Unlike in Washington, where the prospect of cutting ties with Rashard Lewis comes with huge salary-cap benefits, Orlando can’t create any significant cap room by exiling Arenas. So why would the Magic pay off the $62.4 million left on Arenas’ contract through 2013-14 when there’s little immediate financial benefit to them?
Here’s why: Amnesty 2011 gives Magic GM Otis Smith an opportunity to undo a gamble on his good buddy Gil that backfired spectacularly and take at least some of the considerable tension out of the air after the toxic end to last season in that first-round exit to Atlanta … at a time when the weight of Dwight Howard’s 2012 free agency happens to hang over all of Central Florida. The Magic, remember, have a deep-pocketed financier in Rich DeVos that would be on the short list of NBA owners who could withstand the huge financial hit required to send Arenas away. So it’s going to happen. It’s just of matter of when.
Zach McCann touches on the Arenas situation:
Now, writes Stein, many owners are pushing “to allow teams to have at least two years to decide whether or not to amnesty one player, with multiple sources telling ESPN.com this week that they believe the concept — with restrictions that are still being haggled over — has indeed won sufficient support to be included in the new labor deal.”
The added flexibility could give Arenas an outside chance to prove himself.
If Magic GM Otis Smith and CEO Bob Vander Weide were forced to make an instant decision on Arenas after the lockout, they’d be taking a huge risk — both basketball-wise and PR-wise — by not terminating the salary cap restrictions of Arenas and the $62 million owed to him.
Vince Carter, Steve Francis, Jason Richardson, Matt Barnes and Trevor Ariza have been issued invitations to participate in Dwight Howard’s benefit game Nov. 13 between Magic players past and present at UCF Arena, along with rapper Li’l Wayne.
Also, Magic forwards Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass, center Malik Allen, rookies DeAndre Liggins and Justin Harper have been invited to play as has former Magic forward Earl Clark.
One thing Bass probably does not need to improve too much on is his offense. It would not hurt though. And I am sure Stan Van Gundy would love to see Bass be able to step out and hit the occasional three.
That might be completely wishful thinking. But Bass is working to extend his range for the upcoming season among other things, as Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel reports. Not only that, he is working on his ball handling and passing with Jameer Nelson so he can cut down on his 11.5 percent turnover rate.
Going through this work stoppage makes you appreciate the arrival of the Magic even more and the impact the NBA has had on the community. It felt pure, yet to be poisoned by labor strife.
Sports fans had waited forever for the major leagues to arrive in Orlando, enduring years of fly-by-night football franchises (remember the USFL?), club boxing and minor-league baseball.
They unleashed their pent-up enthusiasm during the Magic’s debut 22 years ago this month, giving a preseason game an electric playoff atmosphere.
“It was a great situation to be in,” Corzine said. “The reaction from the fans….It was like going back to college after being in the NBA 10 years. It was unbelievable.”
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).
Topics: Amnesty Clause, Brandon Bass, Denadre Liggins, Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, Justin Harper, Malik Allen, Matt Barnes, Nba Lockout, Orlando Magic, Ryan Anderson, Steve Francis, Trevor Ariza, Ucf Arena, Vince Carter