UPDATE: This trade is being folded into a larger deal between the Rockets and Pistons, as described in a separate story.
The Rockets are trading Trevor Ariza and the No. 16 pick in tonight’s draft to the Pistons in exchange for a future first-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Houston will also receive the Lakers’ 2021 second-round pick from Detroit as part of the swap, sending $4.6MM to the Pistons, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).
Ariza and the No. 16 pick are part of the package Houston will receive from Portland in exchange for Robert Covington. That deal – and this new one – can’t be completed until after the Blazers make the No. 16 pick tonight. Portland will now be making that pick on behalf on the Pistons.
Ariza, 35, was a solid contributor for the Blazers last season, averaging 11.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG with a .491/.400/.872 shooting line in 21 games (33.4 MPG) after being acquired in a trade-deadline deal. He opted out of the NBA’s restart this summer in Orlando.
Ariza will make $12.8MM this season, so the Pistons will absorb that money using their cap room, reducing the space they’ll have available in free agency. However, it’s not clear yet whether the entire amount will be guaranteed. Portland will have to be guarantee about $7.1MM to make the deal with Houston work, notes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). If it’s still only partially guaranteed, that would give the Pistons more flexibility.
It remains to be seen if Ariza will be part of Detroit’s plans in 2020/21 — this deal is presumably more about the No. 16 overall pick. New general manager Troy Weaver will now enter tonight’s draft armed with the seventh and 16th selections as he looks to add young talent to the roster.
As for the pick the Pistons are sending out, it will be heavily protected, says James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Edwards, it’ll be top-16 protected for the next four years, starting in 2021, then top-10 protected for two years and top-nine protected for one year. It would become a second-rounder if it still hasn’t changed hands at that point.
The Rockets, meanwhile, will pick up a pair of future draft picks while clearing enough salary from their books for the coming season to use their full mid-level exception, according to Wojnarowski. While there still may be a number of dominoes to fall in Houston, that MLE could give the Rockets enough spending power to sign a free agent who would help convince James Harden and Russell Westbrook the team can contend in the West.
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out (via Twitter), Houston will also create a trade exception in the deal. It’ll be worth Ariza’s guaranteed amount.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.