Gilbert Arenas, Tigers close to deal

Updated: October 23, 2012, 11:50 AM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Gilbert Arenas is on his way to join Tracy McGrady in China, according to sources close to the former All-Star.

Sources on Monday confirmed a Yahoo! Sports report that Arenas is on the verge of signing a one-year deal with the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

Arenas
Arenas

ESPN.com reported late last month that Arenas had begun to assess his options in China for this season because he could not secure a guaranteed contract in the NBA.

Sources say Arenas also had negotiations with the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks before agreeing to sign with Guangdong, where he will team up with Chinese national team star and former NBA lottery pick Yi Jianlian.

Earlier this month, after a similar struggle to secure a guaranteed contract in the NBA, McGrady agreed to join the Qingdao Eagles.

Stephon Marbury, yet another former NBA All-Star, has spent the past three seasons in China with the Beijing Ducks and helped Beijing win last season's Chinese Basketball Association championship with 41 points in the Game 5 clinching win over Guangdong.

Arenas spent the bulk of the offseason working out under longtime NBA trainer Joe Abunassar and also made occasional appearances at the Lakers' and Clippers' practice facilities in his native Los Angeles for pickup games.

But after turning 30 in January and playing in only 17 games last season for Memphis, Arenas turned his focus to finding work in China once it became apparent that neither the Lakers nor the Clippers would be offering so much as a training camp invite.

The good news for both Arenas and McGrady, should they decide to attempt to relaunch their respective NBA careers, is that the short Chinese season allows for a return to the NBA in March or April.

In 11 NBA seasons, Arenas averaged 20.7 points, with a season high of 29.3 points per game for Washington in 2005-06. Yet he's been trying to resurrect his career ever since the infamous gun-play episode in the Wizards' locker room in December 2009 that ultimately led to a 30-day jail sentence. He was traded in December 2010 to the Orlando Magic, but that didn't pan out, prompting Orlando to waive Arenas via the league's amnesty clause on Dec. 9, 2011.

The Grizzlies signed Arenas late last season but played him sparingly, making the former "Agent Zero" -- as he was dubbed in Washington -- a free agent in July.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics