.

  • http://andrewbynum.com andrew bynum

    [Comment ID #40893 Will Be Quoted Here] i think ariza has been in the league too long to be in the dunk contest, althouhg i would love to see that.
    anyway, when ariza said gain ten pounds, that better mean burn 5 pounds of fat and gain 15 pounds of muscle

    also get rick fox to teach perimeter D

  • goodfella

    this kid is gold. can’t get rid of him. i can just imagine artest, ariza and kobe hounding the opposition. it’s gonna be beautiful.