According to a report by Marc Stein of the New York Times, the 4-19 Suns will place the 33-year-old veteran on the trade block following December 15 -- that would be when they're allowed to actually trade the small forward, who was signed as a free agent to a one-year, $15 million deal in the offseason.
The Suns' Trevor Ariza is seen by rival teams at the top of the list of players who will be made available via trade after Dec. 15, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 4, 2018
The Suns have been every bit as bad as people expected, with their 4-19 record being the worst overall record in the entire NBA. They're losers of five straight games and they're destined for their ninth consecutive non-playoff season.
With that said, Ariza's trade value shouldn't plummet due to Phoenix's terrible season. The former NBA champion is still a viable 3-and-D player, an extremely valued trait due to the pace-and-space era of today's league. The 6-foot-8 Ariza is converting on 36 percent of his three-point attempts this season.
While his stats have declined in 2018-19 (9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game on 37 percent shooting from the field), he has yet to miss a game due to injury this season and he's just a year removed from being a starter on the 65-17 Houston Rockets squad that came within a game of the NBA Finals.
Ariza will have an opportunity to increase his trade value even more on Tuesday night when the Suns host the Kings in a Pacific Division showdown (9 p.m. ET -- Watch on FuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension).
We've all seen what his departure from Houston has done to the team. The Rockets are currently 10-11 and their defensive rating ranks 25th in the league. In 2017-18 with Ariza starting at small forward, the Rockets ranked sixth in defensive rating. In other words, the loss of Ariza's defensive impact on the perimeter is being felt in a major way.
As far as potential destinations are concerned, a logical fit for Ariza could be the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are attempting to trade Markelle Fultz and the Suns have been thrown around as a favorite to land the former No. 1 overall pick. Considering Philadelphia desperately needs a 3-and-D small forward after trading Robert Covington to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler deal, and considering that Fultz would fit in on a rebuilding squad with no expectations in Phoenix, it almost makes too much sense for the deal not to happen.
One thing is for certain -- expect Ariza to be traded from the Suns before the trade deadline in February.