Arenas incident has silver lining
Opportunity rarely knocks for teams with bloated payrolls, underachieving players and more long-term contracts than a bailed-out Fortune 500 company. But for the Washington Wizards, it's banging on their door. And all they have to do is open it and shove
With the latest incident involving the three-time All-Star guard, in which D.C. police are investigating whether Arenas, who has admitted to bringing four unloaded handguns into the Verizon Center, brandished a weapon in a threatening manner toward teammate
According to multiple league sources, Washington is making its entire roster available and is open to all trades, including for players who bring less talent but have shorter contracts. But while interest in veterans, like
But Wizards general manager
The move, which would free the Wizards of any financial obligation and instantly remove Arenas' salary from their books, is complicated but not unprecedented. The NBA's collective bargaining agreement clearly states that a contract can be voided if a player "at any time, fails, refuses, or neglects to conform his personal conduct to standards of good citizenship, good moral character (defined here to mean not engaging in acts of moral turpitude, whether or not such acts would constitute a crime), and good sportsmanship ..." It could be argued that any criminal charges leveled against Arenas would constitute a failure in personal conduct.
Cases of voided contracts in the NBA are few and far between.
Think about it: By voiding Arenas' contract, Washington would get a reprieve from what has become a basketball death sentence. With Arenas' salary -- which escalates from $17.7 million in 2010-11 to $19.3 million in 2011-12 to more than $20 million for the final three years of the contract -- off the books, the Wizards are suddenly players in the summer of 2010. They can become
Sources said the team would prefer to move Jamison, 33, a good soldier and automatic 20-point, eight-rebound performer every night. The free-spending Cavaliers have long been enamored with the versatile Jamison, and they might be willing to absorb the final two years of underachieving
There is, of course, plenty of risk. If the Wizards do void Arenas' contract and lose a court fight with the union, they would be stuck with a player they don't want (and who knows he isn't wanted) and forced to either buy out his deal (highly unlikely considering how much money is involved) or trade him for anything they can get.
Still, this is a chance for Washington to start from scratch. The Arenas-Jamison-Butler core is not going to win a championship, and it may not even get the Wizards into the playoffs. Arenas' latest run-in is Washington's chance to change all that, to get the franchise back on track. That is, if the Wizards welcome the opportunity.