The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Uh Oh

Gilbert Arenas charged with felony

The report suggests a plea deal will be forthcoming, which I assume will involve him getting it down to a tongue-lashing and a misdemeanor, which should be enough to save his contract. Whether it saves his tenure with the Wiz or gets him back on the court this year is anyone’s guess.

UPDATE:

Yep, there’s a plea deal coming, but apparently the I’m-an-athlete-get-me-out-of-here card only goes so far- Arenas is still looking at a felony rap and possible prison time. That opens the door to a possible contract voiding procedure, which will be an absolute shitstorm of epic proportions if it goes down. The Players Union decision makers will fight it house to house and to the last man, some of their rank and file will probably dissent thinking it’s not the right hill to die on with another CBA wrangle upcoming, Arenas will likely publicly lose his mind again since what’s he got to lose really, the potential Crittendon prosecution may be going on simultaneously, and when you combine NBA+labor issues+guns+superstar player+total loon like Arenas, you can guarantee the media coverage will be wall-to-wall. In short, prepare to get really sick of this story.

Oddly, as much of a mess as that would be, it might be the better route to take than the alternative for the Wiz. Arenas is completely, totally untradeable right now and has I believe 5 years remaining on his current deal at a salary which makes him, like it or not, the team’s top player. If the article above is correct about how completely the Wiz have cut ties with Arenas (and I’ve no reason to doubt it), then the damage is essentially done relationship-wise; if he comes back, it’s likely to be for sullen, half-assed selfish bursts of play in between time off for knee injuries, and that’s the sort of thing which can and will cast an absolute pall over a team for a decade and make rebuilding near-impossible. Trying to contend wouldn’t be much easier- with Arenas snitching on teammates, some of whom back him and some of whom do not, there’s much more likely to be simmering resentment rather than any sort of pulling together in that locker room. There wasn’t overwhelming talent to begin with, and the team is reportedly now in fire sale/make us an offer mode in an effort to be left with a cheaper bad team if nothing else.

All that being the case, if you can’t rebuild and you can’t contend with Arenas still a part of your team, why not void the contract? If you have, say, a 15% chance of actually succeeding that’s still a better chance than you’d get by sticking with the status quo. The only arguments against that which seem persuasive are based on the knock-on effects of building up ill-will with players, dragging the team through the PR nightmare of a court fight, etc. But it remains possible that given Arenas’s issues the Wiz might actually come off better in that fight in the court of public opinion especially if Gilbert has to argue his side from prison, and at the end of the day players go where the money is- I don’t know if built-up resentment would amount to much, especially given the general distaste for Agent 0 right now. We’ll see where it goes, but I’d say the chances of the Wiz taking this route have gone up substantially if Arenas actually pleads to a felony. And I’d say that we’re about one more Arenas-being-stupid-in-public moment away from it being better than 50/50 odds.

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January 14, 2010 - Posted by | Other NBA

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