Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress nearly gave every Orlando Magic fan in the world a heart attack tonight when he posted this message on his Twitter account:
Hearing some chatter from a trusted NBA source about a potential Gilbert Arenas for Vince Carter trade in the works. Wonder how real it is.
More details about that rumored swap have emerged, however, and the deal is off. Perhaps more precisely, the deal was never on. Wizards beat writer Michael Lee of the Washington Post explains:
The Washington Wizards spoke with the Orlando Magic recently about a potential swap of Gilbert Arenas for Vince Carter, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation. The source added that the talks didn't get very far and that it was merely a "business as usual" exploratory conversation between teams around the NBA draft. "Nothing to it now," the source said.
Another league source vehemently shot down speculation that Magic General Manager Otis Smith is pursuing Arenas, considering their close relationship. One prominent player agent sounded less than optimistic about the possible deal. "Not going to happen," he said.
David Aldridge of NBA.com, as well-connected a reporter as any covering the league, further doused the flames by saying Lee "is on the money" and that "the Magic have no interest" in making that deal. If anything, it sounds like Washington was the team most interested. Consider Lee's language, which suggests the Wizards initiated the talks ("the Wizards spoke to the Magic," with "the Magic" acting as the direct object of the verb "spoke") in combination with Aldridge's assertion that Orlando isn't interested.
There are myriad reasons why, but to me, the biggest is Arenas' contract. According to ShamSports, Arenas is owed roughly $80 million over the next four seasons. And while the Magic, in win-now mode, are willing to take on salary, they won't do it for a player of Arenas' caliber. Yes, Arenas is a three-time All-Star who scored 22.6 points per game last season prior to his suspension for gunplay, but he's also inefficient, yet to prove himself fully healthy after knee surgery three years ago, and as big a defensive liability as there is in this league. Absolutely too much risk for Orlando to take on, and for a middling reward.