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|General manager Ryan McDonough says Trevor Ariza was the first player the Phoenix Suns targeted in free agency http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-logan-cooke-jersey , speaking with him and his wife via FaceTime from a car one minute after free agency began. The Suns spent virtually all of their cap space on the 14-year veteran NBA forward, who agreed to a one-year, $15 million contract. On Friday, he was introduced as the newest member of a team that believes it is close to turning the corner after years of losing.
”They are a young team with a lot of talent that don’t know how to win,” Ariza said.
The 6-foot-8 forward will go from Houston, the team with the best record in the NBA last season, to the Suns, who had the worst and haven’t made the playoffs in eight years.
”We need his defensive ability and versatility, his shooting ability,” McDonough said, ”but I think as much as anything, maybe more than anything, we need his leadership and his winning pedigree.”
When the Suns had their first interview with new coach Igor Kokoskov, they asked what free agent out there would fit the team’s needs.
”I swear the first words out of his mouth was Trevor Ariza,” McDonough said.
Ariza, who turned 33 last Saturday http://www.falconsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ito-smith-jersey , played for the Rockets the past four seasons. Before that, there were stops in Washington, New Orleans, Houston (the first time), the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando and the New York Knicks. He averaged 11.7 points per game last season, shooting 37 percent from 3-point range. He’s a career 35 percent 3-point shooter averaging 10.5 points per game.
Ariza has made the playoffs nine times and is looking to show the young Suns, with talents such as Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and this year’s No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, what it takes to succeed.
”In order to be a great team you have to be selfless,” Ariza said. ”You have to be a real live dog to come out there and compete every night. In order to get better, you’ve got to give to your team. If you give to your team, everybody sees it, everybody feels it, and it makes the next person next to you want to give to you.”
James Jones, the Suns’ vice president for basketball operations Saquon Barkley Color Rush Jersey , said Ariza ”speaks to exactly what we’re looking for.”
”He’s a guy that every time he steps on the court and laces them up, goes out there to try to win,” Jones said. ”It’s not just game day. It’s practice. It’s the way he approaches the game, the way he approaches the off days, film, just everything.”
Ariza credited the Suns’ approach for his signing.
”Phoenix was the most aggressive team, and the team that showed the most interest,” he said, ”and, as human beings, we all want to feel appreciated and wanted. When a team just shows that much appreciation with what you do, naturally you’re just attracted to something like that. I understand that this is a situation we have to build to win.”
Ariza has played with Kobe Bryant and James Harden, and he’s looking to help Booker on his drive to be among the best.
”I get to see another extremely talented player to grow,” Ariza said. ”If he needs anything from me, somebody to talk to about different situations, I’ve been around these types of players. The shoes that he’s walking in Ian Thomas Color Rush Jersey , or the places that he’s going to go, I’ve seen. So any kind of advice I can lend him, I’m always available to (do) that.”
He also gets to play with Ayton, the 7-foot-1 phenomenon drafted No. 1 overall.
”I think he’s an amazing player,” Ariza said. ”He’s got unbelievable touch. He can get up and down the court. He seems to be a monster on the court. I’m excited to play alongside of him and try and make him better.”
Notes: As for a new contract with Booker, McDonough said the two sides have had productive talks and will continue to talk through the weekend. Booker is expected to get a maximum five-year, $158 million contract that kicks in next year. … the Suns signed all four of their draft picks – Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Elie Okobo and George King. All were expected in the Suns’ Las Vegas Summer League opener Friday night.
BOSTON — Their five-game losing streak over, the Seattle Mariners send seven-game winner Marco Gonzales to the mound against Red Sox ace Chris Sale in the deciding game of a three-game series at Fenway Park Sunday.
The Mariners handed Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez only his second loss in 11 decisions with Saturday night’s 7-2 victory and now ask Gonzales to shake off his last start and butt heads with Sale in the finale.
After allowing just six runs in 38 1/3 innings in his previous six starts, Gonzales yielded six and was reached for three home runs in losing to the New York Yankees in the Bronx Tuesday night.
Sale has struck out 30 in 21 innings over his last three starts but is just 1-1 over that span. His team is just 8-8 in his 16 starts and he is 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 102 innings in 2018.
The skinny left-hander is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 10 games, eight starts, lifetime against the Mariners.
Gonzales will face the Red Sox for the first time. Boston is just 9-9 in games started by lefties this season.
Mike Leake pitched eight shutout innings to avenge last Sunday’s loss to the Red Sox and defeat Boston for the first time in his career. Closer Edwin Diaz, who hadn’t pitched in a week, worked a shaky ninth and allowed two runs, but that couldn’t taint the evening for the visitors http://www.texansauthorizedshops.com/authentic-keke-coutee-jersey , who took a 14-10 loss in the opener Friday.
“Unbelievable and really big for our ballclub for him to step up tonight,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Exactly what we needed for someone to shut it down and steady it.”
Said Leake: “When you have a five-game losing streak, yeah, you want to end it.”
The Red Sox, who remained a game behind the losing New York Yankees atop the American League East, fell to 13-2 in Rodriguez’s 5 starts.
While Mookie Betts (illness) was out of the Boston lineup, both teams were without their shortstops Saturday night.
Seattle’s Jean Segura missed his third straight game with an arm infection, had it drained by a Boston doctor Friday and hopes to play Sunday.
“It was bad,” Segura said before Saturday’s game. “It was hurting me, especially when I was swinging. I couldn’t extend my arm. It doesn’t feel right when you swing and feel pinching, like somebody is trying to grab your bat. As a player, you don’t want that feeling.
“If it feels good, I’ll play. But you can’t play around with an infection. I have to wait til it recovers.”
Boston’s Xander Bogaerts, suffered a sprained left index finger diving into second base Friday night and sat out Saturday. He was due for a game off Saturday, anyway, and the hope and Betts will both play Sunday.
“How’s Xander? He’s day to day http://www.cardinalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mason-cole-jersey ,” manager Alex Cora said. “We’ll see. (We’ll) probably stay away from him tomorrow. We were looking for an off-day, and it just came up now. Hopefully he’ll be ready to play on Sunday.”
After the game, Cora said he hoped both would be ready to play
“They’re going to show up early tomorrow, see where they at,” Cora said. “So, we’ll go from there.”
The Mariners, 3-4 against Boston in the last 10 days, remained three games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.
The current Seattle roster is hitting a combined .200 against Sale.
Nelson Cruz is 8-for-26 (.308) with two homers and four RBIs against Sale, but Mike Zunino is 0-for-7. Kyle Seager is 1-for-16 (.063), Ryon Healy and Guillermo Heredia both 1-for-6 (.167) and Andrew Romine 3-for-14 (.214).
Triston Casas, the Red Sox top pick in the recent draft, took batting practice in the same group of J.D. Martinez before Saturday night’s game.