The Lakers made a trade today with the Orlando Magic, acquiring Trevor Ariza for Brian Cook and Maurice Evans. The deal marks something of a homecoming for Ariza who attended both Westchester High School and UCLA.
Ariza brings the Lakers some athleticism, and Phil Jackson thinks he can help the team defensively. The deal also gives the Lakers some salary flexibility. Some fans may bemoan the loss of Cook, but he was expendable. Cook seemed to be lost on the roster this year. He may be a great 3-point shooter, but so is Coby Karl. He may be really tall, but he seldom plays like a true power forward at the basket. In the first year of a 3-year $10 million contract, Cook was overpriced and out of place. Maurice Evans is a nice player who can do some good things on the court, but he was also somewhat expendable, and acquiring Ariza should more than make up for his absence. ESPN.com's John Hollinger says this is a good deal for the Lakers, while it remains to be seen how the Magic will benefit.
In the meantime, the Lakers had no problems playing short-handed tonight, beating the Indiana Pacers 134-114 on the road. Yes, they scored 134 points in a game on the road. And Andrew Bynum outplayed Jermaine O'Neal.