Trevor Ariza sat fidgeting before the media Tuesday, his hands on his lap beneath a table twisting, his feet moving rapidly, his eyes darting when the first question lobbed at him was about his future with the Lakers.
Ariza said he had just met with Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and General Manager Mitch Kupchak for his exit interview, the conversation about his effort that helped the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic to win the NBA championship and about his upcoming free-agent status.
Ariza made $3.1 million this season and is looking at getting a big pay raise this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
As he sat, with a fresh haircut, Ariza was asked if he was coming back to play for the Lakers next season.
"I would love to," Ariza said, smiling. "I would hope so. I feel like I'm at home here, because I am at home. But I would definitely love to come back."
The Lakers can pay Ariza the most of any NBA team and can give him the longest contract, up to six years.
Ariza already has piqued the interest of the Detroit Pistons, who are below the salary cap and will look at signing Ariza if they trade small forward Tayshaun Prince, according to two NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.
Ariza said he was aware of the rumor involving the Pistons.
"Wherever I can help a team or if I feel like I'm loved or wanted, I wouldn't mind [playing there]," Ariza said. "Definitely stability will mean the most. Money is important. This is our job here. I've built a bond with my coaches and my teammates. We have a really good team and I think that we could be really good for a long time."
Ariza, who turns 24 this month, attended Westchester High and UCLA and was a big part of the Lakers' success this season. He started 20 games at small forward and played in all 82 in the regular season.
His play improved in the playoffs, averaging 11.3 points and 4.2 rebounds, and he shot 47.6% from three-point range over 23 postseason games.
"It's up to Mitch and Jerry Buss because they write the checks," Ariza's agent, David Lee, said Tuesday.
"It's up to them to determine his value. They know what the market will bear. I think he proved his worth in this [playoff] series, and he's only 24."
Ariza was asked if he got the sense that Jackson and Kupchak wanted him back.
"Yeah, I definitely felt love," Ariza said. "I felt a lot of love."
A lot of talk in basketball circles has involved whether or not the Lakers could keep both Ariza and forward Lamar Odom, who also will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Odom was on the Lakers' books for $14.1 million this season.
"I got a sense that they'd like us both," Ariza said.
Teams can begin negotiating with free agents July 1.
Ariza hopes he can get his deal done quickly.
"But it should be a fun time for me and my family," Ariza said. "I'm just going to enjoy it a little bit.
"Hopefully it doesn't get too out of hand."
The Lakers' Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar and Sun Yue also had their exit interviews Tuesday.
Fisher said he talked about the future with Jackson and got the impression that Jackson will be the Lakers' coach next season.
"I didn't get the feeling leaving [my interview] that he wasn't going to be my coach next season," Fisher said. "But as you guys know and as well as I've learned, just because that's the card he's showing you doesn't necessarily mean that that's the one that he's going to play."