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Washington Wizards: Reviewing the Gilbert Arenas-Rashard Lewis Trade

Matthew Brown@mlb923Correspondent IDecember 19, 2010

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 29:  Gilbert Arenas #9 of the Washington Wizards looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on November 29, 2010 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Washington Wizards took the next step in their ongoing process to rebuild the franchise with youth by parting with maligned guard Gilbert Arenas in a three-team trade. With Arenas out of town, the Wizards can hand the franchise's future over to rookie John Wall with full confidence. The deal brings Rashard Lewis to Washington, and there are a number of doubts about what he can do for the Wizards.

This move proves just how desperate the Wizards were to part ways with Arenas after three wasted seasons of his huge contract.

Lewis averaged 12.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, while shooting 41.9-percent from the field and an average 36.7 percent from beyond the arc with the Magic this season. Arenas was averaging 17.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game, while shooting 39.4-percent from the field and an above average 39.4-percent from three. There is clearly a trade-off with this deal, especially considering that the Wizards don't have an immediate need for a power forward.

That fact makes it apparent that the Wizards made the move to get Arenas out of town rather than improve themselves through addition.

Lewis will find time with Yi Jianlian being out until January, but what can the Wizards do with another big man who likes to shoot and little else? It is difficult to see Lewis as any sort of trade bait with his contract paying more than $45 million after this season with no team or player options. He will give a different type of experience boost, but he could easily be a bad influence on the historically boneheaded Andray Blatche.

The last thing the Wizards need is for Blatche to start falling in love with the three-ball the way Lewis has in his career.

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The most important feature in this deal is the breathing room for Arenas in Orlando and Wall here in Washington. Arenas will be part of a team looking for a championship, while Wall will no longer have to compete with the distraction of play alongside the Wizards' former franchise player. The real loser in the deal is Lewis who, despite being paid, is going from a contender to an inexperienced team with a growing loss total.

The winners in this deal are the Magic and Nick Young, with the Suns breaking even.

The Suns got Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus from Orlando for Earl Clark, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu. It is becoming evident that Phoenix isn't getting any younger and the formerly formidable run-and-gun team isn't getting it done. They're stocking up on trade bait to start their future plans.

Orlando got better in a big way by acquiring Richardson, Arenas and Turkoglu. All three are proven scorers, which takes the pressure off of Dwight Howard.

Back to Washington, where Young will have ample opportunity to shine with Arenas no longer on the team. Young has been frustrating for the Wizards, showing both explosive scoring and consistent inconsistency through his first three years in the NBA. This season, he has come of the bench for the first 23 games and averaged 13.6 points in 23 minutes per night.

In his first start of the season, Young matched a season-high 30 points, shooting 13-for-23 in a one-point loss to the Miami Heat.

The knock on Young is that he can be a bit of a black hole on offense. The ball goes to him, but rarely sees its way anywhere else except towards the basket. Even so, he is shooting 46.5-percent from the field, and will only benefit from Wall's return and Kirk Hinrich's veteran versatility at both guard spots. Young is a pure scorer who will occasionally chip in on the boards and get some assists, but is best suited for scoring.

For a young team, there is nothing wrong with pure scoring if it turns into wins.

The Wizards didn't end the day with a huge haul, but solved one lingering problem. No one could have foreseen the injuries that robbed Arenas of two seasons or the idiotic locker room gun stunt that took 50 more games from the former star. His exit marks the true beginning of the Wall era in Washington. It will be difficult to forget the excitement that was once synonymous with Arenas, but this is a move that works best for both sides.

It is difficult: the Wizards part ways with one of their best players in recent memory, and Arenas gets a chance to recapture his passion for the game. His career came to an unceremonious close in Washington, but with any luck he'll be smiling and Hibachi-ing again in his new Orlando digs. Good luck, Gil! 

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