Mark F. Gray
Now that NBA Commissioner David Stern has taken the unprecedented step of suspending Gilbert Arenas and Javarris Crittenton for the rest of the season its time for this sordid disaster to come to an end. Since it appears obvious that the franchise is looking to take a wrecking ball to the roster the Wizards should buy out the remainder of his contract and send Agent Less Than Zero packing.
Arenas is owed $80 million for the balance of the five year deal and he’ll never get another one in that pay grade. Teams may take a chance on signing him for the league minimum or the mid level exception but there is not another team that will consider paying him the superstar size deal that he just blew.
It is in the best interest of the Wizards to buy out the deal rather than void it because in the misguided world of this NBA they could be black balled by free agents for pulling the plug on a guy they let get out of control. At 50 cents on the dollar the franchise would pay him $40 million to get lost but it would also save them $40 million. Most important it would salvage the reputation amongst Arenas peers, many who become available in this summer’s free agent shopping spree, and give them decent money to spend on that market.
Team president Ernie Grunfeld finally came out of hiding on Wednesday to say “hopefully this represents some form of closure” although another disappointing season continues and the season ticket holders are the ones who have taken the biggest hit. Arenas remains in never, never land reportedly telling his confidants that he could never play for Grunfeld again. The cruel irony is they conspired to run former coach Eddie Jordan from Chinatown to the city of brotherly scrubs.
This is a divorce that doesn’t have to be ugly when there are irreconcilable differences. There is no love lost so both parties should do right by each other with a fair and equitable resolution quickly so they can both move on. Forget the mediation, arbitration, or union intervention Arenas needs to hire proper representation to negotiate the buyout so he will get half.
No matter how disrespected Arenas feels there is a chance for him to rehab himself and regain a semblance of his NBA career. That’s much better off than Crittenton who is probably an outsider unless he can remake himself overseas.