Trevor Ariza still seems a little “bitter.” We still appreciate what you did for us Trevor, but tonight, sadly, you are the enemy. Should be interesting with Ron returning to Houston as well…
L.A. Times: Four months later, Trevor Ariza still has some bitterness when he talks about his contract negotiations with the Lakers.
On the court, basketball is about winning, about producing, about becoming an NBA champion. Ariza did all that last season, having the best of his five seasons in the league, as the Lakers won the NBA title with him starting at small forward.
Off the court, though, basketball is a business.
“You learn that it’s cutthroat,” Ariza said Tuesday. “It doesn’t always go the way you want it to.”
That’s what Ariza learned after he became a free agent and began negotiating with the Lakers for a new contract, which he didn’t get, because the Lakers signed Ron Artest instead.
Ariza’s agent, David Lee, began talks with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak asking for around $7 million to $8 million a season. The Lakers were offering Ariza about $5.8 million a year. The two sides agreed to continue talking, with the Lakers telling Lee to get other offers and to come back to them.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets were very interested, but neither team could offer Ariza more than the Lakers offered.