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NBA Free Agency 2014: Trevor Ariza and the Atlanta Hawks

Quietly below the radar he lurks. Watching. Waiting.

Andy Lyons

Not much has been said nationally about Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza since the NBA Free Agency moratorium kicked in on July 1st.

It has been discussed and reported that Ariza is the Plan B for many of the teams in the LeBron James & Carmelo Anthony hunt, but he hasn't had the whirlwind romance of someone likely to get an increase on his 7 million per year contract that ended before this season.

His current team, the Wizards, are said to be in hot pursuit to retain his services, but Mike Prada at Bullets Forever reminded today that the Wizards had been down this path before, about 10 years ago, with another wing named Hughes, and letting go proved to be prudent at that juncture.

We listed Ariza as a potential fit for the Hawks when we outlined some potential targets back in May, and it still reads true. The key bit:

Trevor Ariza, Wizards

If you are looking for a possible Millsap-like sneaky signing, then maybe Ariza, but the Wizards playoff run may raise the price a bit. He's made over 7M per for a while and likely will get a raise, but if teams are focused on Carmelo and Rudy Gay opts out and teams believe in the Power of Deng, then maybe someone can get in and get Ariza on a short deal. Ariza had a career-high True Shooting percentage this season after he also had a career high in three-point rate. The price is likely going to be too-high for the Hawks to bring in Ariza as another three & D player. DeMarre Carroll, who the Hawks stole for 2.5M a year over two years, is a slightly lesser version of the player Ariza was this year, and that was Trevor's best season.

Looking deeper at Ariza's stats, we see that the last time Ariza put up numbers that good was when he was a Laker, just about to become a free agent.

Comparing Ariza's stats with DeMarre Carroll's stats, we see that the two are very similar in almost every way, except potential cost. With Carroll's salary set at 2.5M and Ariza's likely to be a couple million or more above the 7M he made last season, one wonders why the Hawks would pull the trigger on someone like Ariza.

The fit, skills-wise, seems sounds, especially in light of the comparison to Carroll, but Ariza has not produced consistently throughout his career. Listed below are Ariza's numbers since he signed his last deal, a 5 year, 33.5M dollar deal signed when the Lakers decided not to bring Ariza's back and instead signed a then Ron Artest to a 3 year, 18 million dollar deal.

2009-10 24 HOU NBA SF 72 71 36.5 .394 .334 .436 .649 1.1 4.5 5.6 3.8 1.8 0.6 2.2 2.3 14.9
2010-11 25 NOH NBA SF 75 75 34.7 .398 .303 .450 .701 0.8 4.6 5.4 2.2 1.6 0.4 1.6 2.4 11.0
2011-12 26 NOH NBA SF 41 41 32.9 .417 .333 .440 .775 1.0 4.2 5.2 3.3 1.7 0.6 1.9 1.8 10.8
2012-13 27 WAS NBA SF 56 15 26.3 .417 .364 .463 .821 0.8 4.0 4.8 2.0 1.3 0.4 1.5 1.3 9.5
2013-14 28 WAS NBA SF 77 77 35.4 .456 .407 .509 .772 1.3 4.9 6.2 2.5 1.6 0.3 1.7 2.3 14.4
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/8/2014.

The shooting prowess Ariza exhibited last season was a far cry from his par levels of the previous four seasons, include the one previous in Washington.

Ariza's advanced stats were consistent, save for the aberrant making of baskets last season. This drove all efficiencies higher, towards his previous high in 2008-2009.

Whoever pays Ariza will be paying for the second season in the last six where he made baskets efficiently. He has an all around game, but that particular part of his game limits the overall effectiveness he can bring to a team. I wonder if that's something a team should be investing anything close to a 4 year, 40 million dollar contract to find out if the peaks are development or anomaly.

The fit for the Hawks is true on the court, as the DeMarre comparison illustrates, but the fit on the balance sheet doesn't quite compute. Still, we shall see if Ariza is or has been on Ferry's radar when free agents are free to sign on the 10th.

Exit Question: Would you want Ariza as a Hawk and, if so, what terms?

Exit Question, Part Deux: If the Hawks HAD to sign Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza for a 4 year, 44 million dollar deal, which would you want?