Maybe a long lockout could benefit Arenas’ recovery if he truly dedicates himself.
Then there is the matter of Gil being able to mentally adjust to his role. Arenas believes he is still a starter, and can recite his stats without prompting.
This was (and is) a big issue between he and Van Gundy. Arenas stayed diplomatic and avoided making it a full-blown controversy, largely out of his respect for Smith, who rescued him.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com said the league’s recent proposal “called for the ability for each team to shed one contract outright before next season through a one-time amnesty provision that wipes that contract off a team’s books — even though the player must still be paid — reminiscent of a similar provision in the summer of 2005.”
This, of course, is music to the ears of Magic fans desperate to get Gilbert Arenas’ behemoth contract off the books. Would Otis Smith ditch Arenas — someone he shares a close relationship with — to lessen the Magic’s future payroll? It’d take a small amount of pride swallowing, but it’d be difficult for Smith to keep Arenas around if the amnesty clause is in option.
Important to note: In 2005, a team was not allowed to re-sign a player it used the amnesty clause on. So if Smith chose to waive Arenas, he would be ending their professional relationship in Orlando.
No one knows how the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations between the NBA and the players’ union will end. But a recent league proposal reportedly included a so-called “amnesty” clause. The provision would allow teams to waive one player, and while that player would still be paid in full, his salary would not be counted as part of the team’s salary-cap total.
Hypothetically, an amnesty clause would allow the Magic to free themselves of Arenas’ contract. Perhaps then — and only then — the team might have a remote chance to jettison enough deals and acquire enough expiring contracts through trades to fall far enough under the cap to make a run at Paul or Williams.
But, for whatever reason–lack of experience? Bad matchup? A fluke?–neither did anything of note in the playoffs. Anderson shot 26.7 percent from the field–including 2-of-10 on two-pointers–while Bass shot a miserable 42.1 percent overall. Their rebounding dipped as well. Given that both players are offensively minded, it’s tough to keep them on the floor when their shots won’t drop. In the absence of any alternatives apart from the raw, untested Earl Clark, coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t have much of a choice: he had to play his two youngsters, watching as Al Horford and Josh Smith worked them over time and again.
Clark has expressed an interest in returning to the Magic, and team officials probably would like to see him return — at the right price, that is. Given his relatively little playing time during his first two seasons in the league, Clark might not command more than a minimum-salary deal. If that indeed is the case, then he could return to the Magic for the 2011-12 season.
Savage: Did you get the chance to watch the Magic in the playoffs and if so, what was your take?
Gortat: I can tell you that Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass are outstanding power forwards, but they will never be a center. (Laughs) That’s the thing that I’ve seen. I just feel bad that Orlando lost in the first round. I think the city and the fans deserve a team with a better result. But they were missing some pieces, they had some problems hitting some shots and Atlanta was playing really well. They played outstanding. It was just a bad moment for Orlando.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).