Really good story out of Houston this morning from my colleague Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Jon catches up with former Laker Trevor Ariza and gets some interesting perspective on the how and why behind Ariza’s rocky free-agent negotiations.
Ariza admitted to being “hurt” by the Lakers initial stance with him — saying they’d match any offers at the midlevel exception, but would not offer more than that — but now seems to feel that moving to Houston will be a great opportunity for him to develop as a player.
“”Every player wants to grow. Every player has goals,” Ariza told the Chronicle. “Every player wants to be the best player he can be. In L.A., they have so many great, great players. Kobe is the best player in the NBA, arguably ever. Pau Gasol. Lamar Odom. Andrew Bynum is coming into his own.
“I think I would have been stuck into one role there. Here, everybody said, ‘We want you to work on your game. You have to do more. We believe you have the skill and the talent to do it. Come do it.’”
As for his contract negotiations with the Lakers, Ariza said, “I’m not a greedy person by any means. Fair is fair. I helped your team win. I’m not asking for the bank. I’m not asking for the house and the farm. I need something fair. At first, I felt hurt. It’s my home. I was a little upset. But you get over it. I have great memories there. I had my first real opportunity to play there, won a championship. It was a great experience. … But you know, things happen.”