The Orlando Magic have completed a pair of blockbuster trades that will send them Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas(notes) and Hedo Turkoglu(notes) and Jason Richardson(notes) from the Phoenix Suns.
As a prelude to the trade for Arenas, the Magic sent guards Vince Carter(notes) and Mickael Pietrus(notes), backup center Marcin Gortat(notes), a 2011 first-round pick and $3 million to the Phoenix Suns for Turkoglu, Richardson and Earl Clark.
The Magic's pursuit of Arenas escalated in recent days, and Yahoo! Sports reported Friday the teams were nearing a deal.
Arenas had privately told people for days that he believed 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. After losing five of their past six games, the Magic have shown more urgency to find a perimeter scorer who can help them stay a viable contender in the Eastern Conference.
Arenas has four years and $60 million left on his Wizards deal. Following his 50-game suspension for bringing guns into the Wizards locker room last season – and incident that happened nearly a year to the day ago – Arenas became further expendable after Washington drafted No. 1 overall pick John Wall(notes).
Lewis has three years and $66.5 million left on his contract, though the final season isn't fully guaranteed.
Smith told reporters in Orlando Saturday morning that he was more concerned with Arenas' expensive contract than the guard's off-the-court problems. Arenas also has had multiple knee problems that limited him to just 15 games from 2007-09.
“The length of his contract and health probably have been more of my concerns,” Smith said. “With the length of his contract, you’re always concerned about taking on more, of course. That’s always been one of my concerns. I know a little bit more detail about Gilbert off the court and who he is as a person.
“He’s probably similar to the guys we have in the locker room right now. I would say that sometimes good people make dumb decisions, and he’s one of those guys.”
Smith was determined to change the Magic's roster after the team went 1-3 on a recent trip to the West Coast.
“The West Coast trip, to me, was going to decide whether or not we’re going to either fix our woes or continue down the same path," he said. "I don’t think we’ve played particularly well leading up to the West Coast trip. So, we were on the West Coast trip and some of our woes continued, so you start to explore opportunities that are out there.”
In an interview with Y! Sports' Marc Spears earlier this month, Arenas sounded like he was looking forward to a change of scenery when he discussed his struggles to move beyond last season's troubles.
“In this league there is no such thing as long-term anymore,” Arenas said. “Players are getting shipped out and shipped out. I’m looking at the Kings like, when I first came [into the league], none of those players were here. The Lakers team, the only person that was there was Kobe [Bryant], and Derek Fisher came back.
“There is a young team here [in Washington] and they’re trying to build some chemistry. I guess until they find the right deal that’s going to get me out of here, you know … I’m here.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.