The Orlando Magic need to trade for Gilbert Arenas right now. The Magic have nothing to lose this year except for playoff position. In an offseason where almost every team in their conference made drastic changes that will result in improvements, the Magic made very few if any that will be of concern to the other top three teams in the league. Trading for Arenas would instantly put them back in the championship conversation. It might not even take much to land Arenas aside from giving up Vince Carter, in which case the team would be improved. If they had to throw in one or two more assets as well, I would still do it.
Michael Vick who is currently on his way back up the NFL superstar ladder, is an example as to why now is not the time to give up on Gilbert Arenas. It's easy to argue that he's washed up, a cancer, unpredictable, etc. But if you put aside your pessimism for a second and just think about the pairing of Gilbert Arenas and Dwight Howard your basketball mind begins to wonder.
Last season much like Vick's, was basically a wash for Gilbert. His numbers were down in almost every category and we all know that he was suspended for most of the season. With that being said, compare his numbers to Vince Carter and he still would have been equal if not better in terms of performance. More importantly though, you know that he would have been an improvement in the playoffs since he's a proven commodity in the clutch. If Gilbert was able play in Orlando's system which is predicated on launching wide open threes in transition and off of ball rotations, could you imagine the percentages and numbers he would put up then? Running the floor and spotting up at the three point line, and when in the half court set, receiving kick out passes from Dwight Howard off of double teams and ball rotations? It's all starting to come together now isn't it?
I bring up Michael Vick for the similarity of their situations, but more importantly for performance and career similarities as well. When Vick was first back on the market, teams were shying away from him because they were worried he had "lost some of his speed" and because he might still be trouble for their team off the field. They also didn't want to have to deal with the media attention that his signing would bring. Gilbert has all of the same concerns and warnings. But as Vick has proven, even if he did lose a step or two, he still was going to be faster than anyone trying to sack or catch him. In the same vain-but in a different skill set and sport obviously-if we have learned anything about Arenas it's that his confidence will never waver nor will his shooting stroke. When Vick was on the Falcons, he never played with a top flight wide receiver or offensive coordinator. Now that he's in Philadelphia with both, he's thriving.
Since Gilbert has been in the league, he hasn't played for an organization that hasn't asked him to be everything for his team. Along with that he has never had enough defensive help that would allow him to truly thrive. Kind of like when Vick was in Atlanta and had to play superman every Sunday, Gilbert has had to be Agent Zero every season of his career in order for his team to win. Check his career splits for wins and losses.
Arenas has never played for a team or coach that was known for defense. This would change in Orlando. Dwight Howard is the defensive anchor and star of the team so Stan Van Gundy would be able to hold Arenas accountable if he was slipping. But again, as we have learned from the Michael Vick reclamation project, if Gilbert was in a solid system that translated to wins, perhaps a lot of worries would be forgotten. This is all easier to write than it would actually be to do, but Gilbert would have every reason to stay on the straight and narrow. He would relish being the X-factor to combat the Heat's big three. He would love being back in the spotlight for nationally televised games. Having seen how Ron Artest has repaired his image, imagine what Gilbert could do. This guy once had a blog on the NBA's official website, what would he have after playoff success with the Magic?
You don't think that Arenas, Rashard Lewis, Howard and Jameer Nelson could at least hang with Miami, if not overtake them? Gilbert is one of the few players in the league who has no fear of anyone. He wouldn't shy away from matching up with Dwyane Wade in the Conference Finals and you wouldn't shy away from watching it. There are so many more reasons why Gilbert should be on the Magic right now that I don't even need to get into how his forays to the paint would open up things for Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis. We'll just move on to your next counter point.
He can't stay healthy? Fair enough. But who likes to live in the past. Look at it this way; he's saved a lot of wear and tear on himself. Right now he's a young 28 years old and won't be 29 until January. At this point in his career he's only played a total of 17,334 minutes. To put that in perspective, it's less than Carmelo Anthony's 18,747. If the Magic buy Gilbert now for the low price of Vince Carter and a draft pick or rookie, they could be reaping big rewards in late May. The Magic have a window right now that is already starting to close. It wouldn't make sense to wait for Chris Paul to maybe come to town in the future. And if that were to happen, he'll have just as many miles on him as Gilbert did when he tore up his knee the first time. Orlando needs to act fast, before Gilbert starts playing well with John Wall and his price goes up. But even if it did, they still should go after him.
In late May when the Magic are down by five with two minutes to go, do you expect Dwight Howard to score twelve points all by himself? Will Rashard Lewis? Jameer Nelson? That's why you need Gilbert Arenas Orlando.