To the surprise of no one, the Wizards finally traded Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic yesterday. Except Washington didn’t receive Vince Carter in exchange.
Instead, the Wiz simply swapped Arenas for Rashard Lewis, another highly overpaid player not living up to his contract. Mr. Grunfeld’s reasoning behind the move was simple–make sure this is John Wall’s team moving forward, and get a massive contract off the books a year earlier than planned.
But that logic was flawed. Yes, Lewis will be gone before Arenas, but he’s also significantly worse than Arenas on the court. He’s averaging a measly 12.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, and doesn’t fit into Washington’s lineup at all. With Josh Howard back and Andray Blatche cemented into the power forward position, where does Lewis come in?
I understand how hard Arenas’s contract was to move. But we’ve known for a year now that Magic GM Otis Smith is enamored with Arenas and would always be open to a deal. Was a Lewis for Arenas swap really the best Grunfeld could do? Why not hold out for a draft pick or some young talent? Heck, with this season already spiraling out of control and John Wall likely to miss a significant chunk of time, why not just keep Arenas around until at least the All-Star break to see if a better deal presents itself? And if the Wizards could have made it through an entire season with a healthy Arenas, suddenly, he doesn’t look like such a risk to other teams.
This seems like nothing more than another failed attempt by our general manager to “rebuild.” You don’t rebuild by swapping one huge contract for another huge contract. You rebuild by taking in large expiring deals and draft picks, like the Suns pulled off when they grabbed Vince Carter.
But that’s just my two cents. What do you think of the Arenas-Lewis deal?