Magic get bigger with Cook, dealing little-used Ariza

Updated: February 22, 2008, 11:31 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Los Angeles Lakers made a trade, but it wasn't the one everyone was waiting for. Kobe Bryant is still in purple and gold.

Maurice Evans

Evans

Brian Cook

Cook

Trevor Ariza

Ariza

General manager Mitch Kupchak announced on Tuesday that the team had acquired forward Trevor Ariza from the Orlando Magic for forward Brian Cook and guard Maurice Evans.

A four-year veteran who began his career with the New York Knicks, Ariza averaged 8.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 22.4 minutes per game last season with the Magic but his numbers had fallen off this year.

The deal saves the Lakers some money in the end. While he's averaging only 3.3 points and 2.2 rebounds this season, Ariza is in the final year of his contract. Cook, averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds, is in the first year of a three-year, $10.5 million deal.

The Orlando Sentinel reported on Tuesday that the Magic used their $2.6 million exemption -- from the Tony Battie injury -- to make the deal work. The Magic also released veteran big man Bo Outlaw.

"It was hard to trade Trevor on two fronts," Magic general manager Otis Smith said, according to the Sentinel. "Trevor's one of 'my kids.' I'd like to have kept him, but we made a huge investment in the 4-spot [power forward Rashard Lewis] and we have two guys [Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu] playing extremely well.

"It's bittersweet for Trevor. He found a home in Orlando. Nine of the 10 things were good, but the one thing --- not playing --- was not good. Him not playing, that's tough on a young guy."

Ariza makes a homecoming. He grew up in Los Angeles and attended Westchester High School.

"He's a 6-8 athletic, active guy," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before their game against the Indiana Pacers. "His specialty is probably defense. He's an all-around player, but defensively, with the athleticism -- he's tough."

Cook, a 6-9, 250-pounder, was a first-round pick by the Lakers in the 2003 draft after playing at Illinois. He turns 27 on Dec. 4 but has played sparingly this season.

Cook's best season was in 2005-06, when he averaged 7.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 19 minutes, all career highs.

Cook, along with Bryant, Derek Fisher and Luke Walton, were the only players on the current roster who played with the Lakers in 2003-04, the last time they advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs.

Evans averaged 4.4 points in seven games for the Lakers this season. The 29-year-old was in the final year of his contract.

The 6-5, 220-pounder averaged a career-high 8.4 points in 76 games last season, his first with the Lakers. Evans was acquired from Detroit in a draft day trade in 2006. He's also played for Minnesota and Sacramento.

"We gave up two players that were veterans, experienced players who fit into our system relatively well," Jackson said.

Ariza hadn't yet joined the Lakers, and Cook and Evans weren't with the team, leaving Los Angeles shorthanded for Tuesday's game.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.