Tag:Gilbert Arenas
Posted on: December 23, 2010 11:16 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2010 11:17 pm

Magic blow out Spurs as things click in Orlando

Posted by Royce Young

If we've learned anything this NBA season it's when a collection of talented players come together, it takes some time for them to start playing well  together. We saw it as the Heat went through some growing pains. And we're seeing it again with the revamped Orlando Magic.

Orlando made some risky changes in personnel over the past week and dropped their first two after adding Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson. Not only did they drop the first two, but they struggled scoring the ball and looked generally out of sync. This is after the Magic lost eight of nine with the only win being over the lowly Clippers. In other words, people started panicking. Or at least sweating.

But against the Spurs Thursday night, the machine actually started working together. Things started clicking. The team started gelling.

The Magic rocked the Spurs 123-101 behind 29 points from Dwight Howard, ending San Antonio's 10-game win streak. This is the Spurs team that had started the season 25-3, which equals what the 1995-96 Bulls started. So this wasn't against the Clippers against. This was against a legit title contender.

And Orlando looked darn good doing it. Howard had the 29, but six other players scored in double-figures. Arenas had 14 points, nine rebounds and six rebounds. Turkoglu 11 points and dished out six assists. Jason Richardson chipped in 15. Let me add that up real quick: That's 40 points from the new trio. That's good. The new pieces looked in rhythm and comfortable for the first time since they joined the team.

The Magic had the things working that made them such a dynamic team over the past few seasons. The drive and kick worked to perfection, Howard commanded double-teams in the post and passed out to open shooters and here's the thing - the shooters knocked down the shots. The Magic went 13-25 from 3 and shot nearly 60 percent overall.

Here's the thing though: Maybe folks shouldn't get ahead of themselves over this game. The Spurs were coming off a game the night before against the Nuggets and Gregg Popovich almost seemed content losing the game halfway through the third quarter. And when good teams are playing great like the Spurs are, it's hard to keep that level every night. So before we all start declaring the Magic fixed and ready to contend again, maybe we should step back a second.

Consider this: No Spurs starter played more than 30 minutes with Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan only playing 20 each. The entire fourth quarter was basically a battle of the benches with the Orlando second unit playing well and holding the double-digit lead. San Antonio was fine with losing this game. The Magic though, played like they had something to prove.

There's no denying what we saw from Orlando. They had the scoring, they played tremendous defense and Howard performed perfectly inside working in tandem with Brandon Bass. The question is what happens in a tight game late in the fourth. Can Arenas take over and create shots like he did Thursday? Will Richardson and Turkoglu provide all that extra offense? Will Howard have the room to work like he did in this one? I don't think we have answers to those questions quite yet.

Still though, beating the Spurs by 22 is impressive no matter the circumstance. It's obvious that the Magic are starting to figure themselves out a bit. Amazing what a few actual practices together can do.
Posted on: December 22, 2010 7:05 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2010 7:06 pm

NBA Drive: Orlando's moves and on renting Melo

Posted by Royce Young

On this week's edition of NBA Drive, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger talks about Orlando's big moves, has some news on Carmelo Anthony (of course) and even rants a bit.

On the Magic's move, Berger says that it will take some time for Orlando to integrate in the new pieces, but mentions how this is really a victory for Washington in moving on from Gilbert Arenas' contract.

As for what's happening with Anthony, the Nuggets have placed negotiations on hold for the time being with Carmelo dealing with a death in the family. But Berger also talks in depth about how Dallas has entered in to the Melo talks and is potentially looking to "rent" Anthony.

That means the team wouldn't have to give up as much and would only happen if the Nuggets can't find a suitable deal with the Nets. It's not a likely scenario, but as Berger notes, Mark Cuban isn't afraid of taking risks so he might not be opposed to renting Carmelo for a championship run.

Posted on: December 20, 2010 6:06 pm

Gilbert Arenas will wear No.1 for Penny Hardaway

Gilbert Arenas elects to wear No.1 jersey in honor of Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway. There are some similarities there.
Posted by Matt Moore

Gilbert Arenas has decided to wear No. 1 in Orlando and will debut his new jersey tonight against the Atlanta Hawks. The reason this is notable? Arenas says it's in honor of Penny Hardaway.

Hardaway, arguably the second biggest star in Magic history behind Shaquille O'Neal, played six season for Orlando. He was not only a basketball phenom in his early years, but a cultural one as well, starring in the infamous "Lil' Penny" commercials. A reminder:

Ah, the nineties. When men were Arsenio Hall and women were Annie Lennox. Also, it's hard to believe now that KG and the wee Penny would be friends unless Lil' Penny was screaming obsenities every forty seconds and carving off his own fingers to get psyched up.

Arenas has always wanted to be with the Magic. He actually wanted the Magic to draft him. As he told Magic.com in an introductory interview Monday:

QUESTION: I remember talking with you at the pre-draft camp in 2001 and you really wanted the Magic to draft you, right?

GILBERT ARENAS: "It was because I was a Penny Hardaway fan. It was funny when I played in Los Angeles all of my friends would say, `I hope you get traded to Orlando, your favorite team or some other team. It was funny because as soon as I got traded I thought, ``You’re there! Now pick No. 1. Yeah, that’s No. 1 is what I’m going to wear for Penny Hardaway."
via MAGIC: Denton Chats With Arenas .

So Gil's pretty excited to be with the Magic, and it all gets back to a player who had a sterling eraly career, then suffered injuries and was never the same.

The irony, it is dripping off the keyboard and into my lap.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 10:48 am

Gilbert Arenas says farewell to Washington

Posted by Royce Young

The Gilbert Arenas era in Washington was something. I don't really know the right word to put there, so I'm going with "something." Because that's what it was. Turmoil, then greatness, then turmoil, then controversy, then greatness and then a LOT of turmoil.

But it's all over and despite there being some heavy ups and downs, Arenas wanted to express his thanks to the fans, organization and people that he had dealt with over the past eight years. In a text to CSN Washington, Arenas said farewell:
"I know it didn't end like I would have liked. I had a great time playing in Washington - They made me feel like a rock star while I was there. I wish I could have took them further than the second round.

I wanna thank Mr. and Mrs. Pollin, Ernie, Eddie, every teammate I went to war with on the basketball court. Thanks for believing in me.

I wanna thank Mr. Leonsis for giving me a chance to regain some basketball respect back in me career, and I hope nothing but the best for him and the Wizards. Last but not least I want to thank the great fans of Washington. It was an honor playing for you guys for 8 years.

I hope when it's all said and done, I entertained you when you entered those doors at the MCI/Verizon Center and can forgive me as a man for the mistakes I've made."

The street goes two ways and the Wizards family will miss Arenas too. It's Gilbert Arenas Tribute Day at Bullets Forever, so be sure to read Mike Prada's outstanding post on what Arenas meant to him and Wizard fans everywhere.
Posted on: December 19, 2010 1:46 pm

Video: Gilbert Arenas talks on the trade to Magic

Posted by Royce Young

If the Orlando media learned anything today when they spoke with Gilbert Arenas for the first time as a member of the Magic, it's that media availability is going to be a little more fun than usual now.

Arenas was his usual candid self talking about why he didn't feel like he fit in with the Wizards, how this is a new beginning for him and how he's fine coming off the bench.

"I think it was more of a confidence thing with me in that I knew I wasn't the man there any more," Arenas told reporters. "So I guess I was just docile. But now that Otis says you're going to be a main role and just play and be you, I was like OK. So I came out here working out and I feel good."

As far as how he felt like he was the odd man out, he put in a subtle dig at the Wizards.

"I sensed something when I was coming off the bench and the excuse was they needed scoring off the bench and I was like 'where's the scoring from the starting five'?", he said. "But from there I figured they were probably shipping me out because I was playing well and somebody was going to have an interest in me.

"This is a new beginning for me. This is a true new beginning. Going back and changing my number was a new beginning, this is a real new beginning. New city, new people, new team... I get to start fresh."

One thing that was interesting was that Arenas said he complained to Orlando general manager Otis Smith about "coming to get him." Arenas has spent a lot of time in Orlando and even said he grew up a Magic fan, mainly because of Penny Hardaway. And Arenas is going to wear No. 1 because of that.

Despite there apparently being no more Agent Zero because of the number change, Arenas seemed to be a little of his old self in the first interview.

Posted on: December 18, 2010 6:04 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2010 1:05 am

What do the new Magic rotations look like?

A look at the Orlando Magic after their trade for Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson. Posted by Matt Moore


That got out of hand, fast.

The Orlando Magic completely turned around their rotation today with the addition of Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas (sorry Earl Clark). But on a team with this many options, how are these rotations going to work out? Let's take a look. First, where are they at with each position? There's no way of knowing how SVG will formulate his starting lineup, so they're considered liquid.

Point guard

Starter: Jameer Nelson
Reserves: Gilbert Arenas (combo-guard), Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick (in a pinch, combo-guard), Jason Williams

Nelson has played at a near All-Star level the past three seasons. With Carter off the grid, Nelson could benefit. Arenas can play shooting guard, but in reality, he plays with the ball in his hands. He deferred to John Wall in Washington, but it didn't work well. As a back-up point guard, he's going to dramatically improve the Magic's scoring potential in the bench unit.

Shooting guard

Starter: Jason Richardson/Gilbert Arenas/Quentin Richardson
Reserves: Jason Richardson/Gilbert Arenas/Quentin Richardson, J.J. Redick

Redick may be a trade asset now. J-Rich can play the three, but he's really a shooting guard. Arenas can play the two, but is really a point guard. Quentin Richardson is just a wing. Redick provides great insurance for the two-spot, but that's a pricy policy.

Small forward

Starter: Jason Richardson/Hedo Turkoglu/Quentin Richardson
Reserves: Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu

Hedo can play the four, but he'll likely spend some time at small forward. Quentin Richardson may actually wind up the starter here with J-Rich at the shooting guard and Brandon Bass or Turkoglu at the four. The Magic are pretty short at the three after this move, with Pietrus gone.

Power forward

Starter: Brandon Bass/Hedo Turkoglu
Reserves: Brandon Bass/Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson, Malik Allen

Anderson hasn't been as good as he needed to be this season to make a leap, while Bass has been better than expected. It's hard to see Turkoglu taking Bass' place, but given his familarity with the offense, it's conceivable. Meanwhile, Malik Allen has another duty....


Starter: Dwight Howard
Reserves: Malik Allen, Daniel Orton

That's it. That's all they've got to back up Howard. Which means when Howard sits or gets in foul trouble, the Magic will have to go small. This could wind up as a good thing in the end.


Nelson - Richardson - Richardson - Bass - Howard

If we're talking the actual best players available, this has to be it. Quentin Richardson is no star, but he doesn't have to be with the firepower the Magic now pack. It's a more traditional lineup with Bass at power forward, but with Nelson as the primary creator and Richardson geared as the finishing point, it could work.

A reserve unit could look like this:

Arenas - Redick - Turkoglu - Anderson - Bass

It's a strange big-small combo with Turkoglu at the three, but it could work with Arenas as the primary creator and shooters stocking the floor. Unfortunately, they'll get rebounded into oblivion.

Another starting unit option for SVG:

Nelson - Arenas - J. Richardson - Turkoglu - Howard

Arenas as a shooting guard is problematic, but it may be a dual combo-guard set up with Nelson and Arenas both working with the ball. I've never been sold on Turkoglu as a power forward, but he did play minutes in Orlando before. This lineup likely has the best scoring potential, and has Turkoglu as the fourth scoring option. Which is probably for the best.

The lesson here is that SVG has the same depth he had before, but now his frontcourt gets considerably smaller and more shallow. To put it simply: Howard has to stay out of foul trouble.

If Arenas can create and score to his potential and if Turkoglu regains his magic (sorry for the pun) under Van Gundy, Orlando could take a step forward -- that is, back to elite status in the East. Does that make the Magic better than Boston or Miami?

That's a whole other question.
Posted on: December 18, 2010 4:15 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2010 4:16 pm

Arenas traded to Magic; what's this mean for him?

Posted by Royce Young

Most people kind of forget that Gilbert Arenas actually began his career with the Golden State Warriors in 2001 and spent two seasons there.

But that's because over the past eight years, he's been completely synonymous with the Washington Wizards.  He was their star, their big money player, their draw and their man. He was all of that for seven-plus seasons, but with reports having him headed to Orlando, the torch has been passed to John Wall.

The relationship between Wizard fans and Arenas for those seven years was a bit of up-and-down, with a lot of down last season. People aren't necessarily going to remember him for the 30-foot bombs or the 2005-06 season when he averaged nearly 30 points a game and led the Wizards to the postseason. They're going to remember him for what happened on Dec. 24, 2009. They're going to remember the locker room incident with Javaris Crittendon. They're going to remember his massively massive contract that burdened the team over the past couple seasons. They're going to remember him for a lot of "What if" type of reasons, and not necessarily for the good stuff. A shame, but the way things go. 

Arenas knew his time was almost up in Washington, telling reporters recently that he wasn't comfortable with all this rebuilding stuff. He said he "felt like the odd man out" most of the time. And that's because he was. He's not a rebuild kind of player. Not at this point in his career. He's a gifted veteran scorer that needs to be on a good team helping them win. He doesn't have a lot of time to mess around anymore.

He's not a guy that's used to coming off the bench like he has been this season. He's not a player that's used to not being the focal point of an offense. He's not used to laying back while someone else has the ball in crunch time. He's really not completely used to being on a bad team either.

There were nights though, where Arenas would come around and show what he's still capable of. Like the 31 points he dropped on Orlando, oddly enough, three weeks ago. Or the 30 against the Bulls in early November. Arenas is still averaging over 17 points per game, despite the fact he's trying to figure out how he fits in.

Now though, he gets a fresh start. He just to start things over in Washington this season after the gun incident. He said he was going to be more serious, was going to drop his "Agent Zero" persona and even went so far as to switch his number to nine. He wanted to be a new man. He tried to say all the right things. He deferred to Wall. He did his best to be the leading veteran teammate.

But that's not Gil. That's not what he does. He's a star and he's still got something left. And that's why he felt like he just didn't fit right.

So with this move to the Magic, he has the chance to begin again. And maybe the best thing he can do is to start back over with the old Arenas. Wear No. 0. Launch 3s from halfcourt. Take over games. Joke around. He's got quite the opportunity joining the Magic as Dwight Howard's wingman. He's going to get looks. They're going to count on him to score. He's going to get the free reign on the floor that he flourishes under.

That's the player Orlando hopes it's getting. No doubt Gilbert Arenas still has talent and a lot left in the tank. That didn't leave him. He's just got to find himself again. And nobody's banking more on that than Otis Smith and the Magic.
Posted on: December 18, 2010 4:08 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:41 pm

Magic / Suns / Wizards trades: winners & losers

Who are the winners and losers of Saturday's trades between the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards? Posted by Ben Golliver john-wall-steve-nash Earlier Saturday, the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards agreed on trades that sent tons of pieces moving
That's a lot to take in. So who are the winners and losers of Saturday's trades? CBSSports.com's senior NBA writer Ken Berger and the NBA Facts & Rumors team weighs in round table style.

Ken Berger --  Hedo Turkoglu: He was lazy and inconsistent in Toronto, and didn't fit in at all in Phoenix. So what does he get to go with his $45 million? He gets traded to a contender, of course. And not just a contender, but the contender whose style and surroundings fit his game and personality. I don't know if Hedo can just flip the switch and go back to being the 2008-09 Hedo, but I know this: No knock on Jay Triano or Alvin Gentry, but Turkoglu will be held to a higher standard by Stan Van Gundy. Stan knows what an engaged, motivated Hedo can do, and he won't accept any less. And Hedo would be embarrassed if he gave any less to the organization that was gracious enough to have him back after he bolted on them for free agency, where the grass most definitely was not greener. Royce Young -- John Wall: He's been quietly waiting for the keys to the car and now he finally gets them. Ernie Grunfield and Flip Saunders tried to convince people Gilbert Arenas and Wall could co-exist in some kind of super-backcourt. And really, they probably could've, but this was more about the symbolic gesture of handing over the reins to Wall. He was never looking over his shoulder at Arenas, but now there's no question as to what's going on in Washington. It's full on rebuilding around Wall and that's got to make the top pick feel good about where he's at and where his team is headed.  Matt Moore -- Jason Richardson: Richardson shot a lot of threes in Phoenix. He'll shoot a lot of threes in ORlando. But now he'll do it on a team with the best center in basketball, and be in a position to be the guy down the stretch on an Eastern Conference Finalist team. While the Magic don't run and gun like Phoenix and Golden State have, he excelled in Larry Brown's Charlotte too. This gives him the ability to make the most of his prime and he should get plenty of looks. If he can run the pick and roll to any degree with Dwight Howard, he could be looking at the best year of his career.  Ben Golliver -- Marcin Gortat: There's nothing worse than watching a talented, agile, physical big man rotting away on the bench, and that's exactly what was happening in Orlando, as Gortat rode the pine behind MVP candidate Dwight Howard for the first four years of his NBA career. There was talk that Gortat would get pried away in free agency, but the Magic chose to retain him, and it probably felt to him like he would never get a shot. Instead, Gortat is headed to a team that desperately needs his defense and rebounding and is sure to give him plenty of playing time. He's also uniting with an elite point guard in Steve Nash, who will make his life easy on offense. Surely, Gortat's patience is about to pay off in a big way.  Losers

Ken Berger -- Alvin Gentry: The Suns' coach goes from scaring the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals to losing Amar'e Stoudemire to now losing J-Rich. But hey, he gets to coach Vince Carter. (Vince is a nice guy, but he's just playing out the string.) Who's next to go, Steve Nash? Well, yeah, he could be. If the Suns are in rebuilding/cost-cutting mode, I wouldn't rule anything out. Gentry deserves better. Matt Moore -- Ernie Grunfeld: That's it? We know Gilbert Arenas was untradeable. We forgive you for that. But to not get a pick or cash? Here's a question. Has Grunfeld won any trade in the past three years? Have they improved with any decision he's made outside of drafting John Wall, which was un-screw-up-able? Wizards fans weren't going to win in this trade, but Ted Leonsis may want to take a look if this is a business move, why they didn't really make that much money overall on it.  Ben Golliver -- Rashard Lewis: First, the prep-to-pro's talents and numbers fell off a cliff, and now he goes from Orlando, one of the league's championship contenders, to the Wizards, a Southeast Division basement dweller. Expectations for Lewis are starting off abysmally low and his fit is questionable, as Washington's frontcourt includes Andray Blatche, who plays heavy minutes, and rookie forwards Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin, who will need playing time going forward if they are to develop. Washington also has youngsters on the wing, so a full-time shift of Lewis to the small forward position isn't particularly ideal for rebuilding efforts either. Given the length of his contract, he is sure to be the bane of Wizards' fans existences, which is no fun, because he was able to hide out reasonably well in small-market Orlando, thanks to the team's winning and the large shadow cast by Howard. Royce Young -- Steve Nash: Nash has already expressed some level of disappointment with Jason Richardson leaving for Orlando on Twitter, saying, "Everyone wish [Richardson] the best in Orlando. Great player and great teammate! He will be missed. Damn." But now it's clear the Suns are trying to begin some sort of rebuilding project, something the 36-year-old Nash can't be excited about. The Suns almost made the NBA Finals last season behind the quality scoring of Richardson and now they get a near washed-up Vince Carter. Can't feel good for Nash right now as he sees his window closing quickly. 
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