Blogtable: Gilbert Arenas and the Magic

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Crystal ball: In the end, does it work out for Gilbert Arenas and the Magic? For either?

David Aldridge: Yes. And yes. Whatever Gilbert has left in the tank, it will come out in Orlando, because a) Otis Smith is the one person that can cut through Gil’s BS and motivate the person inside, and b) Arenas will get more open looks off of Dwight Howard in the next six weeks than he got in six years in D.C. I still don’t think Orlando can beat Boston (the Magic is much worse defensively now than before all the trades, though Jason Richardson will give an honest effort on D, I think), but it matches up much better now with Miami than it did before. Clock’s still ticking on Howard staying in Florida, though.

Steve Aschburner: Does it “work out?” Define that please. … Waiting. … OK, fine, by my definition, the answer is no. I cannot see Orlando getting out of the East now anymore than I could when the season began. Don’t like the style, now don’t like the size and depth. As for Arenas, things were always going to “work out” for him as long as the checks cashed. But he shirked his responsibilities in Washington and good ends (or at least the best ends) don’t come to people who do that. Get out of D.C., get paid and get a trip to the Finals, with a stage to again be Gilbert? Not happening. Heck, he might break down.

Fran Blinebury: By working out, if you mean getting to the NBA Finals this season,  no.  I still think the Magic are behind the Celtics and the Heat in the Eastern pecking order, though they’ve closed the gap. But they had to do something.  The old lineup wasn’t working anymore and a change was necessary.  Nobody needed a change more than Arenas to get his mojo back.  But I’m not expecting the return of Agent Zero any time soon.

Art Garcia: Getting out of D.C. is a success in itself for Gil. Landing with a contender and a GM that understands you (Otis Smith) is a double bonus. Now what working out means for the Magic is unclear. Orlando is clearly a notch below the Celtics and Heat at this point, though so much of the season remains that it’s impossible to count the 2009 East champs out. I don’t think the Magic make a return to the Finals, but it’s a better team than before the roster revamp.

Scott Howard-Cooper: It works out for Arenas in that he gets a desperately needed new start and he spends the rest of the season free of controversy. But that he becomes a much better shooter by April and makes a big difference, a huge-contract difference, for the Magic? No.

Shaun Powell: How do we define “work out well?” Meaning, Arenas doesn’t do something silly and avoids being put in a headlock by Dwight Howard? Well, no, I suspect that won’t happen. Just the same, we’ve already seen the best of Arenas. The 2006-07 player who averaged 28 points and was a pest defensively isn’t walking through that door. The issue is whether Arenas can flourish being the 3rd and sometimes 4th option, and I vote no. He needs the ball.

John Schuhmann: For Gilbert, yes. He no longer has the burden of trying to make up for his mistakes in Washington and he’s going to enjoy more team success with the Magic than he did with the Wizards. For the Magic, probably not. They’re a great team, but it will be tough for them to win a championship. We’ll have to see what Dwight Howard does in 2012, but even if he stays, they’ve handcuffed themselves a bit with the salaries they took on in the trade.

Sekou Smith: Fleeing Washington for a Eastern Conference contender is Gil’ biggest victory to date. The Magic needed an infusion of energy and confidence that Gil brings in abundance. After some initial reservations, it’s clear that the Magic have the makings of a team that could upset some plans in the playoffs, depending on the matchups. Ultimately, this works for Gilbert and the Magic. And not because they’re all of a sudden a favorites to win the East (they are not) or they found the missing pieces to their championship puzzle. It works out because both Gil and the Magic get the fresh start they so desperately needed.


  1. Gil"s #1 fan says:

    Gilbert is a dangerous weapon to have coming off anybody’s bench. The day they scored him, they became better. Orlando definitely is better after their trade.

  2. Sean says:

    Once AGAIN… the Magic are looked to be a “notch-below” the other contenders. How many times have we heard that from these apparent “experts.” Remember in the year the Magic made the Finals? Oh yeah that year everyone thought the Magic were a “notch-below” the Celtics and Cavs – who the Magic absolutely handled in the post-season.

    Please, if you do not believe this trade does not help Arenas and the Magic, you are simply commenting on a unfinished product. It’s like review an painting during the sketching phase.

    It is VERY early to say that Orlando aren’t in the same level of the Celtics and the Heat. Just wait till after the All-Star break. At the moment, I am seeing glimpses of the 2008-2009 Magic team that was playing with chemistry, freedom and trust. The season-high 19 3-Pointers shows proof that this team is still capable.

    Arenas is exactly what the Magic need offensively and defensively, a player who is willing to put the game in is own hand when it is needed.

    By the way… Did you not realise that they beat the top teams of the East and the West who were a both coming off 10+ game winning streaks?

    • mikko says:

      Definetely……. I absolutely agree with you, it’s too early to say that magic can’t compete with Miami or boston, they have the talent that they need, and 7weeks is too long to look for the missing pieces….. They need a defender at powerforward position, because at this pisition where good teams are beeter offensively.. If they can improve their defense, no doubt— this is a championship team…. look around and open your eyes stan van gundy, the guy you need is just around you…….

  3. JLaBoy says:

    Guys, let’s get real. We all know it’s in the benefit of D. Stern for Miami to be mentioned 10 times in every NBA discussion regardless of what’s actually happening on the court. Reality… Boston is the team to beat! And I’m a Magic fan! I’ll talk about Miami when they actually win with Lebron. Don’t get me wrong, Lebron is Lebron, but he has done nothing in the Finals yet! People have forgotten that the last three years, it has been Orlando and Boston battling for the East crown. This year will be the same! Miami will make a run, but if they advance, it will be Wade taking them there, not Lebron. Otherwise, it should be Boston and Orlando in the conference finals. As for Boston, if they’re healthy, they’ll be tough to beat in seven games. Orlando has the x-factor in their favor… Nobody believes they can do it, remember Boston last year? If The Magic can muster up the indignation of the NBA, ESPN and ABC ignoring them all the time, they can surprise us all. Otis Smith should get Executive of the year. A painful but brilliant trade will produce great dividends for Van Gundy, Howard and the city of Orlando. We changed out great potential unfulfilled for great potential overlooked. If Arenas, Richardson and Hedo want to crush the established and biased opinion of the “experts”, (who by the way have other opinions in silent, just ask Barkley, he’ll tell you that they “preach” Miami and Lebron because it’s good for the ratings. They know better though. Think about it… An Orlando / San Antonio Finals they would hate… No headlines, no drama. That’s just an example!) These guys need to be humble and just win! Arenas is a scorer, Richardson is a scorer, Hedo is a strong Point Forward with range. We didn’t have that with the old crew, loved them personally but it was time to change. As far as defense is concerned, I agree with various other posts, none of the guys Orlando lost played Defense outside of MP, and that was two years ago. Defense in Orlando goes through the middle; Howard is the Magic’s defense energy and execution! As long as guys funnel the cutters to the middle and Howard stays out of foul trouble (pending the addition of a backup big man, of course) The Magic can stay the way they are now and they’ll be in the conference finals for the third time in as many years. Hello? I mean do these guys actually watch the games or do they just repeat what makes headlines? Here’s my final observation: The team that surrenders their egos at the door, wins the East. That’s probably why Miami won’t! I like Boston and the Magic. They match up well and are soon becoming an excellent East rivalry. This scenario provides something new and fresh for the NBA, the “experts” won’t like it, but the fans will! NBA… Where amazing (hopefully…) happens! Can’t wait till summertime…

  4. Spliftout says:

    Sound like the “expert panel” hopes GA doesn’t return to his old form , with the exception of DA, I think it was a great deal for the Magic it gives them a key cog from their 09′ title run and two active/explosive wing players I think only the Celtics are definitely better than this Magic team and they just lost Garnett so anything is possible oh panel of hatred….haha

  5. collin1127 says:

    I am a magic fan and i think the trade is great for them. I dont see them in the finals but they could defanitley disrupt some plans in the playoffs

  6. Namorsubby says:

    All Gil has to do is play like he knows he can, and all these educated statements on the Magic’s and his potential will mean nothing. Then ‘m sure these same guys will be saying the exact opposite in some other blog in the future. Happens all the time.

  7. Bfan says:

    Bold move Orlando. Arenas is a great fit there and I realy wanted Richardson here in Chicago. Kudos. If Chicago is not ready to challange this year and my fear is they are not I hope to see Orlando take the East. Then maybe Miami and Boston can just shutup.

  8. Marco says:

    Why they are talking about the title?Hey we are at the end of December,it’s too early!And now the Magic it’s not too bad defensively because the Turk is stronger than Carter in the defensive end and J-Rich is an incredible athlete!However J.J. now is a terrific defender.The only thing is the size of the frontline,without Gortat will be more difficult play against Boston but I think that Otis Smith is searching a big men!
    Go Magic from Italy!!!!

  9. evolon4d says:

    After watching Phoenix allow 120 points by the 76ers, I’m convinced the Magic made the best move. Its also a testament to Howard’s concerns regarding defense on the team. Vince Carter defense has been nonexistent for some time. To let an inferior team run up the score like that is not a good look and is just the tip of the iceberg for the problems that will follow that cast of characters down to Arizona. I just hate that we had to give up Gortat in that trade. He’s a good back up with size, decent footwork and rebounding ability that could be a starter on almost any team.

    • tingyman says:

      well, you guys had to give up something to gain the very productive jrich that was the top scorer after stat left lol. but overall good trade for orlando. lets see how they match up to the celtis come playoff time

  10. nate filewood says:

    Celtics are the team to beat. they are deep and strong, but OLD. and all the injuries are piling up. might hurt come playoffs.
    Heat have 3 people on the ‘team’. No productivity from there on in.
    Magic have some tinkering issues and no help inside for Dwight. BUT, they have the most to prove, the most to gain and can still have a further tinker to try make room for CP3 next year… they still have time, and the depth to be able to hang around when the other 2 are running on fumes… and and low on talent.

  11. Fastbreak says:

    Orlando fans dreaming,

    Orlando is NOT a title contender, sorry. Streaky teams going 3-3, lets start another parade in South Beach, championship incoming. I despise people who take streaks and turn them into a visions of the future, even less so when they aren’t even a 10 game game streak.

    When the Magic win more than 10 straight games, and actually even up with Miami/Boston record wise then we can talk about the finals. At the moment the experts are right. Orlando is still a joke, and hasn’t proven ANYTHING. Whether this trade works out is a big question mark that won’t be answered until you put that extension in front of Howard.

    Don’t give the experts grief for not supporting your team. They are giving an honest run down of a team that has more questions and tests pending that it has behind them.

  12. Gabe says:

    Well, if any game from this 4-game winning streak is an indication, then the Magic just got better. The offense is already a very good one that has some room for improvement. As for the defense, Stan Van Gundy has a lot of defensive plays that the players are learning slowly, so the room for improvement on this already decent defense is very big. They are going to get another big man, so when all of this settles in, the Magic will be a great team. It’s too early to tell if they will be as good as the Celtics and the Heat, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they get to that level, making them championship contenders.

    As for Gilbert Arenas, he couldn’t get a fresh start in Washington, and now he really has a fresh start in a place that he likes. And for a player like him, the potential is huge. Remember this is the 3-time All-Star, 2006 MVP candidate, who took the Wizards to the Eastern Semis for the first time in 20 years and shot countless game-winners. So I think this “works-out” for everybody.

  13. Chuck Harrison says:

    This will be Just before the trade deadline.

  14. Chuck Harrison says:

    I got cut off.
    Look for us to go after Carmelo Anthony using Jason Richardson and pieces. You heard it here first.

    • George says:

      Orlando doesn’t need Carmelo Anthony. They are not gonna trade Jason Richardson for Carmelo. They have Hedo Turkoglu which in case you don’t know, is a solid defender. They already have offensive players like Gilbert Arenas and Dwight Howard. I think the team should stay the way it is. Orlando may be the 2011 champions.

  15. Chuck Harrison says:

    We are better offensively as we stand. We are not done yet defensively. As a team we will show a lot of improvement or else there will be more trades. (By the way, how about Earl Clark so far? Not bad for what everyone thought was a throw-in. Remember when everyone thought Ryan Anderson was a throw-in?)

    No one is saying so….but I will;

  16. kyle says:

    It is clear these so caled experts do not watch the magic.

  17. Daniel Del Cid says:

    Clearly the (Arenas) Experiment has worked, snapped two 10 game winning streaks from the two top teams in the league.

    Yeah I think the writers have some bias or they are trying to please their fans by disregarding the results..
    When Miami lost to boston in the home opener the reaction from the media was immediate and opportunistic.

    All I’m asking is that you consider everything instead of just these personal attacks.
    ” As for Arenas, things were always going to “work out” for him as long as the checks cashed ” – Steve Aschburner
    “How do we define “work out well?” Meaning, Arenas doesn’t do something silly and avoids being put in a headlock by Dwight Howard?” – Shaun Powell
    ” For Gilbert, yes. He no longer has the burden of trying to make up for his mistakes in Washington and he’s going to enjoy more team success with the Magic than he did with the Wizards” John Schumann

  18. Mizz says:

    Dont know what the “experts” above are talking about. It is obvious they have not watched the Magic’s last 4 games. Defense is better, they are playing up-tempo and are all in all more aggressive. J Rich is an all-around upgrade over Vince, Hedo is an upgrade over Rashard (although he did hit some big shots), and Gilbert is proving to be an excellent 6th man. (22pts 11asts 6rbs last game?!) Overlooked is Earl Clark who came from Phoneix, but has produced for Orlando and even has 3pt range. Although Orlando does still need another big body, they are way better now than they were when the season started.

  19. Paul J, Liverpool UK says:

    Whoever they traded for, the Magic needed to shift Lewis. $19m? Jeez. For Gilbert, you don’t forget how to ride a bike, This cat has 60-point game on his resume. If he can rein in the extra-currcicular, stick true to his commetns that he is happy to come off the bench, then this could ‘work.’ As stated, what is the end-game for this to have classed as having worked? If Otis can pull in a defensive big man (Marcus Camby would be a great addition) and maybe another pair of hands to help defend the perimeter, they can get to the ECSF, with Boston, Miami and the Bulls. But they won’t get further. Not because they’re worse than last year,or because of Gilbert, it’s just Boston and Miami have improved a lot more.

  20. Nick says:

    Anyone who watched the Magic beat the Celtics and Spurs back to back recently know that they are a much improved team with Gil here and Rashard and Vince gone. I loved those guys but they were just too passive offensively and Vince had lost his desire to drive to the paint which he was brought in for. In the playoffs last year we sorely needed Vince’s scoring and it was nowhere to be found. Gil will drive the paint as will Jason Richardson. The defense lost is an overstatement as Vince was not really a good defender and neither was Rashard so to me thats a wash. Can they beat the Celtics. Well they just did albeit without Rhondo. I am looking forward to the games with the Heat and Celtics at full strength and then we shall see but right now I am a very optimistic Magic fan.

  21. JuePuta says:

    Hey Aldridge, you say the Magic is much worse defensively than they were before? They were giving up 92 pts a game before and are giving up virtually the same at 93 pts since the trade. Keep in mind that they now play at a faster pace which means they score more and naturally gives more possesions to their opponents. So in actuality they are better defensively (see the last 2 min of the Celtics Game). Rashard Lewis and VC were never known for defense and it showed more this year than any other. So far since the trade, I’ve seen Richardson make some great steals and play pesky D, I saw Arenas sky for a block to prevent a fast break basket, and Turk has had some great strip/steals in at least 3 out of the 6 games. Ryan Anderson has been manning the slot Gortat had with above average results. His rebounding has been as good if not better than Gortat’s. Bottom line- Van Gundy is a defensive minded coach who demands defense and it has showed.

  22. Gordon says:

    I think this move is exactly what Gilbert needed. It’s time he finally put himself last and team first and going from a bottom feeder to a legit NBA Finals contender will force him to do so. Whether you bring him off the bench or give him the occasional start over Jameer his explosive potential is just what the magic need. He may be better suited to come off the bench to work with the second unit, but that’s for SVG to work out. Gil does come with baggage, but I think his relationship with Otis Smith will be key in keeping him on the straight and narrow. We already saw that the Magic weren’t going any further with the team they had, so I don’t have any problems at all with the “gamble” of bringing him in.

  23. George says:

    Its obvious that some of the so call “experts” are not experts after all. To say that we got weaker defensively is stupid. Rashard was playing the 3 position the last several games prior to the trade since Bass was coming on strong. So we traded Rashard for Hedo at the 3 position. Hedo, not known for being a defensive player is still a lot better defensively than Rashard at the 3. He is more agile and could get around the screens and does not have to play off of the other teams 3 due to fear of them driving pass him. Vince Carter trade for J Rich is better for Orlando as well. Both are equal defensively but at this point in both players career, J Rich is better offensively. Yes we got smaller by getting rid of the polish hammer, but realistically, how many minutes was he really getting anyhow?

    • tingyman says:

      i think the experts were saying that the magic got weaker defensively due to the fact that they lost gortat and pietrus

  24. magic fan says:

    it has been working out obvisoully and if you all remember last year then you know just how close the magic were to beating the celtics so they are obvisoully not a nitch above them and they now have enough depth and offense to contend with the heat i think the suprise team will be the knicks however but magic are up there for championship this year and they still might be looking for other players.

  25. QuestionMark says:

    if it doesnt work out, there is always the possiblity of trading Arenas for Camby or Haywood, if it does work out than trade Nelson for Camby or Haywood.

    • tingyman says:

      if it does work out, why should you trade nelson? he is the second team captain of the team and a very legitamate point guard. trading him will be foolish

  26. Ti Brown says:

    Otis Smith has to get props for going all-in with this trade and also giving his boy Gil a reboot particularly since it very well may be Otis that gets the pink slip if Dwight walks in ’12. I don’t see ORL doing anything but trying to prevent BOS from sweeping them in the playoff, but they might be able to handle MIA. Good luck!

  27. John says:

    This deal clearly works for the magic as we have seen thus far. Arenas doesn’t want to bring the baggage from Washington as a desire to succeed is part of human nature. No one wants their failures to follow them. This is his chance to redeem himself and he doesn’t want to let himself down, his family down, fans and especially Otis Smith down. Again, Arenas has played well considering this team has yet to increase its chemistry. I wouldn’t leave the possibility of reaching the finals out of the question. It’s too soon to tell. The Magic are for real and they have an insatiable appetite for a championship, this could be the year.