James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Mike D’Antoni and even P.J. Tucker received more accolades during the Houston Rockets’ 2018 playoff run than Trevor Ariza and, of course, those compliments were warranted. However, the Rockets absolutely needed the contributions of a 3-and-D player like Ariza to make their system work and, with that in mind, the fact that the veteran forward was set to enter unrestricted free agency on July 1 absolutely muddied the waters for Houston from a team building perspective.
At the end of the process, Ariza made a move no one saw coming, as the veteran wing agreed to a one-year deal to join the Phoenix Suns, per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
Despite his much-ballyhooed struggles in the Western Conference Finals, Ariza connected on 36.8 percent of his three-point attempts last season and he provided defensive versatility at a position of prime need across the league. The 33-year-old will never be a primary offensive option (11.7 points per game last season) but he brings value as a 3-and-D wing.
For the Suns, which have a metric ton of young wing players, Ariza is a veteran presence who can help provide leadership in their locker room. This is ultimately a bigger loss for the Rockets than it is a win for the Suns, but it’s easy to see why Phoenix is happy to bring Ariza aboard.