Houston Rockets sign Trevor Ariza

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed free agent guard/forward Trevor Ariza to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, financial terms were not released.

“Trevor is a young, athletic wing player who will thrive in Rick Adelman’s system,” said Morey. “Each year in the league Trevor has improved. What he has accomplished at a young age is already impressive and we expect his improvement to continue.”

Ariza (6-8, 210, UCLA) holds career averages of 6.9 points (.470, 808-1718 FG), 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.14 steals in 311 games (52 starts) with the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and L.A. Lakers. In 2008-09, Ariza emerged as a key contributor for the Lakers during the team’s title run. He appeared in a career-high 82 games (20 starts), averaging 8.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.67 steals in 24.4 minutes per game. Ariza scored in double figures 39 times, including a career-high 26 points (9-13 FG) vs. Dallas (3/15/09). The five-year NBA veteran also made his presence felt on the defensive side of the ball by ranking ninth in the NBA in steals per game. Overall last season, Ariza led the Lakers in steals 30 times and in blocks on seven occasions. He set his career high with five steals vs. Utah (1/2/09) and matched that total vs. Phoenix (2/26/09). Ariza added to his game in 2008-09 by becoming a perimeter threat for the Lakers, making a career-high 61 3-pointers (.319, 61-191 3FG). He also registered a double-double with 11 points and a season-high 11 rebounds vs. Sacramento (11/23/08). Ariza started all 23 postseason games for the Lakers during the 2009 NBA Playoffs, averaging 11.3 points (.497, 92-185 FG), 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.57 steals. He also led the Lakers with 40 3-point field goals made (.476, 40-84 3FG) and ranked among the league postseason leaders in steals per game (13th overall).

Selected by New York in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2004 NBA Draft, Ariza at the time became the youngest player to ever wear a Knicks uniform (19 years, 4 months and 4 days) during his rookie season of 2004-05. He was traded by New York along with Anfernee Hardaway to Orlando in exchange for Steve Francis on Feb. 22, 2006. After re-signing as a free agent with the Magic on July 27, 2006, Ariza went on to average 8.9 points (.539, 200-371 FG), 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 57 games (seven starts) with Orlando in 2006-07. He was acquired by the Lakers from the Magic in exchange for Brian Cook and Maurice Evans on Nov. 20, 2007.

Ariza, who declared for the NBA Draft following his freshman campaign, played in 25 games (23 starts) at UCLA. He averaged 11.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and a team-high 1.7 steals in 31.6 minutes per game in 2003-04.