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. 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.
Still unclear was whether Orlando would send the expiring contract of Vince Carter(notes) as part of the package or build a trade around longer-term contracts, including that of backup center Marcin Gortat(notes), sources said. The Wizards also have been angling to get a first-round pick in return, sources said.
Two league sources said the Magic also have been discussing a separate deal independent of the Wizards to create future payroll flexibility to absorb Arenas' contract.
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, Arenas became further expendable after Washington drafted No. 1 overall pick John Wall(notes).
The Magic have discussed Gortat with other teams, sources said. Several teams, including Houston and Portland, have inquired about the 7-footer’s availability. If the Magic are going to take on the remainder of Arenas’ contract, it could be important for them to trim some other deals to spare their luxury-tax hit with what’s already a league-high $94.7 million payroll.
Orlando has had discussions on several fronts, sources said. Phoenix has been making calls to shop forward Hedo Turkoglu(notes) and had a conversation with Orlando about the former Magic forward. Turkoglu is in the second season of a five-year, $53 million contract. The Toronto Raptors traded him to the Suns over the summer, but Phoenix is already looking for ways to get off the remaining four years, and $44 million on his deal, sources said.