The NBA’s Newest Free Agent: Gilbert Arenas

Now things are getting real. In an official statement from the Orlando Magic – on their website – President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Otis Smith announced that they have waived Gilbert Arenas and designated him as the team’s “amnesty player,” paying him the $62.4 million left on his contract through 2013-14. Welcome to free agency, Gil.

Here’s why it happened:

Amnesty 2011 gives Magic GM Otis Smith an opportunity to undo a gamble on his good buddy Gil that backfired spectacularly and take at least some of the considerable tension out of the air after the toxic end to last season in that first-round exit to Atlanta … at a time when the weight of Dwight Howard‘s 2012 free agency happens to hang over all of Central Florida. The Magic, remember, have a deep-pocketed financier in Rich DeVos that would be on the short list of NBA owners who could withstand the huge financial hit required to send Arenas away. So it’s going to happen. It’s just of matter of when.

I saw Arenas play in San Jose for the We Believe vs. Dubs charity game, and he looked like he still had it him to be an NBA contributor. Will anyone bid on him before he clears waivers? Perhaps. But it’s more likely that Arenas hits the free agent market running, looking for a new team and a fresh start.

Was this a smart move by Orlando? What team should take a chance on Arenas?

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