When the Washington Wizards went their separate ways for the all-star break last month, Trevor Ariza didn’t join his teammates on the flight to Dulles International Airport, opting to catch his own flight from Detroit to Los Angeles to spend some time with his family and friends back home. Ariza joked about returning to a much warmer climate, if even for a few days.

“I need that in my life right now,” he said, flashing a huge smile.

A week later at the trade deadline, the Wizards almost sent Ariza back to Los Angeles on a more permanent basis, coming close to a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers for Caron Butler, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. NBA.com reported that Clippers owner Donald Sterling rejected the deal for fear of breaking up the chemistry of a team that has the third-best record in the Western Conference.

Asked on Saturday if he was upset about being unable to join a contender, have a reunion with former New Orleans Hornets teammate Chris Paul and return to the place where he grew up and won a title with the Lakers in 2009, Ariza offered a shrug.