Tag Archives: gilbert arenas

Basketball is basketball and Arenas deserves to stay in Washington.

The Washington Wizards are a new team with only a few pre-scandal players still on the roster. John Wall is now the leader of this team, JaVale McGee is a rising star and Ted Leonsis is now the owner of the franchise. That’s what we should focus on, right?

Nope. Gilbert Arenas is, and it’s not for the reasons when he was the star of this franchise.

He came to media day sporting a scruffy beard, a subdued demeanor and not a hint of a smile. It’s obvious that Agent 0 is a changed man. He no longer wears his trademark “0,” shedding the nickname he embraced from his rags to riches days.

He’s number 9 now and still deserves your attention.

“I lost all feeling a long time ago,” Arenas told reporters. “Basketball is basketball.” He couldn’t be more right. It’s no longer what takes place off the court, it’s what he does on it. That’s what truly needs to matter now.

Arenas was crucified by the DC media and fans for the incidents that ignited a firestorm last season, but now he is back and Wizards fans may be forced to embrace him.

And you should too because people deserve second chances, especially when they’ve paid the price for their mistakes.

I was one of the people that tore apart Arenas for the decisions he made, but he served his time and understands the consequences of his actions. He spent time in prison and a halfway house, something a large majority of the population cannot even fathom. The drama is gone and this is a new organization but Arenas is still here. So what’s the problem? There is none.

Redemption is the key word in this instance and Wizards fans need to give him a shot at it.

Arenas is under contract until 2014, though many expect him out the door before then. Even Arenas has said he expects it.

“Teach John [Wall]the ins and outs of the game and then eventually go on and move on, and I’m on my way,” Arenas said after the Wizards preseason win against Dallas.

I don’t expect that to happen largely because of the three major story lines I mentioned at the top of this post.

Wall is taking over the point guard position this season, forcing Arenas to shooting guard, a spot critics have said he’s too small for. While he won’t be as effective moving out of the way, he can still contribute like the elite player he was before the injuries and suspension.

He won’t just be mentoring Wall, but the rest of the team, including McGee. You could argue that no one in the league has seen more and gone through as many ups and downs as Arenas. In any situation, Arenas can mentor and he doesn’t necessarily have to do it in front of the media so we won’t be able to evaluate the impact he will have on the team.

Leonsis is an owner who can and has embraced Arenas. I’ve said time and time again Leonsis is the best owner in sports and I don’t doubt his ability to help the once-troubled star.

Forget the psychoanalysis of Arenas and think about the statistics. Forget the character criticisms and think about the benefits he can have on a young team. His teammates like him and now all that matters is what he does on the court. Let’s embrace Arenas again and stop crucifying a player that has paid his price.

Thank you for your continued support of DMV Sports. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions feel free to email me at akecke@gmail.com.


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Leonsis and the Wizards: Build Your Own Franchise: NBA edition.

Picture via with-malice.com

The Wizards faced nothing but trouble last season for reasons you already know. With Abe Pollin’s passing, the franchise falls into good hands with Ted Leonsis, who bought the remaining 56% of the the Wizards and Verizon Center along with the assets of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The question going forward is how to rebuild the team with just $29 million owed in contracts for the 2010-11 season.

The likely number one pick, Kentucky’s John Wall will obviously bloat that number for the next few years, but who else will contend in the starting five for the franchise? All indications point to Gilbert Arenas staying in DC because of his large contract (owed $17.7 million next year with that number expanding to $22.3 million in 2013-14). The team has yet to announce whether they will pick Josh Howard’s team option worth $11.8 million, though I believe they will do so.

Andre Blatche ($3.26 million), Randy Foye ($4.79 million), Nick Young ($2.6 million), Al Thornton ($2.8 million), JaVall McGee ($2.46 million) are the other five players with contracts for the 2010-11 season.

Quinton Ross has also informed the team he will pick up the player option on his $1.1 million contract.

Who else?

I’ll come out and say it here: I do not believe they will pick up any other players from the 2009-10 season. That leaves just eight players under contrac and even some of those could be moved.

Add the Wizards #1, #30, and #35 picks and that’s ten players. That’s a Build Your Own Franchise: NBA edition if I’ve ever seen it.

Leonsis already has what he wants in front of him. With the Capitals, Leonsis put people that knew the game in the front office and built the team with the draft. With the current Wizards, he has three draft picks and are also shopping players currently on the roster for another pick in the late first, early second round.

There’s also the possibility of free agency, especially with Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and of course, LeBron James on the market. The only possibility the Wizards could take a player in free agency would be Bosh. He adds power in the paint and can easily detract attention from Arenas on the outside. The team does not need another point guard and we all know DC fans wouldn’t want LeBron in the nations capital.

General Manager Ernie Grunfield has control over what the team will do personnel wise and Leonsis has already said he will stay on the outside of decision makign as it pertains to the squad.

The rebuilding starts tomorrow at seven p.m. Build Your Own Franchise: NBA edition… begins.

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