Wednesday December 1, 2010 12:29 p.m.
By Frank Hanrahan
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There is no question in my mind that for all parties involved it would be best for Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas to get a fresh start somewhere else in the league and perhaps that is starting to take shape as a report out of Orlando has the Magic interested in dealing for the former all star guard.
Now this rumor has been out there since last summer but it could be heating up again because Arenas is doing just that on the court, actually showing some signs that he can shoot the ball with the best in the league after being inactive for most of last season for the gun suspension. Arenas is now averaging a team high 18.1 points a game and went off for 31 against you guessed it, Orlando last Saturday night.
Arenas is owed a bundle of money, roughly 80 million dollars over the final 4 years of his contract, so if there is a team like Orlando willing to take that salary off the Wizards hands, you got to make the move ASAP if you are the Wizards brass. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said earlier in the season that Arenas wasn't going anywhere probably because he thought it just wasn't possible to deal a player who looked a shell of his old self and was sorely overpaid. Now that Arenas is creeping out and showing flashes of the old "Hibachi", I'm sure Leonsis will change his mind in a hurry or GM Ernie Grunfeld will lobby Leonsis hard to get the OK to finally move Arenas.
The common thinking is that Orlando would ship swing man Vince Carter and his soon to be expiring deal to D.C. for Arenas. The other reason the deal might happen is because of the well documented relationship between Orlando GM Otis Smith and Arenas. They have a friendship that dates back to Golden State when Smith was in the front office there and Arenas was just starting his NBA career with the Warriors.
If and it is a big if the trade actually happens, it would clear up a boatload of space under the salary cap for the Wizards who have dubbed this a rebuilding season. Carter would be gone after the year and the rebuild would really officially start to take shape led by guard John Wall. With Arenas off the books, the Wizards could actually go shopping in the free-agency market.
I think the rebuild has to be done without Arenas, and if this trade actually goes down and Agent 9 is shipped to Orlando, it would be quite a coup for the Wizards and somewhat for Arenas who is slowly starting to rebuild his image as well.