Gilbert Arenas has been traded to the Orlando Magic, along with Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark in a mammoth deal that also sends Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus to the Phoenix Suns and Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards. The Arenas-Lewis portion of the deal has been confirmed as official.
The swap is certainly the biggest trade of the season to date, and might qualify as one of the more surprising and massive (in terms of salary) in recent years. The Magic see the biggest shake-up, sending away two of their top four scorers in Lewis and Carter, and replacing them with two prolific scorers in Arenas and Richardson and a playmaker very familiar with Stan Van Gundy's system in Turkoglu.
The Magic are just 16-9 on the season, five games behind the Boston Celtics for the No. 1 seed in the East. The Celtics knocked Orlando out 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and this year's slow start had the front office looking for a jolt of energy. This trade certainly provides a jolt.
Phoenix also sees a drastic makeover, with its leading scorer being replaced by a rental well into his 30s in Carter. Carter is on the books for $18 million next season, but if the Suns waive him before June 30, 2011, they only have to pay him $4 million. Gortat should be an instant starter and grand pick-and-roll partner for Steve Nash, not to mention a huge defensive upgrade over Robin Lopez and Channing Frye.
The Wizards have long needed a good small forward, and Lewis can fill that role, albeit at a too-high pricetag.
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