The Washington Post reported last month that the Wizards would like to re-sign him.
The Rockets, Mavericks, Pistons, Clippers and Suns are all expected to pursue Ariza once free agency opens on July 1, according to sources.
Ariza is a 10-year NBA veteran, originally drafted by the New York Knicks. At 19 he was the youngest Knicks player in history to play 80 games. With career averages of 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists, Ariza spent his last two seasons in uniform with the Washington Wizards. He’s been quite the league journeyman having played for the Knicks, Magic, Lakers, Rockets, Pelicans, and Wizards.
Playing the wing alongside All-Star guard John Wall, Ariza is coming off a 5-year, $34 million contract originally signed with the Houston Rockets. He will turn 29 one day before the NBA’s designated free agency period begins where teams are permitted to contact players.
Ariza would be a great addition to the Clippers and an upgrade at the small-forward position that wouldn’t require the Clippers gutting the team for a more expensive player like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. Ariza has shot a career 43.4% from the field and 34.7% from three, although, he shot over 40% last season in Washington.
He’s got long arms on the wing and is capable of defending the small-forward and small-guard positions. He possesses great athleticism and is a very capable team defender.
Ariza would fit well in the mid-level range costing the Clippers nearly $5 million in salary per year. A native to Los Angeles, Ariza attended Westchester high school and was a stand out hoops athlete at UCLA. Should he decide to play with the Clippers it would be a welcomed homecoming for Ariza whose last bit of California sunshine came in the 2008-09 season when he was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Teams can officially contact free agents on July 1. It will be interesting to see which team Ariza will select for the next stage of his career.