As we noted earlier today, Gilbert Arenas will be paid through 2016 by the Magic, despite the fact that his amnestied contract was set to expire after the 2013/14 season. NBA sources confirmed the arrangement to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel, who says the Magic used the stretch provision to extend Arenas’ payment schedule. I’m not sure that’s accurate, since that specific provision only applies to deals signed under the new CBA. But in any case, Schmitz reports that the revised payment plan shouldn’t affect any free agent plans the team has.
Here are a few more notes from out of Southeast Division:
- LeBron James will earn more than $19MM in 2013/14, but he could still be the NBA’s most underpaid player, as Larry Coon details in an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com.
- Speaking to reporters, including Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Pat Riley referred to the Heat as a “development team” and called the Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami’s D-League affiliate) a perfect fit for the Heat. A handful of Miami’s camp invitees are expected to end up in Sioux Falls next month.
- In a pair of columns for the Orlando Sentinel, Josh Robbins examines the fight to earn a roster spot for two Magic camp invitees, Romero Osby and Solomon Jones. Assuming Orlando doesn’t release or buy out Hedo Turkoglu within the next few days, Osby and Jones could be battling against each other and against the team’s other invitees for a single roster spot.
In an interview with TMZ.com, Gilbert Arenas revealed that while his amnestied contract would have come to an end next summer, the Magic will continue to pay him through 2016, having agreed to spread out his $111MM salary across two additional years. Arenas’ admission is interesting not only because that type of information isn’t typically reported, but also because paying him an eight-figure salary through 2016 could affect how much Orlando spends elsewhere.
Arenas is one of several amnestied players still being paid through the 2013/14 season, and his arrangement with the Magic shows that we don’t know exactly what agreements were made between teams and players when clubs used their amnesty clauses. For instance, when the Sixers released Elton Brand via amnesty in 2012, he only had one year remaining on his contract, meaning Philadelphia is likely no longer on the hook for his salary. However, if the club agreed to spread out his payments, like the Magic did with Arenas, it’s possible that the Sixers’ debt to Brand hasn’t been entirely extinguished.
What we do know is that many amnestied players had contracts at least through the 2013/14 season, so their former teams are almost certainly still paying their salaries. Here’s a breakdown of the amnestied players, besides Arenas, who are still being paid by old teams this season. The year the player’s amnestied contract ends is noted in parentheses:
The following amnestied players’ contracts have expired, so presumably their teams are no longer paying them, unless they agreed to stretched-out payments like Arenas did:
Hoops Rumors’ Amnesty Tracker was used in the creation of this post.
As we heard over the weekend, the Lakers have yet to start negotiating a contract extension with Kobe Bryant, which is hardly a surprise, given the new CBA. Veteran extensions have become virtually non-existent since the lockout, and given the uncertainty relating to Kobe's recovery from Achilles surgery, there's no reason for either side to rush into contract discussions.
Here's more on the Lakers:
- Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports (via Twitter) that she has heard Darius Johnson-Odom and Eric Boateng mentioned as possible camp invitees for the Lakers. However, nothing has been finalized yet.
- Gilbert Arenas and Kareem Rush have also been spotted working out recently at the Lakers facility, according to Shelburne, but she says not to read too much into that (Twitter link).
- Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss have been the ones making headlines lately, but their younger brother Jesse Buss is also involved with the team, and spoke to Laker Nation about his role with the NBA team and its D-League affiliate. Among other topics, Buss addressed the challenge of scouting for a franchise that always has a win-now mentality, and discussed the outlooks for rookies Ryan Kelly and Elias Harris.
We heard a week ago that the Clippers may be inviting Gilbert Arenas to training camp, but it doesn't sound like the former All-Star is interested in auditioning for an NBA roster spot. Asked by HipHollywood.com about the Clippers rumor, Arenas denied that he'd be joining the team, indicating instead that he plans to return to China for the coming season.
"I went to go work out at the Clippers facility about two months ago," Arenas said. "I guess I did well enough for them to invite me [to camp], but I want to go to China so I can come home faster…. With China, I get to go and still play and then I can get back home and spend more time with the kids. I get to be home in February and enjoy the family. I don’t need the NBA money, I have enough of it."
This isn't the first time Arenas has expressed a fondness for China's shorter season, which ends not long after the NBA's All-Star weekend. Playing for the Shanghai Sharks earlier in 2013, Arenas indicated that he intended to spend the spring with his family, rather than trying to catch on with an NBA team after returning from China.
"Thirty-two games a year," Arenas said at the time. "Maximum 36 minutes. That’s all I need at this point in my career. So as long as China teams want me, I’ll be here."
As for whether teams in the CBA have interest in Arenas, that remains to be seen. But the 31-year-old played well in 14 games for the Sharks last season, averaging 20.7 PPG and 7.3 RPG, so I'd be surprised if he didn't attract a few suitors.
Gilbert Arenas didn't sign or play with an NBA team during the 2012/13 season, but unlike fellow 31-year-old Jared Jeffries, he's not ready to move on from his playing career quite yet. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (via Twitter), Arenas has looked good in workouts this offseason, and may receive a training camp invite from the Clippers.
Although he had a brief stint with the Grizzlies in 2012, Arenas hasn't played in a full NBA season since prior to the lockout. In 2010/11, he appeared in 70 total games for the Wizards and Magic, averaging 10.8 PPG, a significant step down from his career rate of 20.7 PPG.
The veteran guard played in China for the Shanghai Sharks last season, matching his NBA scoring average with 20.7 PPG in 14 contests. Our most recent headline on Arenas suggested that he had no plans to come back to the NBA, though at the time it sounded like that meant for the 2012/13 season, rather than indefinitely. Still, Arenas' quotes indicated that he'd have no problem returning to China in the future if NBA opportunties failed to arise.
The Clippers would have room to give Arenas a real shot at a roster spot if he came to camp with the team. L.A. currently has 15 players under contract, but Maalik Wayns' deal is non-guaranteed, while only $50K of Brandon Davies' deal is guaranteed. Of course, based on Arenas' previous comments, it's not clear if he'd even be open to accepting a camp invite with no guaranteed salary attached.
It's been a precipitous fall for Gilbert Arenas, as three years after he averaged 22.6 points per game for the Wizards, it appears there's not much interest in him among NBA executives. For his part, Arenas doesn't have his sights set on a return to the Association after spending this season playing in China, according to comments he recently made to Karan Madhok of SLAM Online.
"Nah!," Arenas said, shaking his head vehemently. "Because after this season I can enjoy my family. You know my kids are getting older. Being in the NBA, you don’t really get to enjoy your family life because you’re always on the road, you’re always gone. So, no. After this season will be the first time I’ll get to be with my kids for a long period of time."
The Chinese season is over, so Arenas, who averaged 20.4 points for the Shanghai Sharks this year, including a 45-point effort against Fujian, could sign with an NBA team and still be eligible for the playoffs, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors pointed out earlier today. But, it looks like that's not going to happen, and as Madhok notes, Arenas isn't fully healthy. The three-time NBA All-Star indicated he's fine with continuing his career in China, noting the CBA's shorter season and game lengths.
"Thirty-two games a year," he said. "Maximum 36 minutes. That’s all I need at this point in my career. So as long as China teams want me, I’ll be here."
Arenas last appeared in the NBA with the Grizzlies in 2011/12, notching 4.2 PPG over 12.4 minutes per game in 17 regular season contests. He totaled just 23 minutes in six playoff games for Memphis last year. He signed a six-year, $110MM contract with the Wizards in 2008, who traded him to Orlando in 2010. Arenas is still receiving money from the Magic, who used the amnesty clause to remove him from their roster and salary cap in 2011.
It's a Wednesday night full of storylines in the NBA, as LeBron James and the Heat go for their 20th consecutive win in Philly and Carmelo Anthony returns to Denver for the first time since he was traded to the Knicks. Let's round up all the other Wednesday links from around the league here:
- An NBA executive told Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen, via text, that he would be "shocked" if any team picked up Gilbert Arenas or Tracy McGrady in the final month of the season. Both former NBA stars have spent this season playing in China.
- Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com caught up with 76ers president Rod Thorn on what has become an intriguing organizational situation in Philadelphia due to Andrew Bynum. While Thorn initially refused to comment on Bynum, he eventually said, "It's a little bizarre, no doubt about it." (Twitter links)
- With regard to Nikola Vucevic, who the Sixers gave up for Bynum and is now averaging a double-double at 22-years-old, Thorn said, "Nik is a very skilled player with great hands. You could tell he had a very good future ahead of him." (via Twitter)
- Sacramento city officials have given themselves an eight day window to construct a financing plan for a new downtown arena, writes Ryan Lillis, Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee. With that timeline, the plan would be complete five days before the city council voted on the plan on March 26. Cementing the terms of an arena deal is vital in the city's claim to keep the Kings.
- The Bee's Marcos Breton writes that many knowledgable businessmen in the Sacramento area and beyond consider the city's last-ditch effort to keep the Kings a fool's errand. Breton spoke with a leading authority on arena financing who describes the offer from the Seattle group "considerably stronger."
Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld took to Twitter tonight to offer thoughts on various questions about the NBA. Here are some of the highlights:
On this date in 1987, Michael Jordan won his first NBA Slam Dunk contest in Seattle with his famous leap from the foul line maneuver that wowed the sold-out crowd and viewers across the country. Let's catch up on the latest news and stories making headlines from around the league.
- Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe hasn't let himself get too concerned about trade rumors involving his name, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. “Right now, I’m focused on Miami,” Bledsoe said. “We play Miami next and I’m thinking about Miami. I’m just worried about winning. Everything else is going to happen.”
- Unlike in 2012 when the whole world knew Anthony Davis would be selected number one overall in the NBA draft, there is a lack of certainty surrounding the pick in 2013, says Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd). Ford analyzes six different potential selections, including Kentucky star Nerlens Noel, who he considers to be the closest thing to a top pick at this point in the year.
- Max Ogden of Sheridan Hoops looks at the current situations of former NBA stars such as Gilbert Arenas and Tracy McGrady as they continue their careers overseas.
Tonight's schedule includes a battle for Western Conference positioning between the Rockets and Jazz, Andrew Bogut's possible return to the court for the Warriors, and an opportunity for the Wizards to win their third straight game (and eighth of their last 11). As we look forward to the evening's slate of games, let's check out a few odds and ends from around the NBA….
- Dominic McGuire's second 10-day contract with the Pacers has expired, and the team has elected to let him go rather than sign him to a rest-of-season deal. According to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star (via Twitter), the Pacers will likely bring back Sam Young, though it's not clear whether he'll get a 10-day contract or a rest-of-season deal. Indiana released Young before his contract became guaranteed, and shortly after he suffered an ankle sprain.
- Agent Bill McCandless expects the Timberwolves to keep Mickael Gelabale for more than just one 10-day contract, as he tells Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype: "Based on my conversations with Timberwolves management, I understand that Minnesota is very likely to offer M.G. a second 10-day contract." (Twitter links).
- With Sacramento and Seattle potentially set to battle over the Kings, Neema Hodjat of RealGM.com makes a case for why the NBA should consider expansion as an alternative to relocation.
- We heard last week that Kris Joseph had signed a contract to play for Orleans in France, but David Pick of Sportando reports (via Twitter) that Joseph backed out of that deal for a possible D-League offer.
- A.J. Mitnick of Sheridan Hoops makes his early picks for the top 10 European prospects of the 2013 draft class.
- Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas, and D.J. White are among the former NBA players in China whose CBA teams won't qualify for the postseason, according to Shaopeng Shen of Hupu.com (via Twitter). As such, those players would be free to return to the NBA sooner, assuming there's any interest.
- The Timberwolves received a disabled player exception worth about $381K for Malcolm Lee, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times and HoopsWorld. Considering how small that amount is, the team is unlikely to use the exception.