Artest > Ariza

So, yeah, Trevor Ariza and Ron Artest swapped teams. Ariza is going to be saddled with more responsibilities in a team that MIGHT have trouble making the playoffs while Artest is going to be asked (and probably willing) to be a #2, 3, 4, 5, or even #6 option in a championship team.

Last we heard, Ariza (or rather Ariza's agent, David Lee... no, not the New York Knicks player) wanted $8-9 million. I think Mitch Kupchak knew what he was doing. He knew that Ariza wasn't going to get much more than the mid-level exception (projected to be around slightly less than $6 million per year). The only ones that could've paid him more were Detroit, Portland, and Toronto. Detroit already spent their dough on Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. Portland and Toronto are busy wrestling over Hedo Turkoglu's services.

So Ariza explored his options. But when Ron Artest is roaming around freely, what were the Lakers supposed to do? Sit on their asses and watch another team snatch him up? Of course, I'd take Artest at a bargain. Especially since Artest actually WANTS to go to L.A. In a bizarre twist, Trevor went to Ron's former team, the Rockets. For essentially the same money L.A. put on the table. Way to go, Agent Assface.

Let's talk about the comparisons here. Do we seriously think that Trevor Ariza is as good as Ron Artest? Artest is more talented offensively than Ariza. He can post up, take it to the hole better, and make his perimeter shots. Sure, Ron takes wild shots... but in a better system and team, I think he'll be fine. Ariza became a dead-eye shooter, yes, but will he get those same looks in Houston?

Defensively, Artest is more physical and will get under the opponent's skin. Ariza is a very good defender but I don't think he's shutdown material. He's very good at anticipating the shot and the pass, yes (right, Denver?), but Artest is the better one-on-one guy.

And you've got to be kidding me when people say that Ariza has a higher ceiling. No disrespect to Trevor Ariza; I love his game. But I don't expect to see any Tracy McGrady breakout seasons from this guy. I'm willing to eat my words if he averages 25-6-7 next season because he now has room to do that with Houston not really having a go-to scorer aside from Aaron Brooks. But I just don't see Ariza getting much better than what he did in L.A. We already know what Ron Artest can do. He always brings it. Again, I understand that Ron Artest's shot selection has been porous but I don't think he'll be asked to chuck that many shots in L.A. And I don't think he'll complain about it, either.

But Ariza is younger, right? Of course. But you already know what I think of his ceiling. Was he supposed to be the next guy to step in when Kobe retires? Was Ariza going to be Kobe five years from now? I don't think age is a factor. Artest will probably retire, too, to resume his music career when Kobe retires. Maybe Ron and Kobe will do a song together. With Tyra Banks. Or Allure. If that's the concern, then the Lakers have to get their next superstar-in-waiting. But that's five years down the line. Let's talk about now.

I know what the Lakers are getting in Ron. Yes, he's a potential headache but I'd bank on him behaving. At the very least, I know Ron Artest will get suspended a few games next season. But it's not like Phil Jackson hasn't dealt with egos and nutcases in his coaching career. I'm sure y'all remember Dennis Rodman. Phil will just let Artest do his thang. And Kobe is definitely much more manageable now than when he was 25. There's no doubt that Ariza fit like a glove in L.A. but the Lakers look that much more dangerous if Artest fits in as well. And I think he will.

What are the Rockets getting with Ariza? Well, Ariza's only had one good year (and that was with L.A.). At his best, I can see him defend his man, make open threes (if there are any open threes), and hmmmmm... I guess, not much else. I just see him more as a complimentary player. Kinda like one they have now (Shane Battier). Ariza was more replaceable than, say, Lamar Odom (who is as versatile as you can get). But geez. I think Ariza really lost out in this deal (yes, I know... he's getting money but if you're a good NBA player, of course, you'll make millions).

What really gets me is the dealings between this Lee creature and Kupchak (who, by the way, has done a fantastic job recently as general manager).

"I can tell you definitively Trevor had an offer that was nine million more than what the Rockets offered and he decided to go with Houston."

So was that signing a way of sticking it to the Lakers? Oh, whoopee. He signed with Houston. Yay. TAKE THAT, L.A.

"It's like I told (Lakers General Manager) Mitch Kupchak. It was never about the money. It was about being at a place where he felt wanted and appreciated."

The Lakers resurrected his career and gave him a raise. Kupchak knew his market value. They traded for him. And if it wasn't about the money... how come they didn't sign with the Lakers then? It doesn't make sense to me at all. It was about respect? So why did Lee put him in a troubled situation? If he was going to place Ariza in a troubled situation then you might as well get him more money, right? There's also the potential that we might have already seen Ariza's ceiling. Ouch.

Agent Assface tried to play hardball and lost. I don't exactly blame Ariza for wanting to explore his options for more money (it's the first, and maybe only, big contract he's getting) but they should've known the marketplace better. I think if Artest wasn't free, negotiations would've gone longer and Ariza may still be a Laker today. Good luck in H-Town, Trevor. You played your role very well. I'm sure you're gonna be knockin' da boots.

Welcome the Tru Warier to L.A. I've always liked Ron Artest. And I'm happy that we have a nutcase in the Lakers. I don't think the Lakers will be bored in the regular season with Artest around. I know I won't be.

MORE OFFSEASON COVERAGE
My take on the initial wave of free agents agreeing verbally.
David Diep covers another "miracle on Figueroa St."
My reaction on the trades made thus far

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About Rey-Rey

Rey-Rey created The No-Look Pass on December 2008. When he's not writing, he likes playing old-school video games. He's also in the process of writing a terrible novel.

8 thoughts on “Artest > Ariza

  1. @XOVR
    July 3, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Totally agree. The thing about Ariza was, he filled his complimentary role on the Lakers perfectly—picked his spots to make plays, never needing the ball in his hands—by making critical steals or hitting timely 3s. And he did all of this without beating his chest or creating controversy through the media. He just went about his business, and that’s why he fit so well on this stacked team. Trevor probably listened to his agent, and David Lee tried to play the game with Kupchak and he got burned. No residual effect on Lee, but Ariza and his LA fans suffer. A$$!
    At the same time, no one will eff with the Lakers once Artest officially signs with LA. He will make some bad decisions, and get phantom fouls and techs because of his rep. And expect to not have him for a couple games because of suspension. But… Ron Ron will bring another explosive element (pun intended) to the team that no one else can match up with. And THAT is making the rest of the NBA cringe.

  2. Rey-Rey
    July 3, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Yeah, I’m gonna miss Ariza. I can’t blame him for wanting to look for more money but they should’ve known better; not many teams were willing to pay what he wanted. And I couldn’t imagine him wanting to play in Canada. Now he’s not even going to get paid more than what L.A. was going to pay him, he basically lost a chance to play for another ring, AND he’s not going to be playing at home. Trevor should’ve gotten better representation.

  3. July 3, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Yo No Look Pass crew, congrats on winning The Handle of the Week Award today! You guys deserve it! Make sure to check out what I’m talking about @ basketballwithDinoGomez.com

  4. anonymous, not agent ASSFACE
    July 3, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    thank you for a great run ARIZA….you will be missed by many…Good luck in Houston! Fire that agent ASSFACE, he was NOT looking out for YOUR best interest!!!! Andrew Bynum beware, shake this idiot AKA agent ASSFACE right NOW!!!!!

  5. Rey-Rey
    July 3, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Ha ha ha ha. I take it you like the name that I called him.

  6. Rey-Rey
    July 3, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks, man. We totally appreciate it.

  7. July 4, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Bottom line: The Lakers made out like bandits getting an All-Star caliber player for the price of a glorified 6th man. No disrepect to Ariza, but athletic swingmen come a dime a dozen. There will always be one waiting in the wings to break out.
    One thing people forget to acknowledge is that Ron-Ron will make life THAT much easier for Kobe in that he may draw the tougher defensive assignments and let Kobe conserve a little more juice throughout the season. And with all the mileage on Kobe’s body so far, he needs every bit of rest possible.
    Sure Ariza goes to the Rockets, but w/out T-Mac or Yao around (presuming they’ll be out for a signifcant amount of time), can Ariza create his own shot being the #1 or #2 scoring option? No way José. That’s not how he got rich and that’s not how he’ll stay rich either.

  8. Rey-Rey
    July 4, 2009 at 1:12 am

    That’s also a great point you made about Artest. Kobe gets to save his energy while Artest wreaks havoc on the defensive end. PLUS Artest is also a threat to score 20-25 in any given game; something Ariza couldn’t do or may NEVER do in his career.
    Like I said, I’m willing to bite the bullet if Ariza suddenly goes berserk in Houston. But he’ll have to do these things better: drive to the hole, post up, create his own shot, make the midrange jumper, etc., etc.
    And I just mentioned all the things Artest CAN do.

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