Orlando Magic are officially done paying Gilbert Arenas
The Orlando Magic desperately acquired Gilbert Arenas in 2011 to keep their title window open. Instead it was a mistake that cost them, until Monday.
Monday marked the last check the Magic issued to the mercurial point guard they acquired in December 2010 in a desperate attempt to remain championship relevant in a series of moves that completely backfired.
Arenas signed a six-year, $111-million contract in 2008. Almost immediately things went wrong for the former All-Star guard. He suffered knee injuries in his first two years of the contract, sapping away much of the scoring ability that turned him into one of the most feared guards in the league.
Then came the gun incident with Javaris Crittenton. The Wizards were done with their former All Star. They unloaded him to Orlando for Rashard Lewis — an exchange of high-priced former All Stars dealing with knee injuries.
It seemed like a move to placate Dwight Howard some. Howard had long asked for another All Star scorer to pair with, especially as the Magic struggled in the 2011 season. Things with Vince Carter were not working. Orlando made the Arenas swap on the same day the team traded Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark.
This move would become the beginning of the end of the Magic’s championship window. And perhaps the final nail in the coffin for Howard’s eventual departure.
To fans, Arenas was a symbol of this failure.
He was not the same superstar player he was in Washington, never finding his fit in Stan Van Gundy’s stricter system for point guards and still clearly slowed by his knee injury.
In Arenas’ lone season with Orlando, he averaged 8.0 points per game on a 40.6 percent effective field goal percentage. Arenas showed flashes of brilliance. Most notably in a a come-from-behind victory over the Miami Heat in Miami. But even then, he scored only 11 points on 3-for-7 shooting.
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Arenas had a 20-point game in the Magic’s Playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks, but the moments of brilliance were few and far between.
He earned $17.7 million in his lone season playing with the Magic. And he had two years remaining on his contract.
With the lockout ending before the 2012 season, teams got the chance to use a one-time amnesty clause. Orlando used it to clear Arenas’ salary off their books. Despite Arenas palling around with Howard throughout the lockout, the Magic waived Arenas and the remaining two years, $40 million on his contract.
As part of the agreement, the Magic and Arenas agreed to stretch out his payments on that contract. Despite cutting him in December 2011, the Magic were still sending checks to Arenas throughout the last five years.
Those payments stopped Monday.
Arenas played just one more season, struggling to regain his footing in the league. He was out of the league shortly thereafter. The fun-loving Arenas has gotten himself into trouble both on social media and in the courts since then. The consequences of his gun charge in Washington still linger.
The Magic had long moved on. The damage to a franchise from that poor trade already done.
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