Whether or not Trevor Ariza comes back to the Wizards won't be decided by one factor. Everyone knows that he loves the West coast, that he wants to win now and that his families mean everything to him. Yes, both.
"My family is definitely the most important thing to me before basketball, everything. That plays a big factor into a log of things," Ariza said Friday after he packed up his locker and prepared to leave Verizon Center following the Wizards' playoff elimination to the Indiana Pacers the previous night. "But when you build something with people that's hard to let go, too. What we built in this locker room this season, this is a beautiful thing to me. I really enjoyed playing with those guys. I love those dudes like they're my brothers."
Ariza, who made $7.7 million, will be an unrestricted free agent and will have options. He's coming off his best season of his career with 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Ariza also shot a career-high 40.7% from three-point range.
"You've got to be patient," he said of free agency. "It's an exciting time. Nerve-wracking at times, too. You can't really prepare for it."
He insists where he ends up will be about more than money. The Wizards, CSN can confirm, are intent on keeping him here.
"Trust. Having trust in where you are, with your organization, with your teammates and how comfortable you are," Ariza said when asked to prioritize how he'll go about his decision. "How comfortable my family is. This year my family has been extremely comfortable. We loved the neighborhood that we lived in. The organization has been great. Teammates, we hung out all the time. This is a really good destination. Free agents would be crazy not to come here.
"It's always been more than money. People get confused because we all make a lot of money. It seems crazy to the general public but this is something that I love to do. We play this game because we love it. If we didn't get paid for it, most of us still would be playing."