- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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Gilbert Arenas is officially an unrestricted free agent.
NBA teams were notified after 6 p.m. Sunday that Arenas, released by the Orlando Magic on Friday through the league's amnesty clause, has cleared waivers, according to NBA front-office sources.
Under the new amnesty provision, teams with salary-cap space have first crack at placing bids on players such as Arenas and New York's Chauncey Billups once they are released via amnesty.
But Arenas' agent Dan Fegan, sources said, successfully convinced teams that showed interest in lodging a bargain bid on the former All-Star that Arenas was determined to make his own choice about where he wants to resume his career. It certainly didn't hurt Arenas' leverage that he's still owed a whopping $62.4 million by the Magic, who must pay out that money in exchange for the privilege of wiping Arenas' contract off their books.
The tactic worked and Arenas will now be able to choose his next destination. Sources with knowledge of his thinking say that Arenas -- still trying to re-establish himself after the gunplay incident in Washington during the 2009-10 season that resulted in a 30-day stay in a halfway house from April to May of 2010 -- hopes to join Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard wherever Howard is traded.
Miami is another team known to interest Arenas, who has relocated his family to Orlando. But it is unknown whether even Heat president Pat Riley, famed for his gambles on players with checkered pasts, is willing to add Arenas to his star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, whether or not Miami could sign him for a cut-rate price.
In other news from the waiver wire Sunday, Golden State released guard Charlie Bell through the amnesty clause in anticipation of signing Los Angeles Clippers restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan to a reported four-year, $43 million offer sheet. The Warriors needed Bell's salary off the books to be able to make an offer to Jordan worth $10 million annually.
Billups is scheduled to clear waivers Monday at 6 p.m. and has been very vocal, along with agent Andy Miller, in warning any cap-room teams thinking about bidding on him that he will retire before playing for a team he doesn't want to join.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.
NBA teams were notified after 6 p.m. Sunday that Gilbert Arenas, released by the Orlando Magic on Friday through the league's amnesty clause, has cleared waivers, according to NBA front-office sources.