Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Wizards' Black Santa

Chanukah may have come a few hours early when word leaked that the Wizards and Magic are still discussing a trade involving Gilbert Arenas, aka the (2nd) worst contract in the league.

The Magic are tied for the best record in the East at 13-4 and appear to be a title contender as currently constructed, without making.......wait, I'll stop. Orlando feels the need to add another playmaker and apparently are leaving no stone unturned if they are considering a guy coming off of 2 knee surgeries and with 4 years and over $80 million left on his contract. Gil put on nice show against the Magic last week in what could have been his audition.

 Black Santa (aka Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith)

Let's be clear, the Wizards are in last place in the Eastern Conference, starting a rebuilding process, and need to get rid of Agent Zero Six Shooter Gilbert Arenas. Gil is not part of the future, is not a great mentor and/or leader for the youngsters, and his massive contract is a huge handicap. The problem is finding someone to take this albatross off of our hands. Almost any trade that involves Gil leaving DC would be a good one, as there is no contract (other than Joe Johnson's) that I wouldn't take back for his. 'Locker room cancer' Vince Carter and his contract with 1 year remaining for Gil? - Where do I sign up!?!

The rumored deal involves Gil and Andray Blatche from the Wiz, and some combination of Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, and Daniel Orton from the Magic. VC and Lewis cannot be in the trade together, as the Wiz have almost no way of matching both of their bloated salaries. The Wiz could take one of those 2 in any deal involving Arenas. Both have similar salaries, with the main difference being that VC has 1 year left on his deal, and Lewis has 3.

VC for Gil is a no-brainer. VC could be the worst possible player to put on a young team, and I would consider just sending VC home for the season to keep him away from the youngsters and then creating a pool of coins in the summer with the 3 years of savings from Gil's contract.

Lewis for Gil is a closer match, but again, something the Wizards have to do as it cuts 1 year off of Gil's contract. I do hesitate here though, as Gil is the superior player and Lewis is aging quickly so may be impossible to move before his contract is up in 3 years, whereas Gil actually could play well enough that we could get rid of him in under 3 seasons.

Then there is the twist with the Magic wanting Andray Blatche. 7 Day Dray hasn't had a great season, not taking the step forward we'd hoped for, and saying his defense has been disinterested would be kind. That said, he is still only 24 and has a very reasonable contract that runs for 5 more years. He does not look like a long term answer for the Wizards, but he still has trade value. Not only that, but his value is about as low as it can be right now.

Orton would be a nice young guy to add in the deal (I also would like Ryan Anderson), but Blatche is more valuable. If the deal is Gil and Blatche for Lewis and Orton, then we are basically giving up Blatche for 1 less year of Gil's contract, and I think that is a steep price. VC and Orton for Gil and Blatche is a much tougher call, with the bottom line being whether the Wiz are willing to give up Blatche to cut 3 years off of Gil's contract.

I think the Wizards have to make the VC deal, as there may not be many other chances to get rid of Gil's contract. But I hope the Wiz can find a way to do this without including Andray. From the perspective of the Magic, the extra years on Gil's deal may not matter much, as their roster is relatively set for the next few years. They also have little use for Blatche. Grunfeld will need to do some smooth talking to make this happen, or Black Santa will have to feel particularly giving.

While I wait for Black Santa to make my holiday season, I will do the rest of my shopping in Allen Iverson's eBay shop. 

(Image courtesy of, salary info courtesy of ESPN's NBA Trade Machine)

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