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It looks like it may only be a matter of days (hours?) until Gilbert Arenas is with the Orlando Magic. Earlier tonight, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski said the two teams were engaged in "serious discussions" about a trade, confirming a report by Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post two weeks ago. Dunlap said tonight that there's a "70-80 percent chance" the Magic will make a trade "with major pieces" tomorrow.
And now, Michael Lee has spoken to a source that says the trade is "a really strong possibility."
According to the report, discussions have intensified in recent days, but the parameters of the deal are unclear. But a league source said late Friday night, "It's very close. A really strong possibility."
Lee reports that Arenas privately said that a trade to the Magic or Charlotte Bobcats was "in the works" following the Lakers game, and that word spread around the Verizon Center then.
It's still not clear what might come back to the Wizards. Vince Carter, who is in the final year of his contract (or, more accurately, he can be released after the year and the Wizards would only be on the hook for $4 million in 2012), is the obvious choice, but Wojnarowski mentioned something about Marcin Gortat, who is owed $6.3 million this year, $6.8 million in 2012, $7.2 million in 2013 and $7.7 million in 2014. However, more pieces would have to be involved to match Arenas' $17.3 million salary this year.
There's a lot to digest about Arenas' potential departure and whether this thing is as close as it seems, and there's a time for that going forward. Personally, I think that if Arenas is indeed talking about leaving, it's probably affecting his play, and a trade is probably good for most parties assuming no huge contracts are taken back, but that's a viewpoint that could easily change.
SB Nation D.C. is all over this story here.
UPDATE: Chris Mannix of SI tweets this:
Hearing tonight the Wiz aren't interested in just giving Gil away. Much as they would like to unload his salary, they want something back
UPDATE: Ken Berger confirms that the talks are "serious" and that it's either Vince Carter or some combination starting with Marcin Gortat coming back. However, there's this little note at the end that indicates that maybe this isn't imminent yet.
UPDATE: Evan Dunlap of OPP quotes a source who says Rashard Lewis may be involved.
The Orlando Magic's trade discussions with the Washington Wizards regarding point guard Gilbert Arenas may involve the Magic sending more back to Washington than first thought. A source advised Orlando Pinstriped Post that combo forward Rashard Lewis, who owns the league's second-largest salary, is "being discussed" in this potential trade, with shooting guard Vince Carter also headed to the nation's capital.
Trading for Lewis would defeat the whole purpose of moving Arenas, so hopefully this is just posturing on Orlando's part.
UPDATE: Well, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, the trade is done and Rashard Lewis is likely involved.
Sources close to the situation believe that a deal that would bring Gilbert Arenas to Orlando has been completed and an announcement is expected today. Sources close to the Magic had hinted that a deal would be finalized this weekend with a new player making a debut on Monday and Arenas told several people close to him that expected to end up in Orlando.
It is still unknown which player the Wizards would receive and while many think it will be Vince Carter, there is a growing belief that Rashard Lewis will be the Magic player dealt.
Kennedy isn't the most reliable source, so take it for what you will.
UPDATE: Michael Lee says talks are "heating up," but the trade isn't imminent and Arenas will play against the Heat tonight.
UPDATE: Took a couple hours off to play some ball. Here's the latest:
- Magic general manager Otis Smith has confirmed the trade talks, according to the AP's Antonio Gonzalez. He categorized the aggressiveness of the talks as an "eight out of 10," but says nothing is imminent.
- The Wizards do not intent to involve anyone in the trade other than Gilbert Arenas, according to Michael Lee.
- The trade could even be consumated before the game tonight, according to Fanhouse's Tim Potvak.
- The Phoenix Suns are also involved, possibly sending Hedo Turkoglu back to the Magic, according to Ken Berger.
- However, the trade is far from imminent. Berger writes that there's significant resistance in the Magic organization to the trade.
But according to a person familiar with the situation, Smith faces two significant obstacles in bringing Arenas to Orlando. The first is Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who has told friends he is extremely reluctant to add Arenas to the roster. The second, and even more important impediment, is Orlando ownership, which has serious reservations about absorbing Arenas' contract. Arenas has one more year left than Lewis and two more than Carter -- essentially three more with Carter's partial guarantee in 2013-14. Turkoglu's contract could ease some of that pain, as the Turkish star agreed to accept a reduced guarantee in '13-'14 as part of his trade from Toronto to Phoenix.
- And now Chris Broussard of ESPN is reporting that there are two trades at play here: Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat to Phoenix for Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson, and then Lewis to D.C. for Arenas. That doesn't sound too good to me.