Otis Smith has been busy this first day of free agency. This is not just rumors either.
The Magic, fighting off rumors about a potential Dwight Howard trade and fighting off rumors that the team plans on filing a tampering charge against the Nets for a reported meeting Howard took with Nets general manager Billy King and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in Miami, made two moves to begin reshaping the roster in hopes of getting back into championship contention and re-signing Dwight Howard.
Orlando announced that it has waived Gilbert Arenas using the amnesty provision. Arenas struggled last year after coming to Orlando in a trade. He averaged only 8.0 points per game while shooting 34.4 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent on 3-pointers in 21.8 minutes per game. Arenas played 50 games with the Magic. More importantly in this move, Arenas' remaining three years and $62.4 million are wiped off the books as it pertains to the salary cap. In terms of committed salary this year, the Magic's payroll counting against the cap drops from $74.8 million to around $55 million. Yes, Orlando is under the cap... momentarily.
The amnesty waiver was necessary for Orlando to complete a sign and trade deal with Boston for Glen Davis.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reported earlier today that the Magic and Celtics were close to a sign and trade deal that would send Brandon Bass to Boston for Glen Davis.
Davis averaged a career-high 11.7 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game in 29.5 minutes per game. He posted a career-low 49.9 percent true shooting percentage last year however but also added a career-best 16.4 percent defensive rebound rate.
Compared to Bass -- 11.2 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, 57.1 percent true shooting percentage and 16.7 percent defensive rebound rate -- Davis is about the same. Even salary-wise they will be about the same. Bass was scheduled to make $4 million this year with an early termination option for next year. Davis reportedly has signed a four-year, $26 million deal (an average of $4 million per year).
This feels like a step to the side and a move to take on more salary.
The extenuating circumstance to this deal appears to be that list of players Dwight Howard gave to Otis Smith earlier this week and before the lockout. Davis was rumored to be on that list of players Howard wanted the Magic to acquire. Orlando, with Arenas out, can now have some more maneuverability in trades to get that star the team wants.
Even with Howard's rumored trade request coming (or not... who knows at this point), the Magic are going to be trying to get a second star. It appears these two moves give them some flexibility to do that.
Is trading Davis for Bass a good one? Only time will tell.
Davis has a penchant for hitting some big shots, has playoff experience and is better defensively than Bass. But he is not as good of a shooter or offensive player. There are slight differences between the two. They are pretty much the same. We won't be able to judge Davis until we see him on the floor and see how he fits with the team.
Smith has started implementing his reloading plan. But clearly he still has work to do.