The Los Angeles Lakers put together an impressive team ahead of the upcoming season. They gathered as many veterans as they could and even brought back several former Lakers players.
One of the moves no one seems to be talking about was Trevor Ariza's signing. While no longer in his prime, he could still be a big factor with his 3-and-D expertise.
More than that, the Lakers gave Ariza a chance to finally settle down and have a more normal life.
“My son, Tristan," Ariza said when asked about who influenced his decision to go back to Los Angeles- "After I started getting traded a bunch, their station was going to be here at home. He got tired of me being elsewhere, he wanted me to be home. Outside of basketball he was the biggest influence."
“But the Lakers speak for themselves. This is a franchise that is tied for the most championships in the game. Everybody wants to put this jersey on in my belief. But Russ [Westbrook] as soon as he got traded, he’s on my phone, like, ‘What’s up man, I need to talk to you.’ and I’m like ‘What he f*ck you want to talk to me about?’ But yeah Russ is my dog. We stayed in constant communication. So probably Russ," he added.
That's not the first time that Ariza admits that Westbrook wanted to team up in the Lakers. Apparently, Brodie reached out to him as soon as he was traded to Los Angeles:
"A few hours before the Westbrook trade became official — but, notably, more than a week after the deal was agreed to — Ariza was officially announced as a Laker, and during his first Zoom call with the media on Friday, he admitted that Westbrook was the first Lakers player to try and get him to join up. And he started early.
“It’s funny because Russ got traded, and 20 minutes after he was traded he was on my phone,” Ariza said. “So I don’t know if he was telling me he was happy to be home, or he wanted to go to dinner or whatever, I just know that he called my phone like ‘yo, what are you doing? Where are you at? I need to talk to you, I need to see you.’" reported Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll.
This Lakers team is mostly filled with friends and guys who go way back. And, even if some don't want to take that into account when previewing their season, that chemistry could mean everything down the line.