By Jason Wojciechowski on November 21, 2007 at 2:18 AM
The Lakers made a deal today that could be a precursor to a Kobe deal: Brian Cook and Maurice Evans to Orlando for Trevor Ariza. While the players involved are minor (although I'll miss Evans - he brought attitude and defense to the backup 2-guard spot that I liked), the trade does two things for the Lakers: save them money (which can be helpful in trying to fill the Kobe void via free agency) and gain them a roster spot (extremely important because any Kobe deal is going to get them more players back than they give away). Given the seeming inevitability of a Bryant trade happening at some point, I've been wondering what players near the bottom of the roster were going to lose out to make room for the two or three additional players that would be joining the team in a three- or four-for-one trade.
As for the now (or the future, if Kobe is still around), I liked Ariza while he was a Knick, and I've been surprised that he hasn't emerged as more of a useful players. Not that he should be a star, but a rotation regular, an eighth or ninth guy who can grab a few rebounds and play good defense.