Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith continues to say that he and the organization haven’t decided how they’ll handle the amnesty provision that will be included in the final collective bargaining agreement.
Parsing a general manager’s words to find hidden meaning can be a dangerous undertaking, but in this case, I think the point is obvious.
Whether the team decides to “amnesty” Gilbert Arenas or Hedo Turkoglu could hinge on what Dwight Howard tells the organization about his long-term plans.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying Howard will offer any suggestions about what the team should do with amnesty. Not at all.
Instead, if the Magic decide they have no other choice but to trade Howard — and, again, they want to keep him for years to come — the team would be well-served to include either Arenas or Turkoglu in the deal. Then the Magic eventually would be able to use the amnesty provision on the player whom they didn’t trade away.
That’s one reason why it would make no sense for Smith and the team’s ownership to commit publicly or privately to a specific amnesty move right now.
Should the Magic decide they must trade Howard — a decision that would be necessitated only by Howard or his agent taking the unexpected step of saying there’s no way he would re-sign with the Magic — the team would benefit greatly by including Arenas in the deal instead of Turkoglu.
According to HoopsHype, which tracks player salaries, Arenas is due $62,423,766 in salary over the next three seasons (as long as he doesn’t take the bizarre step of opting out of his deal after the 2011-12 season). Turkoglu is due $34,000,000 (although there is some question about how much of his last year is guaranteed).
So, Arenas is scheduled to earn $28,423,766 more than Turkoglu over the next three years.
Isn’t it obvious that any organization — even Orlando, which has willingly gone into the luxury tax in recent years — would rather spend $34 million in amnesty payments than $62.4 million?
The question is, would any team be willing to accept Arenas’ additional $28.4 million?
It might seem implausible that a team would accept Arenas, but Howard might be good enough a player and that big a drawing card to make accepting Arenas palatable. Of course, Howard would have to assure that team that he would re-sign long-term.
And, remember, teams will jockey for the chance to acquire Howard. Perhaps the Magic could play one franchise against the other as those teams make trade offers.
The Los Angeles Lakers could withstand to pay Arenas’ salary. There are reports that the Lakers could make as much as Kings staying put" rel="nofollow" href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/sam_amick/04/23/kings.sacramento/index.html" target="_blank">$5 billion over the next 25 years in its new regional TV deal.
Remember, a team can use the amnesty provision only once during the life of the new collective bargaining agreement. And amnesty only may be used prior to a season, so a team can’t make an amnesty cut once the season begins.
Other stories to follow today:
• Today is the first day since the lockout went into effect July 1 that front-office executives and coaches will be permitted to have anything more than cursory conversations with players. It’s possible that Smith will meet with Howard today, but it’s also not necessary that they meet today as opposed to some other time in the near future.
• I would guess that coach Stan Van Gundy will begin speaking with his players today. During regular offseasons, Van Gundy is in touch with each player, even if it’s just by text message, at least once a week.
• Players can continue to visit Amway Center for voluntary workouts.
What I’m reading:
• Blazers" rel="nofollow" href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AuYqCATl34TTlbzTpX1U7QG8vLYF?slug=mc-spears_greg_oden_blazers_nba_120411" target="_blank">Oden leaning toward re-signing with Blazers (Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports)
• New Orleans Hornets' free agents David West, (Jimmy Smith, The Times-Picayune)
• Slimmer Love looking for a fat contract (Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune)
Follow Josh Robbins on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins and e-mail him at email@example.com. Subscribe to our Orlando Magic newsletter at OrlandoSentinel.com/joinus.