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Here are some excerpts from the blog entry:
I have always been a supporter of Gilbert Arenas. As a fan and now as an owner.
I was always hopeful that Gilbert would help our team in its rebuild process.
I have been unabashed in noting that we have to rebuild around our core of young players.We will suffer though a lot of pain but we will be stronger for it. The rebuild will take along time for us to get to where we want to be - an elite team. Building a truly special team has lots of risk.The facts are the facts with Gilbert playing huge minutes for us. We were in basically last place in the East. He has intimated that he would feel more comfortable playing for a contender and not playing as a mentor to young players. He needed a fresh start and I wish him well in this next phase of his career.
And with that, the Wizards are in a full fledged rebuild mode. The last piece of the former group is out of the building, and this team now belongs to John Wall.
Time will tell if Leonsis' approach to rebuilding the Wizards will yield the same results as it did with the Capitals.
Here are some of the highlights (transcribed by our Wizards blog, Bullets Forever):
We think Rashard is going to really be able to help our frontcourt with his experience, his versatility, his ability to stretch the defense. He's a 39 percent career three-point shooter, and when you have a point guard like John who likes to penetrate and is a distributor, you need people who can stretch the D. He can play on the outside, but he can post up when he has smaller players on him. He was a two-time all-star, comes from a great winning environment, and we're really pleased to have him on our ballclub. This fits into our rebuilding and we're rebuilding around our young players and through the draft, but to be able to do that, you also need some veteran leadership and I think Rashard is one of those players who can lead by example along with Kirk and Josh Howard of course.
EG on who might benefit from Arenas going to Orlando.
"It also gives some of our young players an opportunity to play. Nick Young is going to get extended minutes now, he's had an opportunity to play, he's played real well, he's shown that he can take advantage of time he's gotten and now he's going to get even more of an opportunity to show what he can do."
EG on selling this to Ted, while emphasizing that the core foundation will remain young players
You can't have every single player on your team be young. You need to have some veterans, and I think we have a few veterans that have experience and can provide leadership. I think Ted was on board with this, because it goes right in line with what he's doing for the long term.
It seems as though the decision to trade Arenas marks the end of the previous era in Wizards basketball and the rebuilding phase is now in full effect. As Grunfeld said, he could not have every player on the roster be young, so they had to augment that talent with veteran players. That being said, it remains to be seen if Rashard Lewis will provide that veteran leadership that Arenas apparently did not provide.
On the trade:
We're in a total rebuild. We're in a situation where three of our top players play the same position. John, and Gilbert and Kirk...Gilbert's done a lot for this organization. For me he has given me no problems as far as coaching. Where we figure where we want to be in two or three years, he is going to be at the end of his career.
On the question of whether it's John Wall's team:
There's no question that anyone is going ask. It's his team. So that come with repsonsibility. The critics or people who thought that Gilbert would maybe hinder his development. That's not going to be brought up anymore. He won't ever have to defer to Gilbert and it will facilitate his learning process.
On whether it could have worked between John and Gilbert:
I thought it could work. I think more than anything else, not just with John but with everyone else. They guys who are playing a lot for us like JaVale, and Booker, and Kevin. We're a couple years away. At that would put Gilbert at the end. We also thought we needed a veteran upfront type payer that we could count on who has been through wars, been to the NBA championships...he has been a go to player. In Orlando he has been asked to be a spot up shooter. I played against him a lot in Minnesota and he had the ability to score in the post. We're going to ask him to go back and do that and become a go to type player.
That's some brutal honesty from Saunders right there. There's no doubt that this team has embraced the complete rebuild of the entire organization. As for Wizards fans, while most of them certainly had an emotional connection to Arenas, they likely can understand why this move had to be made and respect the fact that the team is willing to come out and say what their true intentions are.
The team sent out this press release on it's website:
Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired forward Rashard Lewis from the Orlando Magic in exchange for guard Gilbert Arenas.
“This trade allows us to continue to rebuild around our core group of young players and provides financial flexibility as we move forward,” said Grunfeld. “We’re thrilled to have been able to accomplish those goals while also getting back a two-time All-Star in Rashard Lewis, who brings us versatility, three-point shooting and a veteran presence.”
Lewis, in his 13th season out of Alief Elsik HS in Houston, owns career averages of 16.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in 874 career games (785 starts) for the Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic. A two-time NBA All-Star with career shooting percentages of .455 from the field, .391 from three-point range, and .807 from the free throw line, the seasoned forward is a veteran of 64 career playoff games (with postseason averages of 16.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game) and a visit to the NBA Finals with Orlando in 2009. A 20+ point per game performer from 2004-07, the 31-year-old Lewis has made 1,631 three-point field goals, and comes to Washington just 555 points shy of the 15,000 career points mark.
Arenas departs after spending seven-plus seasons with the Wizards, during which he compiled averages of 25.0 points and 5.7 assists in 357 games. He was initially signed by the Wizards as a restricted free agent on August 8, 2003, and later re-signed as an unrestricted free agent on July 13, 2008.
“When we re-signed Gilbert prior to the 2008-09 season, we envisioned a level of team success that we unfortunately were not able to achieve due to injuries and other factors beyond our control,” said Grunfeld. “We appreciate the contributions that he made to this franchise and this city and wish him the best of luck.”
If you couldn't tell what Ernie Grunfeld meant to say, he essentially said "The Washington Wizards are now in full rebuild, tear-down mode".
As expected, it appears the rest of the 2010-2011 season will not be about wins and losses, but about the development of John Wall, and seeing who on the current roster fits the long term vision of Ernie Grunfeld and owner Ted Leonsis. Sounds like the definition of rebuilding.
Well, it really looks like a done deal now.
Rashard Lewis decided to make the news that he has been traded to Washington official when he posted this on his twitter account:
Lewis has disappointed in his fourth season as a member of the Magic, with 12.1 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game, his lowest totals in Orlando. He was a key contributor to Magic teams that made deep playoff runs in recent seasons, but the size of his contract and declining play led the Magic to make a move.
That being said, the deal to trade Gilbert Arenas to Orlando was not as much about acquiring Lewis as it was about getting rid of the Arenas contract, cleaning up the salary cap, and moving forward with a new face of the franchise in John Wall.
With this trade,it would seem that Wall has been given the keys to the entire organization. He will be counted on to become "the guy" on a nightly basis, without another consistent scoring threat on the team. While he may not be able to propel the Wizards on his own right now, the hope is that he will be able to improve as an NBA player and while doing so, the Wizards will hopefully be able to surround him with quality NBA talent.
After the Wizards drafted John Wall in with the first overal pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, it seemed inevitable that Arenas and the Wizards would have to part ways. The back court did not seem big enough for both Wall and Arenas to co-exist together, given the new direction the franchise wanted to take.
According to an earlier report from Berger, this deal was simply a matter of time:
The motivation is equally strong on the Wizards’ part. Injuries and a young roster built around No. 1 overall pick John Wall -- with Arenas uncomfortably lingering as the team’s former franchise player -- have conspired to produce a 6-18 start. Arenas is said to be eager for a fresh start, and a person familiar with the Wizards’ plans described the parting of Arenas and Wall as "inevitable."
"This is John’s team," the person said.
Well, there you have it.
It looks to be the end of an era for the Wizards, and the rebuilding of the squad looks to be in full swing.
It looks like this Gilbert Arenas trade is actually happening as soon as Saturday. The Magic have reportedly completed a deal with the Phoenix Suns that will set in motion their trade with the Washington Wizards involving Arenas and Rashard Lewis.
Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic confirms that the Suns have agreed to trade Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark to the Magic for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a first-round pick and $3 million cash.
Source confirms reports that the Suns will trade JRich, Hedo & Clark to ORL for Carter, Gortat, Pietrus, '11 1st-rounder & $3M. The Suns-Magic trade is expected to become official this afternoon.
This sets in motion the second deal -- Lewis for Arenas. With Richardson, Turkoglu and Arenas surrounding Dwight Howard, the Magic have orchestrated a major facelift at a time they needed it most.
It's looking more and more like Gilbert Arenas will be involved in a trade to the Orlando Magic very soon. Magic general manager Otis Smith confirmed that discussions have occurred, and now, we're getting more details on which players may be involved.
More and more, it's looking like the plan is for Rashard Lewis, and not Vince Carter, to come back to Washington D.C. ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that the deal will be essentially Arenas for Lewis.
Washington deal with Orlando is close and will be Rashard Lewis for Gilbert Arenas straight up, sources say....no big going from Wiz to Orl
Broussard's report indicates that the Magic are making a second trade with the Phoenix Suns prior to acquiring Arenas, sending Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus and a first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns for Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that trade is a "prelude" to an Arenas trade, and Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post is reporting that Quentin Richardson is involved.
The Magic reportedly have several reservations about the deal, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger.
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.
Still, it looks like this trade is going to get done very soon. As noted earlier, Lewis' contract runs for one year and $18 million less than Arenas', so it's like trading one bad contract for another.
It seems as though speculation about Gilbert Arenas' potential trade is now fact.
In addition, according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post (via Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel), the Orlando GM believes Arenas could be due for a career comeback:
That sounds like someone who is in aggressive talks to get Arenas.
It remains to be seen the exact package of players the Wizards would get in return (right now speculation is that it could include Vince Carter or Rashard Lewis), but regardless, it certainly looks like they are about to part ways with perhaps their best player not named John Wall.
More details are starting to emerge about the rumored Gilbert Arenas trade with the Orlando Magic, and one player has constantly been mentioned: Rashard Lewis. According to multiple reports, the Magic are trying to send Lewis back to the Washington Wizards in a trade for Arenas.
SB Nation's Magic blog Orlando Pinstriped Post was the first to mention Lewis' name being mentioned.
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.
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, who is based in Orlando, also has Lewis as potentially being a part of the deal.
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.
Lewis' presence changes the potential dynamics of the deal. The Magic forward is struggling mightily this season and is a shell of his 2009 All-Star self. He also has two years and nearly $44 million left on his contract after this season, though his final year is only guaranteed for a minimum of $10 million, with the rest based on performance benchmarks. Arenas has three years and $62 million left on his contract after this season, so there isn't a ton of long-term savings. Vince Carter, on the other hand, is in the final year of his contract and is only on the hook for $4 million in 2011/12.
While the exact terms of a potential trade that could send Gilbert Arenas to Florida are not yet entirely clear, a deal seems to be incredibly close.
According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, the trade could be executed shortly.
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's source went on to elaborate about the necessity of the deal.
"The Magic realizes they have to make a move. They have to do something," the source said.
Where there's smoke there's fire. And if enough people are talking about the potential of this trade, it appears very likely to happen very soon.
Arenas has 17.3 points and 5.6 assists so far in 2010 for the Wizards, with many of those points coming off the bench where he started the season. That point total would make Arenas Orlando's second highest scorer, behind only Dwight Howard and his 21.5 points per game.
According to Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post, the Magic trading for Gilbert Arenas could come even sooner than we'd thought.
Heard from a source: "70-80 percent" the Magic make a trade "with major pieces" _tomorrow_. Would not confirm or deny Arenas' involvement.
Dunlap has been all over this story since its infancy, and he reported two weeks ago that talks between the Magic and the Wizards were starting to get serious again. And while Dunlap's source would not confirm if Arenas will be among the players involved in the potential trade that the Magic are looking to execute, the SB Nation writer reported previously that "If Orlando is to make a major trade this season, Arenas will likely be the target."
The Magic play a home game against the Philadelphia 76ers tomorrow night, but this is a much bigger story, and it may be the biggest trade of the NBA this season.
The Gilbert Arenas era in Washington may soon be over.
We've been hearing for months that the Orlando Magic are interested in the Wizards' guard and former leader, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is now reporting that talks between the two teams have grown even more serious.
Arenas has privately told people for days that he believes a deal will soon send him to Orlando, where he’ll be reunited with Magic general manager Otis Smith, a friend and mentor from Arenas’ days with the Golden State Warriors. Sources said Orlando has escalated its pursuit of a deal in recent days.
Arenas has four years remaining on his large contract with Washington and the Wizards seem very interested in ridding themselves of that commitment so the team can continue rebuilding around John Wall. Wojnarowski is reporting that Vince Carter, whose contract expires after this season, could be involved in the deal, or the Magic could force the Wizards to take on longer-term contracts like that of Marcin Gortat. The Wizards are also hoping to receive a first round pick as part of the trade.
SB Nation's Magic blog Orlando Pinstriped Post reported two weeks ago that Orlando was initiating these trade talks, and a deal now seems imminent.
You'd expect a team official to deny a trade rumor like the one involving Gilbert Arenas, so this may not be news to you. Nevertheless, it's worth noting that Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said earlier today that there is no truth to the report that the Magic and Wizards are discussing a deal to send Arenas to Orlando.
Leonsis wrote in an e-mail, "It isn't true. I wouldn't tell you if it was true but I am telling you that it is not true."
Leonsis went on to say that he "really likes and respects" Arenas and that Arenas is both one of the "leaders" of the team and the "best player" on the team. Lee also quotes a league source that says the two teams talked about an Arenas for Vince Carter swap over the summer, and while talks were "never totally dead," the Magic feel Arenas' contract is too big for them to take on right now.
Right now, Orlando feels like Gilbert's contract is a little too huge for them. It hasn't been completely ruled out. But it's a little too rich.
As usual, this does not mean trade discussions never took place. It's likely that the two sides are indeed engaging in an ongoing dialogue, but that's not the same thing as saying a trade is anywhere close to imminent.
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.
Ever since the gun incident and the nearly season long suspension, it has felt like Gilbert Arenas' time in Washington has been numbered. He has a lot of years left on his current contract, so a trade would be the only way to get him off the Wizards. Vince Carter isn't the type of player he used to be, but his real value is that his contract is much shorter than that of Arenas. Here's Orlando Pinstriped Post with more.
Carter has a partially guaranteed deal for the 2011/12 season. If he is not waived before June 30, 2011, Carter's salary of $18.3 million becomes fully guaranteed; if he is waived by the above date, he pockets $4 million and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The $4 million figure will stay on his team's cap for that year.
So it's not technically an expiring contract, but it's a lot better than what Arenas still has on the books. We'll update this StoryStream with any news on the rumors as they become available.
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