Drama In La-La Land: Trevor Ariza vs. Sasha Vujacic
Though the Lakers are preaching teamwork and are touting the NBA’s best record, there is more to it than meets the eye. During the matchup on November 18th against the Chicago Bulls, we finally saw the first glimpse of internal beef within the Laker organization in a long time. Because of all that Kobe drama a couple years ago, it seems as though every Laker has gone out of his way to be best buds for the sake of team chemistry, real or imagined.
However, there is no need to be worried. Basically, Trevor Ariza was upset that Sasha took a contested three even though Ariza was wide open in the corner. After the Lakers play defense on the other side of the floor and a timeout was called, you can see Ariza getting into Sasha’s grill on the far right portion of the clip. In fact, he actually pointed his finger in Sasha’s face. This seems like a fairly extreme gesture for this to have been the initial flare-up. I just can’t see Trevor being that upset over this one play. Perhaps this is but one episode of a reoccuring pattern of beef between the two.
It could be that the Lakers’ depth is starting to chip away at these young professionals’ egos due to lack of playing time to go around. Sasha’s minutes have been down this year even though shooters need to stay on the floor long enough to get into a shooting groove. Luke Walton doesn’t even play anymore. Remember a couple years ago when he used to start? Remember how devastating it was to the team when Luke got injured in the ’06-’07 season? If Luke were to get injured now, it would barely get any press. Though we sports fans might think that some of these guys would love getting paid while sitting on the pine (Stephon Marbury), most do not. Sasha and Trevor are both young men who are out to prove something and want to see playing time. That’s why Turiaf left for Golden State. He wanted minutes.
But what if I’m wrong? What if these two scrap? Who would win? Ariza is a bit taller with more reach, but looks a bit weak. Sasha looks like he gained some muscle over the summer, but he looks like a lover not a fighter. Perhaps he could resort to choking Trevor with his hairband. Anyway, let’s hope that this fake beef never gets out of hand.
In the meantime, I leave you with this clip. This chest bump from Trevor decimated Sasha. Hilarious. Was Sasha being a sissy or was Ariza just waiting for the perfect time to knock that damn Slovenian to the floor? You be the judge.