Last season shortly after being traded to the Orlando Magic, Gilbert Arenas reflected on his time and trouble in Washington.
” Maybe I wasn’t worth the contract. Hey, I don’t think anyone’s worth $100 million if Michael Jordan wasn’t, but hey, that’s what Abe Pollin thought I was worth, and if someone put $100 million in front of you, you’re gonna take it, too…”
Arenas to his credit was just being honest but it is/was contracts like his that had owners up in arms and willing to invoke the lockout for the entire 2011-2012 NBA season.
Now with a new CBA on the verge of becoming official, the NBA has invoked the much talked about”amnesty clause” which would allow teams full salary cap relief on one player’s contract. Everybody is making their list and checking it twice as they await the final details of the new CBA and how to properly use this one time clause. Who knew that months later Arenas’s statement made in earnest could come back to provide real perspective on his future in Orlando?
Arenas is owed $63 million over the next three years and with Dwight Howard’s future in Orlando in doubt, the Magic have to explore every possible option financially and talent wise as they have to put their money where their mouth is to retain Howard.
If Orlando were to amnesty Arenas it is likely he would receive somewhere around the mid level exception from a new team making Orlando’s total bill around $49-56 million over the next three years (cap free of course).
Would it be worth it? Well it seems Dwight Howard has taken a liking to the man formerly known as “Agent 0″. Howard was one of Gilbert’s most vocal supporters during the playoffs and said after the season that he didn’t feel the coaches used Arenas right.
Whatever that means.
Their relationship has blossomed over the summer into somewhat of a “bromance”. Tweeting at each other and being seen planking around Orlando when the lockout first began. It seemed as if they were looking for ways to entertain themselves and it made some Magic fans very nervous seeing their superstar extra chummy with enigmatic Arenas. Howard also invited Arenas to play in his charity game on November 13 that featured Magic players both past and current. Gilbert looked more trim and seems to be in fairly good shape which is more than can be said for a lot of NBA players right now.
The NBA is business but the Magic brass have to consider what using the amnesty clause on Arenas would say indirectly to Howard. Especially since its clear Howard believes Arenas can still play and positively contribute to the Magic’s success. But it is unclear if Coach Stan Van Gundy will “use Arenas right” or at least in a manner Howard agrees with this season.
On the other hand it is impossible to imagine any scenario where Arenas would be able to convince Howard to stay when the time becomes official for Howard to make his decision.
The choice on whether or not to amnesty Arenas will probably come later in the season around the trade deadline or in the off season when the team knows where Howard will be or won’t be. The cap relief could be huge but with multiple bad contracts on the roster coupled with the uncertainty of Howard and the rest of the 2012 free agent class, Orlando is likely to hold on to their amnesty provision till it can clearly benefit their situation.
When training camp opens on December 9, Howard will deservedly get all the attention but one has to wonder if Arenas is asked about amnesty would he be as honest as he was a few months ago in his own assessment.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com