Now Gilbert Arenas and the Wizards have plenty of time -- to do the right thing

By Mike Wise
Friday, January 29, 2010

In this season of chaos and disappointment, David Stern gave the Wizards the best remedies of all Wednesday: time and distance.

By suspending Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton for the remainder of the NBA calendar, the commissioner essentially levied dual restraining orders.

The players are ordered to stay away from the franchise, whose season they detonated by bringing guns into the team's locker room at Verizon Center on Dec. 21. And the franchise can't put the players on the floor, where they can't pretend the incident didn't destroy team chemistry.

Arenas and Crittenton have time to rehabilitate their reputations, eight months before the opening of the 2010-11 training camps.

The Wizards have time, too, eight months to find a way to deal with the remaining $80 million left on Arenas's contract. Whether that results in attempting to void the deal, buying out a portion or finagling a trade for someone else's unwanted star, they don't have to take a lemon of a deal just because they want the divorce today.

And the real disenchanted in this depressing docudrama, the people who believed the Wizards were at the doorstep three years ago and had a bona fide superstar under contract until 2014, have time to ponder the most important questions a franchise can ask itself.

-- Will the team try to void Arenas's contract?

When team president Ernie Grunfeld said, "We will explore all options," he answered this question with a resounding yes. The team will look into the possibility of voiding the deal, possibly waiting for Arenas to be sentenced to jail to help build the argument.

Given that a team has never successfully voided a contract, it's an unlikely possibility.

More likely is a trade or buyout of a portion of the deal. He's already out $10 million for the worst decision of his life -- not counting Adidas pulling his endorsement deal -- so Arenas would probably try to make up whatever portion is lost in the buyout in his next deal with another team.

-- Can he come back to Washington?

Uh, no.

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