Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wizards part ways with Arenas, ship him to Orlando for Rashard Lewis

Taking advantage of an opportunity to get rid of Gilbert Arenas's massive contract, Ernie Grunfeld and the Wizards shipped Arenas to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Rashard Lewis.

After this season, Arenas has a little over $62 million left on his contract that runs through 2013-2014. Lewis's deal, however, expires after the 2012-2013 season. Also, while Lewis is currently making $20.5 million and will make about $22.2 million next season, according to The Washington Post's Michael Lee, Lewis is only guaranteed $10 million in the final year of his contract instead of the full $23.8 million or so (if he fails to meet various performance incentives). If the Wizards end up paying Lewis $10 million in the last year of his contract, the Arenas-Lewis trade will end up saving the Wizards about $30 million. Not bad.

But besides providing some financial relief, this move is mainly about one other thing: building around John Wall. I don't necessarily believe that Arenas's presence on the team was hurting Wall's development or impairing Wall's effectiveness on the court. I also think that it was possible to keep Arenas around while also handing the proverbial keys of the future over to Wall. But, hey, the Wizards had a chance to get out from under Arenas's huge contract, and they jumped at that opportunity. It's hard to blame them for that, even if the Magic didn't throw in any cash or draft picks along with Lewis.

Honestly, I think this was a trade the Wizards needed to make, if not just to provide Arenas with a change of scenery. His time in Washington had run its course. In a poll conducted on Wizards Insider (the link at the top), only 7 percent of 3,261 voters thought that the Wizards should have kept Arenas. The rest, at the very least, believed that it was time to trade Arenas away. That should say something.

In the end, Arenas provided a lot of bad memories -- but plenty of awesome ones too. I'll do my best to focus on the good times instead of reminiscing about all of the things that went wrong while Arenas was in D.C. Here are some of those exciting moments:

Again, those are just a few of the dozens of positive moments Arenas had in a Wizards uniform. Things may not have ended well between Arenas and the Wiz, but most Wizards fans will still wish Arenas the best. Good luck in Orlando, Gil.

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