NBA: Wizards could void Gilbert Arenas' contract in alleged gun incident ; news, notes and links
January 01, 2010, 8:40PM
Gilbert Arenas is attempting to blow off the controversy through "tweets," but his possibly reckless decision to draw a gun on a teammate inside the locker room will have far-reaching consequences for his career.
The NBA, local and federal authorities are investigating whether the Washington Wizards guard drew a gun on teammate Javaris Crittenton after a Wizards' practice Dec. 21. Crittenton reportedly also drew a gun.
Arenas and Crittenton have steadfastly denied drawing a gun.
Even if the incident proves false, Arenas and Crittenton likely face a stiff suspension for bringing a gun inside an NBA facility, which is strictly forbidden. And the two also face legal problems by possibly violating Washington D.C.'s very tight laws on gun use.
Arenas, long one of the league's more colorful and interesting players, is going to have a tough time joking his way out of this predicament. He spent one season throwing his jersey into the stands after home games, and some NBA people would describe his personality as quirky. However, there are others who say Arenas' actions go far beyond quirkiness.
"Quirky is when you tie your shoes different from others or something like that," one league executive said. "Gilbert is very different."
The whole affair may also give the Wizards the opportunity to void the six-year, $111 million contract Arenas signed in the summer of 2008. There are moral clauses written into most contracts, giving the team the option of voiding a contract for actions considered detrimental or embarrassing to the organization if publicized.
Arenas' contract will have four years and $78 million remaining after this year. However, the Wizards, who have posted a hugely disappointing 10-20 record this season, is open to trading anyone on their roster. The chance to shed the boat load of money remaining in Arenas' contract is certainly an option the Wizards are considering, particularly if he is hit with a lengthy suspension.
If the alleged incident is true, commissioner David Stern will come down very hard. Stern has consistently voiced a strong distaste for anything related to violence in the league and given the nature of this incident - openly drawn guns inside the locker room - Arenas could be suspended for the remainder of the season and then some. What will likely cause Stern to a very hard stance is the Wizards reportedly didn't tell the league about the incident until after media began to ask questions.
As I said previously, beyond the obvious safety issues, Stern and the league has been fighting the "thug" perception among some misguided people for years. Incidents like this don't help and you can be sure the image conscious Stern is probably furious.