Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Memphis Grizzlies set to sign Gilbert Arenas

Source : commercialappeal.com

Free-agent guard Gilbert Arenas exited an elevator in FedExForum with a pep in his step Monday morning following a workout for the Grizzlies.

He politely declined to comment when approached by a reporter.

“Hope to get to know you soon,” Arenas said, smiling, before he walked across the street to the Westin Hotel.

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, had already spent quality time with Arenas and now are on the verge of signing the 10-year veteran to a deal for the rest of this season, according to sources close to the process.

Arenas, 30, appeared slender and shot the ball well during the workout. Arenas only needed to pass a physical he was scheduled to take Monday afternoon and agree to a prorated veteran’s minimum contract requiring the Griz to pay about $300,000.

The deal, if completed in the next day or two, would allow Arenas to join the Grizzlies later this week in Portland. The Griz begin a four-game West Coast trip tonight at Sacramento.

Arenas has been unemployed since finishing last season with the Orlando Magic, who used the league’s one-time amnesty provision to waive Arenas and the remaining $62 million on his contract.

Arenas worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season but they declined to make him an offer.

Even though Arenas averaged a career-low 10.8 points a game and shot 36.6-percent in 2010-11 while playing for the Magic and Washington Wizards, the Griz want his experience because rookies Jeremy Pargo and Josh Selby haven’t inspired confidence as backups for starting point guard Mike Conley.

The hope is that Arenas would provide quality backcourt depth with his ability to be a playmaker and big-time shot maker. He is a three-time All-Star who averaged 21.2 points and 5.4 assists 10 NBA seasons.

No one in the Grizzlies organization seems concerned with Arenas’ so-called baggage. Arenas was suspended in 2010 after bringing guns into the Wizards’ locker room — an incident that led to him being traded to Orlando.

Since then, his character and ability to disrupt a team’s chemistry has been under fire. However, the Griz have been consistent with their handling reclamation projects concerning veteran players. Guards Jason Williams and Allen Iverson were both eventually released after not conforming to the team’s philosophy.

Arenas apparently answered any questions about his physical condition with the workout.

Arenas underwent a similar blood-spinning procedure on both of his knees and hips that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant received in Germany during the offseason. Arenas was treated by Dr. Edward Capla in New York City. Capla used to work under Dr. Peter Wehling, who treated Bryant and New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.

Still, it is not known yet how Arenas graded out on his physical with the Griz.

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