Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Trevor Ariza trade: How it looks one year later

It was one year ago on November 20, 2007, that the Magic traded young, athletic small forward Trevor Ariza to the Lakers for shooting guard Maurice "Mo" Evans and power forward Brian Cook. Let's take a look how the trade looked then and how it looks now.

Ariza, who was just 22 years old, was coming off a very impressive 2006-'07 season, with the Magic and then-coach Brian Hill. He averaged 8.9 points per game on 53.9% field goal shooting and 4.4 rebounds in just over 22 minutes a game. We all thought he was a cornerstone for the future of the Magic because of his tremendous athleticism and potential.

However, in the 2007-'08 season under new coach Stan Van Gundy, Ariza's playing time and numbers dropped dramatically. He just could not crack the regular rotation (supposedly because of his weak outside shooting), and was averaging only 3.3 ppg and 2.2 rebounds in just over 10 minutes a game before the trade was made.

The Magic definitely got the better of the trade for last season. Ariza played in 24 games for the Lakers, averaging 6.5 ppg and 3.5 rebounds, before getting hurt in January and missing the rest of the season. Mo Evans was inserted as the starting shooting guard for the Magic shortly after the trade, and was very steady throughout the season, averaging 9.3 ppg on 48.9% FG shooting and 39.6% three point shooting, scoring in double figures 35 games with a high of 27 points.

While it took Van Gundy several games to play Brian Cook, when he finally did, Cook proved to be a spark off the bench in several games with his three point shooting, as he scored in double figures in nine games with a high of 18 points. Overall, with the Magic, Cook averaged 5.0 ppg on 39.1 three point shooting last season before breaking his hand in April and missing the playoffs.

For this year though, and for the future, there's no question the Lakers got the better of the trade. The Magic elected not to re-sign Evans, who is now with Atlanta. Cook came into training camp not in the kind of shape Van Gundy wanted him in, and has been in the doghouse, appearing in just two games in mop-up time of blowouts.

Meanwhile, Ariza, who is now healthy, has found a place in the regular rotation with the Lakers, and is thriving under Phil Jackson. He is averaging 8.9 ppg, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals in 23 minutes a game. He is shooting 46.8% from the field and 42.9% from three point range. He never had three point range with the Magic, but has it now with the Lakers. Kobe Bryant recently said what a huge boost it gives the Lakers when Ariza is on the floor because of the energy and hustle he provides on both offense and defense.

With Ariza just 23 years old, and developing all his athleticism and potential with the Lakers, this could prove to be Magic GM Otis Smith's worst trade.

In partial defense of Smith, he signed free agent Mickael Pietrus from Golden State to replace Evans at SG, and Pietrus has proven to be an excellent free agent signing so far.

It remains to be seen what Otis could get for Brian Cook, who is on the trading block. It would be for the benefit of the Magic if they could play Cook more, to showcase him for other teams.


  • At 4:28 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    I have aired my views then on the trade. It does not matter what the present situation is with regard to Trevor. His upside potentials were too good to be ignored. While Mo Evans was not a bad pick (despite similarity to Keith Bogans), Cook's 3.5 mil salary was the worst part of the trade. Mark my word that Otis Smith's persistence to stick with two small forwards, rather than trying to trade Hedo at his peak, is going to cost us big come play-offs time.

  • At 9:56 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Yeah the trade helped both sides at the time and thats all that counts. We have Mp now so nothing hurt. But matt you may be right,time will tell.

  • At 3:07 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    I never thought the Ariza trade was a bad idea after the Grant Hill fiasco. Feet problems kill NBA careers and Ariza had back to back years at 21 and 22 with foot problems.

    Given his limited upside -- no one I've read has ever considered him a potential 20 points a night kind of guy -- then trading a potential medical problem for two competent but unexciting role players was not that bad a deal.

    So far this year we're talking about Ariza as a backup 8.9 ppg guy with a history of feet problems that kept him out of the playoffs last year.

    If this is Otis worst trade ever, everyone here can live with it.

    Me, I think it pales in comparison to trading for Rashard instead of simply signing him outright in order to overpay him.

    And did Big say he'd rather be paying $5 mil to MP instead of TA? Cause I agree with him if he did.

  • At 4:45 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    If I wanted to prove that Otis Smith is nothing but an average GM, I could point to tens of reasons, trading Trevor Ariza would not be amongst them. But these convenient memory failures are unacceptable. Ariza was making just around one mil and was not breaking anybody's bank. Under Brian Hill he was a defensive stopper and a great slasher to the basket. He was an exciting young player who was lacking a decent jumpshot, and towards the end of that year under Hill even his jumpshot started to look better and better, which explains why he is hitting a good percentage of his shots even from 3-point range, presently. To trade a harmless 1 mil player for two players amongst whom is the fat a.. of Brian Cook with a 3.5 mil per year salary is beyond stupid. Now if Ariza was making a large salary the situation could have been different.

    I am not acting as a Monday morning quarterback, and that is why I mentioned that Ariza's current situation does not matter. However, being strung with Cook's salary matters, and that was my position from the start. Ariza is now the kind of player who could soon become a starter on any team. Defensively he could be as good as a Bruce Bowen but a much more athletic and a better slasher than him. Isn't that a missed opportunity? I would say yes it is.

  • At 5:13 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Cook is also scheduled to make $3.5 million next season, but it's a player option, which he probably won't exercise.

  • At 6:21 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    WeR thats exactly what i said. Trevor a missed opp? Matter of opinion there. To me he'll be nothing but a back-up his whole career and just like WeR said will never be a 20 point scorer a night. On the other hand trading trev put us in position a year later to sign MP who is giving us the same things that trev did and much more. Just my opinion.

  • At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Dave said…

    I didn't think Ariza fit in with SVG's offense. He's skills are much more suited to the Triangle offense, where his cutting is valued higher and his lack of ability on the ball isn't such an issue.

    The Magic got a good role player in return for a talented young player who didn't fit in. That good role player started for the team and helped them win 50+ games and get to the second round of the playoffs.

    I think it's a good trade. Benefited both sides.


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