NBA free agent rumors: Trevor Ariza generated tons of interest to start free agency

Win McNamee

The Wizards' small forward was in high demand as free agency began.

The Wizards, specifically head coach Randy Wittman and director of player development Ed Tapscott, are officially meeting with Trevor Ariza in Los Angeles during the day on July 1. Of course, free agency officially began at 9:01 local time the previous night, which gave other teams time to call Ariza's agent Rob Pelinka and make their pitches.

Among them: the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have tons of cap space and a need for a wing to mentor rookie Andrew Wiggins:

Also: the Los Angeles Clippers, who lack cap space, but have a major need at the position and will make their push regardless.

And then there's the Miami Heat, who have an edict from the Big 3 to seek out contributors before they make their new deal official.

None of this is a surprise, since we knew Ariza's market would be heavy. With Martell Webster now injured, the Wizards certainly have lost some leverage. Nevertheless, the Wizards have "a number that [they] are unwilling to pass," according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post.

But perhaps what matters most is what Ariza himself is doing, not his agent. He turned 29 on June 30 and is celebrating with friends, including Wizards teammates John Wall and Al Harrington.

We'll see if the Wizards' recruiting -- formal or informal -- pays off most.

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