For Orlando Magic fans, the most interesting game on tonight’s schedule will be played in Portland, Ore., even though it will have no impact whatsoever on the Magic’s playoff positioning.
This could be Arenas’ last chance to play in the NBA. He was nowhere near his best during his brief Magic tenure, because he had lingering problems with his left leg; those problems robbed him of his quickness and his explosiveness. He is 20 pounds lighter now, and it will be interesting to see whether he can get up and down the court.
He now says he will be content to be a bench player. But he also said the same thing at the outset of his Magic tenure, and he ultimately was disappointed that he didn’t receive more playing time.
The Commercial Appeal ran an interesting Q-and-A with Arenas today. One of the highlights was Arenas’ reaction to being designated the Magic’s amnesty player back in December:
“The amnesty was just business. Everyone wants to look at it like they used the amnesty because they didn’t want me. When the amnesty first came about the first name thrown out there was mine. It’s my contract. I had a large contract. If you’re a team trying to rebuild and bring in people, you’ve got to get rid some of those big contracts. Once I read about the amnesty, I figured I was going to get amnestied. It was chance to for me to take some more time to rebuild myself. I was just hoping I didn’t get picked up like Chauncey Billups did. I was praying that I didn’t just get picked up by a team and just be there.”
Stan Van Gundy said he wishes Arenas well. Van Gundy said Arenas can help a team if Arenas is healthy.
Here’s video of Van Gundy answering a question about Arenas’ signing:
“The guy worked incredibly hard this offseason to lose over 20 pounds, which puts him not only in better shape but puts a lot less pressure on that leg,” Van Gundy said.
“I always applaud it when guys take responsibility like that for their performance. I think that will help him a great deal, and I don’t think his skill level has eroded at all. I think if he’s physically sound he can be a helluva player.”Follow Josh Robbins on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to our Orlando Magic newsletter at OrlandoSentinel.com/joinus.