Trevor Ariza has been named as the most likely top player to get traded after December 15.
The Phoenix Suns, who signed Ariza to a one-year, $15 million free-agent contract during the summer, are expected to explore trade scenarios for the player once he becomes eligible.
That is according to New York Times reporter Marc Stein, who claims that interested teams were hoping that the player would have been bought out of his deal, similarly to the way Tyson Chandler's situation was handled. But the Suns are looking for at least one asset in return for the 33-year-old.
The Suns' Trevor Ariza is seen by rival teams at the top of the list of players who will be made available via trade after Dec. 15, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 4, 2018
Ariza's salary, though, is believed to have left him with fewer keen teams than other veterans. The versatile small forward - still one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA - is also shooting a career-low 37.2 percent for the Suns this season, with averages of 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
It was expected that he would boost the team's efficiently when he was recruited during the offseason. Yet the player has, so far, failed to make an impact on their fortunes and they are now ready to move him on, per the source.
Players who signed free-agent contracts in the summer will be eligible for trade as of December 15. And, of the players who could make moves on or past the date, Ariza is believed to be the most likely.
What This Means
The Suns could be looking to take on a long-term salary in exchange for a draft pick as they don't have a shot at landing a top free agent next summer. They also have several players on rookie deals, so moving Ariza on and tying up some space for another year or two could be beneficial in the long run.
His departure could also see youngsters Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson handed more playing time.