Trevor Ariza Is Reaping the Benefits of Leaving the L.A. Lakers

It didn't have to be this way for Trevor Ariza.

News recently broke that Ariza was a key component in a four-team trade which will land him in New Orleans, after playing a single season as a member of the Houston Rockets.

Los Angeles Lakers fans will always remember Ariza, who was a home-grown product, and an integral piece in the Lakers' NBA championship of 2009.

Fans will also remember the manner in which Ariza bolted for assumed greener pastures after the Lakers refused to offer him the money he was seeking.

The rest is history.

The Lakers went on to offer Ron Artest nearly the same contract Ariza was seeking, and what had been perceived as a defiant move on Ariza's part became basically a trade between Houston and Los Angeles.

Artest went on to help the Lakers clinch their second consecutive NBA championship last season, while Ariza now gets to continue his journeyman career that many thought had come to an end when he joined the Lakers.

The Hornets will be Ariza's fifth team in his brief career, and stands as an illustration of the old phrase "the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence."

What has to be disheartening is that last season may have been the best of Ariza's career, as he averaged 14.5 points per game while assuming the role as one of Houston's primary scoring threats.

However, Ariza only shot 39 percent from the floor and around 31 percent from the three point line, while proving his game may not have been ready for the limelight in the first place.

The Lakers' desire to retain Ariza was a well known fact, and with a little forethought he could have gone on complementing the likes of Kobe Bryant while his game continued to develop.

But Ariza felt he deserved to be paid like a low-level superstar, and until the 2008-09 season, nothing Ariza had done on the court suggested he merited that ...

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