Ariza switches agents entering final contract year

Ariza switches agents entering final contract year
July 15, 2013, 3:00 pm
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An NBA player changing agents happens with enough regularity that it hardly qualifies as real news, breaking or otherwise. Obviously signing with Jay-Z or any other rapper is the exception.  Therefore, on the surface there would appear to be little special about this report regarding Wizards forward Trevor Ariza seeing as his new representative did not just drop Magna Carta on the masses:

Of course, the lengthy Ariza is entering the final year of his contract with Washington. At $7.7 million, he's well compensated for his specific duties. However, Pelinka, who lost Kevin Durant as a client to the aforementioned Jay-Z, is unlikely to wait until next spring and summer to begin working on an extension or new deal for his new client.

Of course, Ariza shot a career-high 36.4 percent from 3-point range last season while continuing his work as one of the top defensive wings in the league. That's a nice place to start negotiations. However, his minutes and scoring average were at a four-year low.

Of course, regardless of playing time, Ariza was a valuable contributor during Washington's second half of the season surge. However, he came off the bench in 38 of his final 40 games.

Of course, as the third highest paid player on the team this upcoming season, he'll certainly have a key role. However, the small forward situation is even more crowded after the Wizards drafted Otto Porter in addition to re-signing Webster. Those two are on the books through at least the 2015-16 campaign.

Of course, there are also available minutes this season at the off guard spot behind Bradley Beal. That explains why the Wizards played Porter out of position at the start of the first two summer league games. If the rookie can play guard, Ariza can stay up front more, including as a de facto  power forward in small ball lineup combinations. Though Ariza can fill in at times in the backcourt, especially in terms of guarding high-scoring opponents, he's not ideally suited due to his limited ball handling skills. Even though at 6-foot-8 he has sufficient height, the 200-pounder won't effectively bang true big man bodies and nobody is confusing him with the true knockdown shooters at either spot. Playing too many minutes outside of his natural position could impact his stats and therefore his future negotiation power.

Of course, Ariza has made no public "start me or trade me" declarations. He might be ready to attack the season with all kinds of passion. However, the Southern California native said this the day after Washington's final regular season game:

“Well, I’m a starter. I’m going to let you know that right now. I’m a team player, but I’m a starter. That’s what kept me going. That’s what kept me focused; knowing that I’m a starting 3 in this league, and nobody’s going to change that. Or nobody’s going to change that mentality, I should say.”

Of course, none of this could matter. Perhaps Ariza switched to Pelinka from his former agent David Lee for reasons beyond the court or his situation in Washington. With good health and good fortune, Ariza could help the Wizards reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Maybe that is all that matters, seeing as he'll have earned $44 million over 10 seasons at the end of the upcoming campaign.