Magic Roster Makeover: Trade Lands Gilbert Arenas, Brings Back Hedo Turkoglu

The Orlando Magic were dominating the NBA to begin the season, and then December came.  Something has gone wrong for the Magic lately, and it has resulted in five losses over the last six games.  We’ve known for a while that the Magic were interested in acquiring Gilbert Arenas, but we didn’t know they were going to blow up their roster to make it happen.

Pro Basketball Talk called our attention to a lot of dealing the Magic did on Saturday.  First, Orlando sent Vince Carter, Mikael Pietrus, and Marcin Gortat to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Earl Clark.  When that deal was finished, the Magic then traded Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards to get their boy Gilbert Arenas.

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Report: Magic, Wizards Discussing Gilbert Arenas Trade

It would appear the Gilbert Arenas-to-Orlando talk is back on.  It’s been no secret that the Magic are looking to make a trade.  They know that in order to get past teams like the Celtics and Heat in the Eastern Conference, they’ll need someone who can consistently put the ball in the basket.  Will they give Arenas a shot to be that guy?

According to Orlando Pinstriped Post, via J.E. Skeet’s Twitter, the Magic and Wizards are once again discussing a possible swap that includes the troubled Washington guard — who has a recent history of knee issues.  Arenas is owed more than $60 million over the next three seasons, and after the gun incident and all the discplinary problems surrounding him it has become clear the Wizards are trying to phase Agent Zero out.  The first step, of course, was drafting John Wall with the first overall pick in the draft.  The next could be getting something in return for Arenas.

According to the report, the only name that is off-limits in discussions is Dwight Howard.  Any deal would likely involve Vince Carter — who could bring a veteran presence to the Wizards and help mentor John Wall — and could include Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis, or Daniel Orton.  Both teams reportedly understand what the other side would need to complete the deal.

As OPP points out, the Orlando Sentinel reported earlier in the week that the Magic are “willing to take a step back” by making a trade if it would improve their team for the long term.  With his age (28) and history of knee problems, I don’t really see how Arenas and his massive contract would be the solution.

Gilbert Arenas: I Faked An Injury Because I Was Afraid to Get Booed

During the preseason, we were led to believe that Gilbert Arenas chose to sit out against the Knicks in order to give teammate Nick Young a chance to showcase his skills.  Young dropped 24 points in the game, cashing in on what looked to be a thoughtful gesture from a teammate.  Arenas was laughing with reporters about the situation after the game, but we chalked that up to Agent Zero being giddy because his plan had worked so well.

Boy, has that story changed.  In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, via CBSSports, Arenas said he faked the injury because he was scared of getting booed, not so he could rest his surgically repaired knee or help out a teammate.  Here’s what he told SI:

I was really scared of getting booed,” says Arenas. “It’s a little crazy because I was here with Kwame Brown when Kwame was scared to go out there. I used to be like, Man, it’s just boos. Now here I was six years later, and I was him. I was scared to go out there.”

Huh?  We all know the gun incident tarnished Arenas’ reputation, but is he serious?  First of all, we know how sports fans are.  You do something stupid and you’re going to get booed for a little while — mainly on the road.  If you’re helping the home team win, they forget in a shorter amount of time than it takes Ron Artest to get his first technical of the season.

When you factor in that Gilbert went on to talk about how open he is to mentoring John Wall and stepping aside and allowing him to run the show, it seems to me like Arenas is fishing for sympathy.  There’s playing the “I’m a changed man” card, and then there’s saying you’re afraid of getting booed.  The latter is a little too much if you ask me.

Did Gilbert Arenas Fake a Knee Injury to Help Nick Young or Was He Joking?

After stonewalling the media at the onset of training camp, it looks like the player formerly known as Agent Zero is regaining some of his personality. Gilbert Arenas did not play in Tuesday’s preseason game for the Wizards because of a knee injury. After the game, he told reporters that he planned to sacrifice playing time to give teammate Nick Young a chance to play. The plan worked, as Young tossed in 24 points and may have reminded the coaches what he can do. The interesting part of the story was pointed out by Matt Moore, who explained Arenas was smiling and laughing when he told reporters what happened. Truth About it has a video for you to judge:

Gil was smiling and laughing, but I think that’s because he was proud of himself for coming up with the plan and seeing it work. If he pulled something like this in the regular season when games matter, I think that would have been a problem. In the preseason, it was a nice gesture for one of his teammates. His only mistake was talking about it publicly because now he’ll probably have to answer to his coaches and the front office who likely won’t be able to trust him when he complains about injuries in the future.

Gilbert Arenas Has Changed from Agent Zero to Business Arenas

The Washington Wizards are trying to change their public image and a lot of it began with a fun start to the season. The franchise held a Midnight Madness practice for its fans at midnight and blew out the Patriot Center on George Mason University’s campus like a big-time college team. They had musical performers, introduced the players one by one, and then ran a typical practice. If you’re a hardcore fan, the event looked like a lot of fun. If you’re Gilbert Arenas, it was a nuisance.

Suspended last year for his gun incident, Gilbert Arenas was much different than usual. He was quiet at media day Monday, keeping his interview time short and his smiles to a limit. He was sporting a beard which was the product of a bet with Nick Young. The formerly gregarious superstar with one of the more charming personalities in the league has bottled himself up and decided to keep emotions to himself. After getting justifiably destroyed by the media for the gun incident and subsequent mocking, he’s a different man.

Not only does Arenas feel burned by the media because of his new bad boy image, but he also likely feels cast aside by his team. The former franchise player was introduced second-to-last by the Wizards at the Midnight Madness event; the top billing was reserved for top overall pick John Wall. Though the Wizards have been planning to move ahead with Wall as the face of the franchise, Gilbert still has a chance to win everyone back.

If Arenas returns to pre-knee injury form on the court, the adulation from the media and fans will return. After the knee injury, Arenas became too much talk. Now, he’s lost weight and is in his best physical condition in years. Let’s not close the book on Gil’s career just yet. And you know what, not only will the fans be back, but so will the smiles. After all, nobody likes Business Arenas. We want Agent Zero back.

Agent Zero Returns to Assassin Mode

Here at LBS, we’re generally some of the biggest Agent Zero fans on the web. We’re only lukewarm on Gilbert Arenas, but we love Agent Zero. The problem is that following three knee surgeries and nearly two years off, Arenas has changed his demeanor and mannerisms. Gil started off by shutting down his ever popular blog, announcing a boycott of the media, and he changed his aggressive, scoring style to a pass-first distribution game. I don’t like that Gilbert very much, and neither do the Wizards considering that attitude has resulted in a highly disappointing 8-16 start. But on Friday afternoon, in an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Gil admitted the world misses and needs some Agent Zero, and most importantly, so do the Wizards:

“My mind is not in killer mode,” Arenas told Yahoo! Sports. “I haven’t thought killer in two years. It’s like I’ve been laid off. It’s like getting an assassin, putting him in a box and making him watch TV. He can’t go back to straight killing. Now he has a conscience. Before, I didn’t.

“I just got to play. Play, play, play and get frustrated on the court.”

That’s part of Gil’s new attitude towards distributing the ball and playing like a pass-first point guard. It’s even resulted in heavy criticism from coach Flip Saunders who says you can’t just decide you’re going to get more assists, you have to take what comes. I think it’s the concerted effort to gain assists that has resulted in so many turnovers and far less points from Gil. It seems like Zero took his own advice prior to Friday night’s game against the Advil of NBA defenses — the Warriors. Arenas attempted 25 shots (3rd highest for him on the year) and he attacked the basket, getting to the line a season-high 16 times. Sure, it was against Golden State’s (loosely-termed) defense, but it’s nevertheless one of the best signs for Washington all season. I hope Gilbert has learned his lesson; more Agent Zero, less Gilbert Arenas.

Shaunie O’Neal Files for Divorce, Shaq Cheating with Gilbert Arenas’ Fiance?

There was chatter around the internet last week that Shaq was having an affair with Gilbert Arenas’ fiance, Laura Govan. I never posted on the rumors because I didn’t consider the reports to be concrete, but the latest twist in the up-and-down relationship between Shaq and his wife Shaunie, leads me to believe the report was true. TMZ is saying that Shaunie filed for a separation in California, citing irreconcilable differences. Filing for a separation is just a precursor for an impending divorce.

shaq-shaunie shaq_shaunie Shaq and Shaunie O'Neal Shaunie O'Neal NBA TV

As stated above, Shaq and Shaunie have previously had relationship problems. First Kobe blurted out to the police that Shaq pays his women off, then a women accused Shaq of stalking her, and apparently Shaq wanted to file for divorce after it was alleged Shaunie cheated on him. It’s just one big mess but now it seems like things are finally over. TMZ is suggesting that Shaunie’s all about the money and that’s why she went to California to file her papers. It’s pretty simple; in California, common law states that all property is half of each person, so that bodes well for Shaunie in the case of separation.