Will Gilbert Arenas be able to find his inner Agent Zero in Orlando?

Oh boy, a big blockbuster trade before the New Year even hits. What a nice early Christmas present for us basketball fans, making this already very intriguing season that much more interesting.

In case you don’t know exactly how this intricate trade between the Suns, Magic and Wizard breaks down here it is: The Washington Wizards acquired only one player, Rashard Lewis. The Orlando Magic acquired Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark. Phoenix obtained Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat and the Magic’s 1st round pick in 2011.

This trade is an enormous change for all 3 teams, especially the Magic and Suns, and from the initial looks of it I think that it screams win for each franchise involved.

The Washington Wizards have been looking to dump Gilbert Arenas and his fat Albert Haynesworth-Vernon Wells-like contract of $111 million over 6 years. A couple of major injuries, the infamous gun incident, and Arenas not reaching even close to the level of play that he was at the season prior to signing his big contract has made former Agent 0 a very expendable player and one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA.

Moreover, the Wizards drafting John Wall #1 overall this past year has caused a lot of issues for Flip Saunders trying to figure out some way for Arenas and Wall to complement each other.

This trade should be great for the Wizards because it leaves John Wall as the starting point guard with no one breathing down his neck. John Wall has interchanged, partially because of injuries, between starting and the bench, but the departure of Gilbert Arenas gives the Wizards franchise a clear direction to where they want to go and who they want to build around.

Let’s be honest, the Wizards have a long way ago and just being able to get rid of Arenas was a step in the right direction. Not only do they free up the backcourt for John Wall, but they are also giving their franchise player a legitimate weapon in Rashard Lewis.

I’m not saying that Rashard Lewis is going to take this team to a bottom playoff seed or anything. What I am saying is that I think it’s good for the development of Wall to have a legitimate, non-ball dominating player that can theoretically assist in the scoring department and knock down shots from the outside. As I mentioned, the Wizards aren’t going to be winning too many championships in the next couple of years so I don’t think taking back the 3 years and $20 plus million each year left on Rashard Lewis’ contract is much of a concern.

Stan Van Gundy now has some new pieces to work with

For the Orlando Magic, their team looks to have reached its plateau and was in need of a change. Stan Van Gundy always seems under fire, but I guess the other option of change also presented itself. The Magic could quite possibly have added that little extra something that has been lacking since Vince Carter arrived last season. The Magic were not going to win a championship with their current roster and taking this risk should be for the best…right?

I think it was for the best for the Magic that they were able to get rid of Rashard Lewis, as well as Lewis himself, who has been in need of a change of scenery. He is currently averaging the lowest numbers of his career since his sophomore season.

Vince Carter did not play like the dynamic, isolation scorer that he has been in the past and that they hoped he would be. ,You add that to the fact that most of the time he looks like the same disinterested, talent can mask my effort kind of player and it was an easy decision for the Magic to realize he is not the guy to help lead them to the promised land.

This is the type of deal that could make General Manager Otis Smith the smartest man in the NBA or the biggest chump in the NBA.

Starting with the more minor part of this deal, the Magic were able to get Jason Richardson from the Suns who probably fills the loss Mickael Pietrus’, but I also feel he could do as good a job or an even better job than Vince Carter did starting in that 3 spot. Richardson knocks down shots, plays hard defence, is great in transition and maybe most importantly gives 100% effort on a night-to-night basis, something Vince Carter clearly did not.

Just saying his name makes me cringe but Hedo Turkoglu is going back to where it all the magic started (get it?). Turkoglu became an NBA fans household name with his highly overrated clutch play. He signed a big contract with Toronto, sat on his lazy, fat ass and was dealt to Phoenix in the offseason which did not work out as well, which I predicted.

However, if there is a situation that would work out for Turkoglu it is in Orlando. The fans actually like the guy as he is not known for being a lazy, fat ass and it could possibly shift his sorry self out of neutral gear.

Turkoglu is once again in a situation where he is comfortable and knows what is expected of him, which should help him out as he couldn’t carve out his niche in Toronto or Phoenix. Turkoglu is taking more 3’s than 2’s and is shooting a high percentage from beyond the arc, which should be a big help to the Magic as well.

The issues with him though are his lack of effort because he won’t be playing for another contract for a few years and the fact that he is getting a little older could also be contributing to his seemingly declining play.

The last and most important piece of this blockbuster deal for the Magic is taking on Gilbert Arenas. This is a big risk but it also entails big rewards if Arenas can get back to that thrilling, franchise-player level that we saw in Washington that seems like an eternity ago.

For a guy with attitude problems, moving to a contender for the first time in his career might be the jump-start that he needs to rejuvenate himself. The Magic have a very solid team so Gilbert is not going to be forced to carry the Magic and if he can just take some heat off of Dwight Howard this might be a team to be reckoned with in the playoffs.

The Suns also did a hell of a job in getting something out of this deal, at least in my humble opinion.

They were obviously looking to deal Turkoglu as he was no more than a pure 3 point shooter in Phoenix and they were able to get a couple good pieces in return.

Marcin Gortat could be the center that the Phoenix Suns need

The Magic gave up Marcin Gortat, who has been under utilized in Orlando playing behind Dwight Howard. However, Gortat could be a legitimate starting center on a number of teams in the NBA and the Suns are very thin up front. The Suns could now bring Robin Lopez or Gortat off the bench and give some extra punch to the front end of the second unit.

The Suns are also able to replace Jason Richardson with Vince Carter/Mickael Pietrus. Vince Carter is most likely going to be the starter, but honestly I don’t see him being too much help to the Suns. Carter’s play is declining with his age and he can’t be too happy about moving to another franchise on the down slope of things. Although, you never know what Steve Nash can do with players, so we can’t count Carter out completely, and it can’t be any worse than the ridiculously stupid Hedo Turkoglu experiment.

Mickael Pietrus is pretty much just a cheaper, less dynamic player than Jason Richardson, but I think he also could add something to the Suns.

If Vince Carter is able to bring a bit more game than we saw in Orlando, I think this trade makes the Suns a better team as well relative to where they were at the start of the season. They added a good piece on the front end, and even though they lost Jason Richardson, they get back two pieces that each could fill his role.

Oh yeah, nothing wrong with a first round pick either, even if it is going to most likely be a mid-late round choice from Orlando.

I think that no matter the outcome of this trade, each team did the best they could given their respective circumstances.

In a deal filled with disappointment players, each team was able to gain/get rid of pieces that should improve their franchise right now and in the future.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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12 Responses to Win-Win-Win

  1. I’ve heard that J-Rich does not play D, but to be honest I haven’t seen him play all that much so I could be wrong. I have a feeling that Arenas will thrive in Orlando and that a change of scenery will do him some good. Orlando is the team I like most in the east so I would really like to see them go deep into the playoffs. I can’t stand the Heat.

  2. Arenas is still fairly “young” at 29 and J-Rich is a younger, better version of the soon to be 34 yr old Vince Carter. Both J-Rich and Vince have large, expiring contracts. This trade was done early enough that both players could be dealt before the February trade deadline. That means that if Richardson doesn’t fit into the “role” that he’ll play in Orlando, then Otis Smith can deal him for other pieces. Over $14 million in pieces as that is the cap figure for Richardson. Kenyon Martin (expiring contract), Elton Brand, Tayshon Prince (exp contract), Troy Murphy (exp contract), Eddy Curry (just kidding), and Sam Dalembert(exp contract) are all possibilities for the Magic. In fact, sending J-Rich home to Detroit for Prince and Chris Wilcox works with the cap and would give the Magic an interior presence in Wilcox and a proven playoff performer in Prince. The retooling in Orlando isn’t necessarily done yet. But I think that this bold move will pay dividends for the Magic ( They had to do something and Arenas’ upside is substantial.

  3. diego1115 says:

    Great post Chris….I REALLY wish we (the Wizards) could have somehow gotten Gortat in the deal. I really think he could be a great piece to the puzzle for years to come.

    As a Gil fan, Im still saddened but I guess this was the only way the contract could have been traded.

    thanks for checking out my blog too….Im going to add this blog to my short list of blogs I actually read!! LOL

  4. bkatman says:

    Thanks man! Also, as you are saying win-win-win as the headline it really seems to have worked out perfectly for all teams involved. I haven’t seen a deal that has sent so many underachieving and potentially low-level franchise players being switched for the better, it seems a bit of destiny or if this has been the works for a very legitimate amount of time. Looking at all the rosters now post these blockbusters are potentially improved, but will be interesting to see how the chemistry works a couple months into the season already. I am sort of confused how Arenas will figure into the mix in Orlando with Nelson and J-Rich, but I heard a good comparison as Jamal Crawford’s opportunity in Atlanta in terms of getting another chance in turning things around in a new environment. Nash will love having Carter instead of Hedo now and that will be fun too watch as well as Wall having Lewis in the corner to knock-down threes and spread defenses with that young squad.

    I’m somewhat nervous as a Celtics fan and excited for the NBA but, great post man and nice incite, keep it up!

  5. Matt Johnson says:

    Eh, disagree on the enthusiasm for the Magic. I think people are way to quick to talk about ‘plateaus’, and underrate how difficult it is to build a team as good as the Magic have been the past couple years. Will be interested to see what happens though.

    I like the trades for the Wiz and Suns.

  6. jmartin437 says:

    Hey Chris,
    Thanks for the comments on Rotations!
    I’m with you some of the way on this.
    “Old” happens sooner for NBA perimeter players than any other team sport athlete except NFL running back. That’s why I’m skeptical about Lewis’s value to the Wizards other than being the price of getting Arenas out of the locker room. Lewis’s 3pt shooting percentage is down some, (.397 in the Magic’s Finals year to .367 this year but what concerns me more is that the number of shots he takes is way down too, from7 per game to just under 5. In other words, he’s losing confidence in his marksmanship.

    Just like every player, GMs have strengths and weaknesses and Grunfeld’s biggest weakness is trading. He just dumps contracts with little regard for what he’s getting. Look at either Jamison deal Getting him cost a high lottery pick and he was then dumped for next to nothing. I think Lewis will spend two seasons proving that he’s spent then is dealt by a new GM for talent from a team in need of a jumbo expiring contract.

    Hedo is an interesting case too. He was a very efficient and productive player for Sacto, SA, and the first part of his tenure in Orlando. Unfortunately by the time recognition caught up with the quality of his game he had peaked. His play was in decline during Orlando’s Finals year and it has gone into freefall since. He’s a few months shy of 32; I don’t think he has the agility to be a point forward anymore. HOWEVER, the one aspect of his game spiked in Phoenix, his 3 pt shooting a career high 42.3% and it may not be a big fluke, he’s a 38.5% career shooter from way downtown and that part of his game has shown little slippage with time. I think his role in Orlando will be different during his second tour of duty. JJ Reddick may want to rent rather than buy; he could be dealt to a team with a little cap room for some luxury tax relief, if Hedo can be Mr. Spot up Shooter.
    J-Rich is the big part of this deal. Everyone knew that Phoenix was going to move him, so Orlando got in early and even so, it was expensive to get him. But Gortat is expendable with Bass and presumably Orton available to back up Howard.
    I’m not a VC hater. I live in the NYC area and watched Carter play hard for some Nets teams that were going nowhere fast with no one in the stands. I know he tanked in Toronto, but that was a long time ago. I just don’t think his skill set was a good fit for the Orlando offense. I bet he thrives in Phoenix. He’s the oldest player in this discussion yet he’s aged quite well. He was shooting 47% from the field this season.
    Pietrus looks like a great athlete but he has two tangible basketball skills, on ball defense and knocking down threes. If Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry can get him to focus on those skills, then he’ll have a valuable remainder of his career as a less dirty Bruce Bowen.
    Gortat will love Phoenix and vice versa.
    Lastly, even during his peak, I thought Arenas was the kind of star you wanted the *other* team to have. He was a volume shooter, i.e the kind of player who need tons of possessions to get his all star caliber numbers. Now he’s 29 and coming off of three seasons in which he played 13, 2, and 32 games. He might thrive as a sixth man as he’ll often be facing other team’s reserves. All I can say is that as volatile as he is, he still represents an upgrade over Lewis.
    I agree completely that this a win-win-win, but I don’t think there’s as much upside in the deal as you see.


  7. tophatal says:


    This trade isn’t going to improve the Magic all that much because their inherent problems lay with Van Gundy and his coaching philosophy. Never mind the fact that the team simply isn’t and has never been tough either physically or mentally !

    tophatal ……………………..

  8. Rachel says:

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for the comments on my Arenas post. I like your take on the trade too. Hopefully the trade will work out!


  9. Dave says:

    It’s all about Gilbert Arenas. If he can get back to being an All-Star caliber player again, Orlando improves. If he cannot, Orlando is worse off.

    Given how much athleticism / quickness he has lost through those three knee surgeries and how much that has effected his game (turned him into an inefficient scorer) … it’s highly unlikely that Gilbert can get his career back and track, and in turn, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be able to help Orlando.

    In all likelihood, the Magic just shot themselves in the foot.

  10. tophatal says:

    Magic GM Otis Smith must’ve shared the same bong as Miley Cyrus to come up with this bs !

    tophatal …… 😉

  11. Bluechipkid says:

    I like the idea of giving Arenas the chance to play in Orlando. Arenas’ playing career is in limbo because of mediocre plays, injuries, and controversies. This gives him an opportunity to redeem his stature as an All-Star caliber player. Arenas still has the gas and guns to give the Magic an outside threat and open up the team’s plays especially with Dwight Howard’s presence in the middle.

    However, the trade gives Orlando a lot of shooters at the guard position. It’s frontline getting weak with the depart of Rashard Lewis to Washington, Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat to Phoenix . Lewis is too soft at the four spot in Orlando. He is more of a small forward-type player. Carter has lacked his spunk as a explosive player because of injuries.

    What Orlando needs right now are big men to complement and support Howard at the center. Somebody who can play defense and bang bodies against the titans of NBA. I think Orlando is cooking up some magical broth for a trade with a big man. Let us see what will happen in the next few day before All-Star Weekend.


  12. Pingback: Daily Nerd: A score of pretty bad games, discussing the Bobcat’s future, and my NBA Christmas presents « High School Basketball Nerd™

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