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Stein: Teams expect Suns to dangle Trevor Ariza in trade talks

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) dribbles next to Phoenix Suns' Trevor Ariza (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Rival teams expect that the Phoenix Suns will be open to discussing trades involving veteran forward Trevor Ariza once he is able to be dealt on Dec. 15, reports the New York Times’ Marc Stein.

Stein adds that while many teams would be interested in acquiring the two-way talents of Ariza, the potential to do so could be limited. Phoenix is expected to pursue trades rather than buying the forward out of the rest of his contract.

Ariza signed a one-year deal worth $15 million this offseason after Phoenix made him a priority by dialing him up as soon as the negotiating period began. While the 14-year veteran knew it was a rebuilding project, the hill to climb has been far greater than the Suns anticipated as they opened up with a 4-19 start to the year.

Averaging 9.9 points, 3.3 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game, Ariza is shooting 36 percent from three this season. The 33-year-old has started the 21 games he’s been available and missed two games in mid-November due to personal reasons.

He is having his worst shooting season of his career (37 percent overall) and has not averaged fewer than 11.7 points per game since a 2012-13 season with the Washington Wizards.

When they signed him, the Suns viewed Ariza as a stabilizing force and veteran voice in the locker room who could contribute to wins. It is possible they are once again recalibrating and looking toward a youth movement as the season has gone south.

Phoenix has the bodies to fill Ariza’s role with wings T.J. Warren, Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson.

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