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The Ramifications of Gilbert Arenas’ Sentence

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.

By Andrew Lahn

I am an aspiring sports agent currently completing my undergraduate degree at North Dakota State University. I hope to gain acceptance into Marquette Law School and continue to learn more about the profession I intend to enter. Since birth, I have been a sports fanatic, and I am a large supporter of Minnesota Sports.

7 replies on “The Ramifications of Gilbert Arenas’ Sentence”

I agree. There will be plenty of desperate teams looking for a boost of scoring at the guard position next season. I can’t see Arenas getting all-star money or a long term contract, but if the contract can’t be voided, he might be a spectator for awhile. I don’t think any team in the NBA, including the Wizards, thinks Arenas is worth that type of money anymore.

Any punishment Arenas faces is well deserved. With that said, the moralizing and hyperbole by the media on this is unbelievable. Have people forgotten what Kobe allegedly did? How about Ron Artest? Latrelle Sprewell? All of them came back into the league after serving their punishment, although Kobe wasn’t punished by the league. Arenas will be back, so long as he goes away for a little while, stays out of trouble and holds a teary press conference in which he apologizes for his actions.

I’m sure Arenas will get a second chance considering how forgiving the league and public are, and not to mention, he can still drop 30 on any given night. Latrell Sprewell was the last player to get his contract voided due to misconduct for choking his coach. I’m not sure if the Wizards will be able to get away with voiding Arenas’ contract.

I dont think the issue is if the Wiz CAN void the contract… its if they WILL. Its pretty clear the teams can void for a number of reasons that were agreed to by the players union under the CBA. The Warriors could have voided Montas contract and the Lakes could have void Vlad Radmanavic’s contract for less serious infractions, but they didnt.

Whether the team will is based on what type of ramifications this will have on getting draft picks or free agents in the future. All things being equal on a deal, a player might pick another team based on the Wiz’s actions.

I’m sure the Wizards would love to void Arenas’ contract, because they’re looking to dump cap as it is. He and Jamison have the two largest contracts on that team. Obviously the Warriors need Monta Ellis because he is a cornerstone of their franchise. His situation wasn’t that serious. Also, I don’t believe the Lakers could have voided Vlad Radmanavic’s contract, because at that point, they would’ve loved to have cap space to sign a free agent for their bench. Instead, they ended up trading him for, essentially, Adam Morrison. Morrison doesn’t see the court, so if they Lakers could’ve voided the contract, I’m sure they would have.

The difficulty in voiding the contract will be due to the fact that a team and the league may not independently punish a player for the same infraction. Basically, the players association will try to prevent the Wizards from voiding Arenas’ contract, if they choose to do so, under the premise that Arenas has already been punished for the incident by his year-long suspension without pay handed down from NBA commissioner David Stern himself.

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