On Friday January 15, Gilbert Arenas pleaded guilty to felony possession of a firearm without a license. Although his actual sentence will have to wait until March 26, Arenas has already begun to feel the consequences of his decision. Adidas has already dropped their sponsorship of Arenas, but he is also being hit in another pocket.
Two years ago, Gilbert Arenas signed a six-year, $111 million contract with the Washington Wizards. NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Arenas indefinitely without pay, and the length of the suspension will most likely be determined after the sentencing. The large sum of money Gilbert Arenas was set to earn in the years to come may be in jeopardy.
The Washington Wizards have multiple incentives encouraging them to void Arenas’ contract. The Wizards have been looking to dump large contracts to jump-start a rebuilding process. Arenas is still a great player, but after the turmoil he caused the franchise, the Wizards have no reason to keep him with the team during a rebuilding phase.
However, the Wizards may have a difficult time voiding Arenas’ contract. The NBA Players Association will fight the Washington Wizards attempt to void Arenas’ contract at any cost. It is unlikely that the Wizards will be able to dump Gilbert Arenas’ contract in such an easy manner. However, it is likely that the Wizards will attempt to trade Arenas, and most importantly to Gilbert, he is still without pay.
Commissioner David Stern has routinely come down hard on criminal offenders playing in the NBA, and Arenas will not be an exception. Following the March 26 sentencing, sports fans will get a clearer picture of what this mistake means to Arenas, but it is clear that
his decisions are already hurting this once heralded player.