Orlando Magic In Serious Discussions About Acquiring Gilbert Arenas from Wizards


December 18, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Magic president Otis Smith said Saturday that he has had serious talks this week with the Washington Wizards about acquiring Gilbert Arenas.

Smith said he would rate the aggressiveness of the talks at an "eight out of 10" but that "nothing is imminent." He would not talk specifics of the potential deal.

The Magic have plenty of lucrative pieces to package in a trade, notably Vince Carter's expiring contract. There is also Rashard Lewis, who has 2 1/2 years remaining on a $118 million, six-year deal that would line up with Arenas' backloaded contract – which still has about $60 million left.

Arenas was at Washington's morning shootaround but did not speak to reporters.

"Have we had conversations with a number of teams regarding guys on our roster? Of course we have," Smith said. "Do we like losing five of six? Of course not. Yeah, there's conversations with Washington regarding Gilbert Arenas."

The latest round of talks, first reported by Yahoo! Sports, come as no surprise.

Smith has been a close friend and mentor to the troubled guard going back to their days together at Golden State, when Smith was in the front-office and Arenas was a young player. Smith has said in the past that Arenas' troubles, which included a 50-game suspension last season for bringing a gun into the Wizards' locker room and faking an injury to sit out a preseason game this year, are not a concern.

"The length of his contract and health probably have been more of my concerns," Smith said. "With the length of his contract, you're always concerned about taking on more, of course. That's always been one of my concerns. I know a little bit more detail about Gilbert off the court and who he is as a person.

"He's probably similar to the guys we have in the locker room right now. I would say that sometimes good people make dumb decisions, and he's one of those guys."

Arenas, a three-time All Star, has had several knee problems that limited him to 47 games over the previous three seasons. But while playing alongside – and often behind – No. 1 overall pick John Wall this season, Arenas has showed flashes of his old self.

He has averaged 17.3 points and 5.6 assists per game this season, including a season-high 31 points in a loss against the Magic on Nov. 27. The Magic have made strong pushes to acquire Denver's Carmelo Anthony and New Orleans' Chris Paul, but with those talks showing little progress, they might be forced to make another move.

Orlando has lost five of its last six games, including a frustrating 1-3 West Coast trip, falling from first to fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Magic were set to host Philadelphia on Saturday night, and Washington was hosting Miami.

"I circled the West Coast trip on our schedule a long time ago," Smith said. "The West Coast trip, to me, was going to decide whether or not we're going to either fix our woes or continue down the same path. I don't think we've played particularly well leading up to the West Coast trip. So, we were on the West Coast trip and some of our woes continued, so you start to explore opportunities that are out there."

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