January 14, 2010

Suspended Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was charged with felony gun possession on Thursday in connection with a locker-room incident with a teammate last month.

Arenas was charged with one count of carrying an unlicensed pistol, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. The charges were filed in D.C. Superior Court.

Arenas brought four unloaded handguns into the Verizon Center last month, saying he wanted them out of reach from his children at his home. The NBA's collective bargaining agreement prohibits players from carrying firearms at league arenas.

On Dec. 21, he took the guns out of his locker in what he said was a "misguided effort to play a joke" on teammate Javaris Crittenton. The two reportedly were at odds over a gambling debt.

Arenas was suspended indefinitely without pay on Jan. 6, one day after he pretended to shoot his teammates during a pregame huddle in Philadelphia. NBA commissioner David Stern said the antics of the Wizards' leading scorer showed he "is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game."

Earlier Thursday, police executed a warrant to search for a gun in Crittenton's apartment in Virginia but reportedly did not seize anything. Crittenton's role in the locker-room incident remains unclear, though he said he did nothing wrong.

Arenas is averaging 22.6 points and 7.2 assists this season for Washington (12-25), which lost to the Hawks 94-82 on Wednesday in Atlanta. Arenas, 28, is making $16.2 million this season in the second year of a six-year, $111 million contract. Each missed game will cost Arenas about $147,000 in salary. According to the collective bargaining agreement, players suspended for more than 12 games can appeal the ban before an independent arbitrator.

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