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:
Trevor Ariza has significant interest -- including Cavs -- and his Wizards coach, Randy Wittman, will be in L.A. by morning to meet him.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2014
Also: the Los Angeles Clippers, who lack cap space, but have a major need at the position and will make their push regardless.
One of the top off-season priorities for the Clippers is upgrading at small forward. They will reach out to Paul Pierce and Trevor Ariza.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 1, 2014
Needless to say, Doc will recruit Paul Pierce while Chris Paul will recruit his former teammate Trevor Ariza.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 1, 2014
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.
Another "if Lowry is off the board early domino"..I wouldn't be surprised if Heat pursue Trevor Ariza. Perfect SF to lighten LeBron's load— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 1, 2014
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.
Trevor Ariza is celebrating his 29th birthday in LA with friends & a few #wizards teammates, including Al Harrington & John Wall.— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) July 1, 2014
Asked John Wall if he's making that last pitch to Trevor Ariza. Wall texted back, "That's my guy he know I want him back." #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) July 1, 2014
We'll see if the Wizards' recruiting -- formal or informal -- pays off most.