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Gilbert Arenas has worn out his welcome in Washington
The issue the Wizards must deal with right now is that of a superstar and a team run amok. Basketball players playing cards on chartered airplanes happens all the time. If you have ever been on an NBA charter (I have) you can walk to the back of the plane and see thousands of dollars in cash sitting in the pot. Exactly what happened with Arenas and Crittenton that led to the incident isn't important except that it gives a snapshot into the minds of the two players. An argument over a card game is solved how? By threatening each other with guns?
Arenas says his guns were not loaded. Even if the same is true of Crittenton, how could either know for sure? Where did the joke end and the insanity begin? Stories of people being tragically mistaken about whether or not guns were loaded happen in this country almost every day.
This is a team that began the season with high hopes after the hiring of Flip Saunders to coach and the trades that brought Mike Miller and Randy Foye to town to join the three all-stars, Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison.
Already Saunders has publicly called out his players for not playing defense. Arenas has publicly feuded with Butler and, even though his statistics look good, they aren't nearly as impressive in fourth quarters when the Wizards almost routinely collapse.
And now this.
Arenas really is, as he puts it, "a goofball." There doesn't appear to be any real malice in him. But he's become a serious distraction in the locker room, and this is the second time he has been involved with guns in his NBA career. The Wizards should do anything they can to get rid of him.
Here's the problem: No one in the NBA wants him. They'll take Butler and Jamison -- both good guys who are still very productive players. They'll take some of the Wizards' young players. But Arenas? With $80 million left on his contract at the end of this season and all of his various troubles?
Not so much. In fact, there are people in the NBA who will tell you that when you take everything into consideration, Arenas has the worst contract in the league. About the only way to move him would be to package him with two young players and a first-round draft pick in return for someone else with a bad contract. (No, Tracy McGrady doesn't qualify because his deal is up this year and thus not considered so bad.)
That's a steep price, especially in the short term, but it may be what the Wizards have to pay.
There was a time when Arenas was the most popular athlete in this town. That time, sadly, has long passed. It is time for Gilbert -- and his guns -- to get out of town by sundown.
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