Posted on: January 27, 2010 10:38 pm
Just as Gilbert Arenas had little choice but to accept a season-long suspension from David Stern on Wednesday, the three-time All-Star will be a helpless bystander in negotiations that will determine his future in the NBA.
Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said after the suspension was announced that the team wasn't ruling out any options, including termination of Arenas' contract, which has four years and $81 million left after this season. An attorney familiar with the negotiations that resulted in Arenas accepting the rest-of-the-season ban without appeal said it's understood among the parties that such a stiff penalty would just about rule out a successful attempt by the Wizards to void his deal.
"One of reasons the punishment was so severe is that the NBA recognizes that the Wizards probably won't be able to void the contract," the person said.
But Arenas feels abandoned by the Wizards, and particularly by Grunfeld, who orchestrated the decision to turn Arenas over to legal and NBA authorities on Dec. 24, the same day CBSSports.com first reported that Arenas was the target of a firearms investigation. While some in the organization hold out hope that the relationships can be repaired -- a result that would make it easier for the Wizards to get fair value for him in a trade -- the fallout from this incident will be too much to overcome.
"How do you bring him back in that locker room?" the person familiar with the situation said. "And what's the next step? Is it a trade? You can't realistically expect to patch that up, no matter what anybody is saying. That relationship’s fractured."
As things stand now -- a little more than three weeks before the Feb. 18 trade deadline -- the Wizards will have to accept that they won't get fair value in an trade for Arenas. Short of a trade, the only solution to rid the Wizards of Arenas -- and vice versa -- would be a buyout reaching into the tens of millions. With the transfer of ownership from the family of the late Abe Pollin to prospective majority owner Ted Leonsis still up in the air, that's not a realistic option, either.
What happens to Arenas' salary? He will forfeit 1/110th of his $16.2 million base salary per game, a total of $7,065,634. According to a person familiar with CBA provisions for suspended players, the money typically is divided evenly between the NBA and players association charitable foundations. The league and union also could agree to let the Wizards keep the money, the source said. In either case, the Wizards get no break on their luxury tax bill.
Which somehow seems poetic. The Wizards haven't caught a break since they signed Arenas to the six-year, $111 million deal in the first place.
Posted on: January 27, 2010 12:11 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2010 6:46 pm
NEW YORK -- Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, whose dispute involving guns on NBA property plunged the league into another image crisis, were both suspended for the rest of the 2009-10 season Wednesday.
And he spoke Wednesday, loud and clear.