AP source: Suns, Ariza agree to 1-year, $15 million contract
PHOENIX (AP) Trevor Ariza has agreed to a one-year, $15 million contract with the Phoenix Suns, a person with knowledge of the situation said Sunday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement cannot be officially announced during the free agent moratorium.
The 33-year-old Ariza brings a reputation for winning and veteran leadership that general manager Ryan McDonough said the team needed around its young core that features Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and No. 1 overall draft pick Deandre Ayton.
It’s a nice raise for the 14-year NBA veteran, who earned $7.4 million last season, his fourth with Houston.
Ariza averaged 11.7 points last season for a Rockets team that compiled the best record in the NBA at 65-17 before losing to Golden State in a seven-game Western Conference finals. Phoenix had the league’s worst record at 21-61 and has missed the playoffs eight years in a row.
Ariza has averaged 10.5 points per game, shooting 42 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range, in a career that included stops with the New York Knicks, Orlando, the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans and Washington, as well as Houston.
The move gives Phoenix a glut of players at the wing positions and uses up most of the team’s available salary cap space. However, more space could be created with personnel moves.
The team’s biggest remaining need would appear to be point guard, where the top two currently are Brandon Knight, returning from knee surgery that cost him all of last season, and French rookie Elie Okobo, the first player drafted this year in the second round.
Ayton threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Sunday’s game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants.