Through the end of the 2014 season, the Orlando Magic were scheduled to pay Gilbert Arenas $62 million dollars for the version of basketball he currently plays. He’ll still get just about all of that from the Magic most likely, but it won’t be for playing. In a partnership that didn’t really seem like it would work right up until it never did, the Orlando Magic have parted ways with Gilbert Arenas by way of the Amnesty Clause.
This according to an Orlando Sentinel report late Friday afternoon:
The Orlando Magic have announced that they have waived guard Gilbert Arenas and designated him as the franchise’s amnesty player.
Using the amnesty clause means that Arenas’ remaining salary will come of off the team’s salary-cap and luxury-tax totals immediately.
Arenas, a close friend of General Manager Otis Smith’s, was a major disappointment. Although he showed some flashes of the old form that made him a dangerous scorer, Arenas’ left leg caused him significant problems and took away from his jumping ability and his quickness.
Arenas also complained how Coach Stan Van Gundy was using him and embarrassed the franchise when he went onto Twitter and made jokes that some people found offensive.
The Magic acquired Gilbert Arenas in a trade with Washington for Rashard Lewis last season, and if that deal never went down it could very well be Lewis the Magic would be using their Amnesty Clause on today. Instead it’s Arenas. Unlike Lewis though, who could still help a team in various capacities I believe, this might be the end of the road for Gilbert. Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of a team or situation where Gilbert could fit.
From a basketball standpoint, specifically considering his ability to still shoot the basketball, you would think he could be a valuable piece off the bench. Even with the banged up left leg. Come in for 10 to 15 minutes a night, knock down a couple jumpers, eat up some back-up minutes at both the Point and Shooting Guard positions, and play a few more seasons on a minimal contract somewhere that way. But it’s never been basketball specifically that’s been the issue for Gilbert.
When the phrases “complained about the coach” and “embarrassed the franchise” are included in the report announcing your departure from a given team, that’s not really good. Especially if you were only they’re for one season, and especially after coming off the whole gun thing that went down up in Washington too.
I don’t dislike Gilbert, but he’s come a long way from that fun-loving Agent Zero persona he used to carry along with the free-wheeling game that he played. For a season or two, he was a top-15 player in the NBA way back before it all started going wrong for him. But it has gone wrong, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea for anybody to bring him in at this point either. He won’t sell tickets for a bad team, he could prove too toxic for a team chasing a title, and there is no way he’s part of any rebuilding effort.
It really shouldn’t be the end for him, but it just might be. I would say it’s sad to see him go out like this, only there isn’t too much sad about making $62 million dollars to stay at home. This is a move Orlando had to make, and shouldn’t surprise anybody.