The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to continue to strengthen their team going into the latter stages of the campaign and are said to want Phoenix Suns forward Trevor Ariza.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the two teams have been working to reach an agreement that would take on Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as part of a potentially larger deal.

The Suns, who are having a dismal season, having gone 4-22 thus far, are keen to acquire a playmaking guard and a draft asset before they offload Ariza. Both the teams are said to have made progress with third-team talks, but the report claimed they were not close to an agreement, with both the Lakers and the Suns also exploring other trade options.

Ariza was signed by the Suns as a free agent in the summer, which means any trade would have to wait until the Dec. 15 deadline when the forward becomes eligible for a trade. The 33-year-old veteran played a key role for the Houston Rockets last season, and has played two seasons for the Lakers previously too, but that was almost a decade ago.

Caldwell-Pope signed on for a one-year $12 million deal this summer and was said to have veto power on any potential trade, but the NBA Insider claimed the Lakers could persuade him to accept the deal owing to good relations with his agent Rich Paul, who also manages their number one star LeBron James.

Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza (center) could join the Los Angeles Lakers once he becomes eligible for a trade Dec. 15. In this picture, Warren #12, Ariza #3 and Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the Boston Celtics at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 8, 2018. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Lakers have been exploring multiple trade options during the ongoing campaign as they look to get back to playing consistently in the post-season and then hopefully challenging the supremacy of the Golden State Warriors. They have not made the playoffs for five consecutive campaigns, but are on course at the moment, with James leading the charge.

The second-most successful franchise in the NBA have also looked at trade options for Washington Wizards duo John Wall and Bradley Beal. However, any trade for the duo would likely require the Lakers to give up one of their talented young prospects like Brandon Ingram or Lonzo Ball as part of the deal.

They have also been heavily linked with a move for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, with reports stating they were willing to put forward a three-player package to complete the trade for Davis, who is probably NBA’s most sought-after player at present. However, of all the potential trade deals in the pipeline, the Davis deal was the most unlikely to happen before summer of 2019.

Another benefit of signing Ariza from the Suns would be that the forward will again be out of contract in 2019, which means the Lakers’ cap space to sign a big free agent next summer will be unaffected. The likes of Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard will be available as unrestricted free agents in 2019.​