3. Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza gets past the Warriors’ Monta Ellis (March 2010)
This move was such a head-scratcher for me when the Rockets announced they signed Ariza to a 5-year, $33 million contract in July of 2009. It defied the logic and wisdom that new general manager Daryl Morey was putting in place.
Ariza had never averaged more than 9 points per game, was a career 30 percent 3-point shooter, and was never a starter on any team until the season before (his 7th season) with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was an integral part to the Lakers championship run in 2009, averaging a career high 11.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and shot over 50 percent from the 3-point line in the playoffs.
The Rockets thought they were going to get that player, and it was fitting to bring him in after Ron Artest left the Rockets to join the Lakers. From a production standpoint, Ariza was pretty solid, averaging a career high 14.9 points and 5.6 rebounds in 72 games. From an analytics standpoint, he was nightmare, shooting just 33 percent from beyond the arc, and 39 percent overall from the field.
Ariza had his moments with the Rockets: he scored a career high 33 points against the Blazers, and even recorded a triple-double in the last game of the season. But the Rockets needed a wing player who could space the floor, something that Ariza did not bring.
He was traded in August of 2010 after 1 season into his lucrative deal to the New Orleans Hornets in a 4-team trade. The Rockets got Courtney Lee in return.