A reliable source has indicated to Orlando Pinstriped Post that the Orlando Magic could make a trade using "major pieces" as soon as tomorrow, pegging the chances of such a deal occurring at "70-to-80, almost 90 percent." This news comes shortly after Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported the Magic and Washington Wizards have moved close to a trade that would send Wizards shooting guard Gilbert Arenas to Orlando, likely in return for Vince Carter and a combination of "longer-term contracts" including backup center Marcin Gortat. I reported about Arenas talks between Orlando and Washington two weeks ago, but as Wojnarowski points out, those talks have increased in intensity of late:
Sources said Orlando has escalated its pursuit of a deal in recent days. After losing five of their past six games, the Magic have shown more urgency to find a perimeter scorer who can help them stay a viable contender in the Eastern Conference.
Also noteworthy is the detail that Arenas has "told people for days" he believes he's Orlando-bound.
This season is Arenas' first fully healthy one since the 2006/07 season, when the former Arizona Wildcat earned an All-Star roster spot with per-game averages of 28.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.9 steals. But three operations on his left knee since then have robbed him of the quickness and explosiveness that made him such a tough cover in his prime years.
During the current campaign, Arenas has averaged 18 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.5 steals. His field-goal numbers from the floor (39.4 percent) and three-point range (32.4 percent) have dropped below the acceptable range. Moreover, Arenas simply can't draw fouls like he used to; he averages 3.2 free-throw attempts per game, down from a career average of 7.2 and, in the 2005/06 season, 10.
Indeed, concerns abound about Arenas' fit with the current Magic club, given his inefficient offense, well-documented inattentiveness on defense, and his contract. Arenas is owed $62.4 million in the three seasons after this one, according to ShamSports.
On the other hand, Arenas has still shown he can get a shot off. Perhaps too well. But on an Orlando team with a stagnant, unimpressive offense so far this season, Arenas could provide a perimeter scoring option, though I contend that Carter is still better suited for that task than Arenas.
Even if this rumored trade falls apart in the end, it appears as though Carter's days in Orlando are numbered. A source Steve Kyler consulted told the HOOPSWORLD editor that Orlando is "looking at a lot of things," which Kyler believes means the Magic intend to use Carter's semi-expiring deal in a trade very soon.