His negotiations soured his future with the Lakers, but Trevor Ariza’s sentiments toward his former team still seems sentimental.
It’s also clear that Ariza maintains a long-affection for Kobe Bryant. He even wore his No. 8 Lakers jersey as he walked through Philadelphia and posted a picture of it on his Instagram account.
Even if he insists otherwise, Dwight Howard’s departure to the Houston Rockets partly reflected his philosophical and personality differences with Bryant. It also remains to be seen whether Bryant’s plan to play beyond his $30.5 million contract next season could entice LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony to join the Lakers via free agency or scare them away.
But it seems clear there’s a number of current and former role players on the Lakers that still has affection for Bryant. Nick Young and Wesley Johnson grew up idolizing Bryant. Ariza has also largely credited Bryant sharing his shooting routine for having a breakout season in the 2008-09 campaign that led to an NBA championship.
Four years and three teams later, it appears Ariza’s feelings about Bryant remain strong.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org