Friday, December 9, 2011
Orlando Magic waive Gilbert Arenas
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A busy opening day of training camp for the Orlando Magic included a trade, dumping a big contract and a lot of uncertainty about their biggest star.
The Magic announced Friday that they are using a new Collective Bargaining Agreement amnesty provision to release guard Gilbert Arenas. And in a flurry of other personnel activity forward Brandon Bass' agent said a deal is being finalized that will send his client to Boston for Celtics' forward Glen Davis and the Magic also signed rookie forward Justin Harper and rookie guard DeAndre Liggins to contracts.
Also, Magic chief executive officer Alex Martins said the Magic have not filed tampering charges with the NBA against any team for interference with star center Dwight Howard.
For his part, after practice Howard deflected the rash of reports that sprang up Friday saying he met with the New Jersey Nets on Thursday and was preparing to ask for a trade there.
"Right now we're in Orlando and we just had practice and that's what matters," said Howard, who turned 26 Thursday. "Nothing else matters beyond today and at this moment."
Howard is eligible to opt out of his current contract in July 2012.
Asked if he could see himself staying the whole season Howard said: "As of right now I'm here. And like I said, that's the only thing that matters...Rumors say this and sources say that, until you hear it from the horse's mouth, until you see something happen -- that's when you know it's happened. And that's how I see it. People are going to say whatever and do whatever. But until it happens, that's when it matters."
NBA.com reported Friday that the Magic are pursing charges because at least one unnamed team spoke with Howard. ESPN reported that that Howard met with Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Nets general manager Billy King on Thursday night in Miami without the Magic's knowledge or permission. It all followed other reports that said Howard plans to request a trade to the Nets.
"Like I said, I have not had any conversations with anybody," Howard said. "If my agent has, or anybody that I'm associated with has, you would have to talk to them about it."
King denied the report about the meeting in a statement.
Martins, likewise denied the Magic had filed any formal charges.
"Well there aren't any tampering charges," Martins said. "What I would say to that is that Dwight is under contract with us and our rules in the league are very explicit about the fact when a player's under contract with the team, other teams are not allowed to contact the player or player's representative about them.
"And if that's been voided in any way, we'll deal with it to the fullest extent that the NBA constitution allows. But at this stage there aren't any tampering charges."
In a text message to The Associated Press Friday, Howard's father denied yet another report that he was now representing Howard and the Magic said they are still dealing with agent Dan Fegan.
"My dad is not my agent, he's my father and that's all he wants to be," Howard said.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said he addressed the issue of distractions with the team beforehand.
"It's a crazy day around here, but it's crazy most places in the NBA right now," Van Gundy said. "But the bottom line is -- we talked about it before we started -- we're professionals. We're professional athletes. We're professional coaches. You come out here and do your job.
"There are always distractions. This may be a little crazier than usual. But there's always distractions."
Magic guard Jameer Nelson said Friday "was probably one of the craziest days in my life in terms of basketball."
"Not knowing certain guys, Brandon getting traded, Big Baby coming in. Like it said, it's just one of those days that shows you why you're a professional athlete and that you can handle it."
Arenas' release has been anticipated ever since the new amnesty clause was proposed as being included in the CBA.
He has struggled in Orlando and the Magic took advantage to the new provision -- allows a team a one-time option to waive a player's remaining contract from the salary cap and luxury tax.
Since coming over from the Washington Wizards in a trade for Rashard Lewis last season, the 29-year-old Arenas hasn't been able to make an impact in Orlando. Arenas has about $62 million remaining on the final three years of his six-year, $111 million deal.
Arenas averaged career lows in minutes (21.8), points (8.0) and assists (3.2) last season with the Magic, starting just two of the 49 games he appeared in. He also was at times bothered by sore left knee and left leg that at times limited his availability. He's had three knee surgeries during his 10 seasons in the league.
Practice ended without the Bass and Davis trade going official, but Bass' agent Tony Dutt confirmed the impending deal of his client to the Celtics to The Associated Press, which swaps a pair of former LSU standouts.
The move could be the first by Orlando during free agency to beef up their roster around Howard.
Bass is entering his seventh NBA season and averaged a career-high 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds last year in his second season with the Magic. He started 51 of the 76 games he appeared in.
Davis has played all four years of his career with Boston and averaged 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds last season, starting 13 of 78 games.
After a long day, Van Gundy acknowledged that the circus atmosphere probably won't go away any time soon.
"When we come out here, it's not about any of that," he said. "It's about basketball and given the short amount of time to get ready, that's my focus. Obviously Otis has a lot of things going on and things he has to be concerned with. He keeps me informed and we talk about those things. But when it time for practice, that's what I'm concerned with and our players, that's where their focus needs to be."