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Via Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post:
The Orlando Magic have engaged the Washington Wizards in an ongoing trade dialog centered around Wizards shooting guard Gilbert Arenas, Orlando Pinstriped Post has learned. What Orlando would send Washington in return for the three-time All-Star is less clear, but the proposed deal likely includes shooting guard Vince Carter, according to a source. Wizards big man Andray Blatche, Magic forward Rashard Lewis, and Magic center Daniel Orton could also be involved. Both teams have a mutual understanding of what the trade might include, the source says, and it’s unclear what factors are holding up the trade. What is clear around the league, however, is that Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith has his eye on Arenas. If Orlando is to make a major trade this season, Arenas will likely be the target.
CBS Sports’ Ken Berger reported the Magic listened to trade offers regarding Arenas this summer, but rebuffed the Wizards due to concern over the salary remaining on his contract, which runs for three seasons after this one, at a total cost of $62.4 million. In early November, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported “the Magic have cooled on the notion of a Vince Carter-for-Arenas exchange,” citing “NBA front-office sources.” However, the source who spoke to Orlando Pinstriped Post contradicts Stein’s report, saying Orlando has indeed initiated the discussions with Washington of late.
Orlando Pinstriped Post’s report was later refuted by general manager Otis Smith.
Still, it’s a topic worth discussing.
One of the most common criticisms of the Orlando Magic, when determining their chances of winning a championship this season, is that there is no one on the roster that can serve as a go-to scorer on the perimeter. The Los Angeles Lakers have Kobe Bryant, the Miami Heat have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Boston Celtics have Paul Pierce, and the San Antonio Spurs have Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. These are players that have proven themselves when the stakes are at the highest. But what about the Magic?
There’s Jameer Nelson. If there’s anyone on the roster for Orlando that comes closest to being regarded as a go-to scorer (the main knock is his consistency), it’s Nelson. There’s no question that Nelson has been a clutch performer for the Magic not only this year, but in years past. It’s a shame that Nelson played through an injury in the 2009 NBA Finals because it would have been interesting to see how he would have fared against the Lakers, a team he demonized in the regular season that year, with the bright lights on him and fully healthy.
There’s Vince Carter. It’s fair to say that his performance in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics is a major reason why people are skeptical that Carter can be relied upon when the going gets tough.
And that’s it.
Which is why, for better or worse, Gilbert Arenas’ name keeps getting mentioned in trade rumors with Orlando. But is Arenas really the answer?
There’s a possible answer to that question. Problem is, no one will know until the trade deadline comes and goes in February. Until then, everyone is going to try to determine whether or not the Magic need Arenas.