ORLANDO, Fla. - Gilbert Arenas last summer imagined himself in New York reviving his career in Mike D'Antoni's guard-friendly system. Then he got word that D'Antoni didn't want him.

"I heard he said I wasn't his type of point guard,'' Arenas said. "I guess because everybody is still stuck in 2006-2007 when I was scoring a lot . . . And I understand when you've had Steve Nash all those years, you don't need a guy out there trying to score 50 or 60.''

D'Antoni denied Arenas' statement and said acquiring the once-prolific (and recently troubled) guard from the Wizards was not a realistic option for the Knicks during the offseason. "I don't even think we had the [salary] cap room,'' he said.

As for saying Arenas is not his type of point guard, D'Antoni replied, "It never came from me.''

Arenas' name came up in preliminary discussions, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, but there were too many issues: his contract (four years, $80 million remaining), his surgically repaired knee and the controversy surrounding his gun-related locker-room incident with teammate Javaris Crittenton last season that resulted in a 50-game suspension.

The Magic hopes the arrival of Arenas - along with Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu, who came in a separate trade with the Suns on Dec. 18 - can help produce its first title.

Arenas, once one of the NBA's most colorful and promoted personalities, seems relieved to leave his past in Washington and get a fresh start in Orlando. He said he needed the trade "because I can be myself again'' and because "I don't have to tip-toe around the locker room and tip-toe throughout the city.''

The gun incident hurt his once-marketable personality, and Arenas said the negative attention caused him to recoil.

"Yeah, I had troubles, but I could still play. Just give me a chance,'' he said. "Don't take both away from me. Don't take my image and my basketball away from me. So I was depressed a little bit about that, but I'm happy again.''