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Boxer Andre Berto suggests Trevor Ariza may have regretted leaving the Lakers

July 14, 2010 |  9:41 am


Over dinner a few weeks ago, boxer Andre Berto met up with former Laker Trevor Ariza to catch up. But one of the topics Berto made sure not to broach involved the Lakers' 2010 championship and whether Ariza ultimately regretted going to Houston.

"We didn't want to touch all that," Berto said in a brief interview before hosting Knockout Comedy Night on Tuesday at L.A. Live's Conga Room, an event that raised money for Haitian relief efforts. "We were just hanging out."

Still, Berto, a Lakers fan who said he's known Ariza well for a "few years now," sensed that Ariza missed his old stomping grounds.

"He's handling it," Berto said when I asked him if he had a sense on how Ariza felt about going to Houston and missing out on a second championship ring. "I don't know if he felt it was his best decision, but he's handling the situation."

I had hoped to get Ariza's take since he was a confirmed guest and planned to host the event with Berto, but he was a no-show. I had also hoped to clarify conflicting reports since his departure on what actually spurred the movement -- whether the Lakers' acquisition of Ron Artest essentially forced Ariza out or whether the Lakers had acted knowing that Ariza would sign with Houston. Nonetheless, The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner reported at the time that Ariza agreed to a five-year, $33-million deal with Houston after the Lakers came to terms with Artest. Ariza told The Times then that he was "happy with my decision," but that was before many events transpired.

There were the endless comparisons between Artest and Ariza, his argument via Twitter with Artest's brother, Daniel, and missing out on a championship ring. Even if Berto doesn't have a true gauge on how Ariza's felt about everything, it's at least telling he felt sensitive enough not to broach the subject.

-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Boxer Andre Berto suggested Trevor Ariza may have regretted leaving the Lakers. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.