NBA Roundtable

Gilbert Arenas Suspended Indefinitely

In General NBA on January 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm

RealGM reports

The NBA has decided to suspend Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas indefinitely. Commissioner David Stern issued the following statement to the media on Wednesday:

“The possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us. I initially thought it prudent to refrain from taking immediate action because of the pendency of a criminal investigation involving the office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department, and the consideration of this matter by a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia. For the same reason, I directed the Wizards to refrain from taking any action. Wizards personnel continue to be interviewed by law enforcement authorities, some are scheduled for appearance before the grand jury and the investigation is proceeding with the intensity that one would expect for such a serious incident.

“Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game. Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.”

The Wizards supported Stern’s decision in a press release.

“We fully endorse the decision of the NBA to indefinitely suspend Gilbert Arenas. Strictly legal issues aside, Gilbert’s recent behavior and statements, including his actions and statements last night in Philadelphia, are unacceptable. Some of our other players appeared to find Gilbert’s behavior in Philadelphia amusing. This is also unacceptable. Under Abe Pollin’s leadership, our organization never tolerated such behavior, and we have no intention of ever doing so.”

I haven’t any interest in any of this nonsense … so I have nothing to say on the events. The aftermath, however, could effect the Wizards greatly.

We’ll just have to sit back and wait to see what happens to Gilbert Arenas. To see how long a suspension he gets and then evaluate how much damage that loss will create for the Washington Wizards this season.

Reason For Suspension

I believe the reason for Gilbert’s suspension is

According to the NBA Constitution and Bylaws Article 35(d):

(d) The Commissioner shall have the power to suspend for a definite or indefinite period, or to impose a fine not exceeding $50,000, or inflict both such suspension and fine upon any Player who, in his opinion, (i) shall have made or caused to be made any statement having, or that was designed to have, an effect prejudicial or detrimental to the best interests of basketball or of the Association or of a Member, or (ii) shall have been guilty of conduct that does not conform to standards of morality or fair play, that does not comply at all times with all federal, state, and local laws, or that is prejudicial or detrimental to the Association.

It was Gilbert’s actions after the locker room events that drew Stern’s quick response. Not a delayed response to the initial event — guns in locker room which is an ongoing investigation and why Crittenton hasn’t been suspended.

Suspension

Update: Suspension verdict coming soon — link

Gilbert Arenas will know his fate — at least in terms of how long he’ll be suspended from the NBA — by the end of next week, ESPN.com learned Friday.

Definitive penalties for Arenas and Crittenton would then be announced by commissioner David Stern, possibly as early as Wednesday, one source indicated.

The NBA has concluded its own investigation of the incident, and a comprehensive report on the episode was expected to be submitted to Stern by the end of this week.

Friday night marked the 10th consecutive game Arenas missed since Stern suspended him indefinitely for his behavior in the aftermath of the incident.

Union President Derek Fisher adds

Removing the “indefinite” tag and putting a defined number on the length of Arenas’ suspension will be a welcome development for Fisher, who said the union has been growing increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of Arenas’ suspension remaining indefinitely indefinite.

“I don’t know if there is a magic number of a certain amount of time, but I do think it’s something we have to keep an eye on, because I don’t know if it’s about fair or unfair, but if it sets the right precedent to indefinitely suspend someone and just kind of keep it hanging without putting a name or title or number on it and moving on from there,” Fisher told ESPN.com prior to the Lakers’ game against the Knicks.

“[Union director] Billy [Hunter] has been consistent with his message and his tone of really kind of waiting until the NBA comes out with what their position will be going forward, and until then we can’t respond. But I do know that we’re definitely keeping an eye on the indefinite part of the suspension, because I think everyone agrees that there will be a punishment that will fit the crime or the mistake he made, and what that should be, I don’t know if anyone knows exactly, but hopefully we’ll find out.”

Fisher said he had no opinion on what a proper punishment would be, because no player has ever been penalized under the gun prohibition clause that was added to the league’s labor agreement in 2005.

“It’s never happened before, so there isn’t anything you can match it to, per se,” Fisher said. “If I was commissioner? Well, I’m not privy what he has to balance, what all is at stake in terms of what message he sends to fans, to sponsors, to team owners. So there’s a lot more on his plate to contemplate before he makes a decision. We respect that process, but from a union perspective we have to protect the short term and long-term rights of our members, and when members do wrong things or make mistakes, they’ll be rightfully punished, and we’re just here to make sure that that doesn’t go beyond what it should be under the circumstances.”

Good news, we won’t have to wait much longer …

Update: It’s been decided and it is a season long suspension

NBA commissioner David Stern suspended Washington Wizards guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton for the remainder of the NBA season Wednesday, and ESPN.com learned that Arenas has agreed not to appeal the punishment.

Stern’s disciplinary actions were announced Wednesday afternoon after Arenas met face-to-face with Stern for the first time since the gun incident that put Arenas’ future with the Wizards in doubt.

The Washington Post first reported the length of the Arenas suspension, and a source with knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.com that Arenas told Stern that he expected and deserved to be suspended for the rest of the season.

Some quotes from Stern and the Wizards

Another source divulged to ESPN that Crittenton has not yet agreed to accept the suspension and that his counsel and the players union are in discussions on how they might challenge it.

“The NBA has conducted a thorough investigation of events relating to this matter,” Stern said. “It is not disputed that, following an argument on the team’s flight home from a game in Phoenix, both Mr. Arenas and Mr. Crittenton brought guns to the Verizon Center locker room and — with other players and team personnel present or nearby — displayed them to one another in a continuation of their dispute. The players engaged in this conduct despite a specific rule set forth in the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the Players Association prohibiting players from possessing a weapon at an NBA facility, and reminders of this prohibition given annually by the NBA to players both in writing and in person.

“The issue here is not about the legal ownership and possession of guns, either in one’s home or elsewhere. It is about possession of guns in the NBA workplace, which will not be tolerated,” Stern said.

“I have met separately with Mr. Arenas and with Mr. Crittenton. Both have expressed remorse for their actions and an understanding of the seriousness of their transgressions. Both have volunteered to engage in community service in order to turn the lessons they have learned into an educational message for others. I accept fully the sincerity of their expressions of regret and intent to create something positive from this incident.

“Nevertheless, there is no justification for their conduct. Accordingly, I am today converting Mr. Arenas’ indefinite suspension without pay to a suspension without pay for the remainder of the 2009-10 season, and am also suspending Mr. Crittenton without pay, effective immediately, for the remainder of the 2009-10 season.”

The team said it supported Stern’s ruling.

“Their poor judgment has also violated the trust of our fans and stands in contrast to everything Abe Pollin stood for throughout his life,” the Wizards said in a statement.

“It is widely known that Mr. Pollin took the extraordinary step of changing the team name from ‘Bullets’ to ‘Wizards’ in 1997 precisely to express his abhorrence of gun violence in our community. We hope that this negative situation can produce something positive by serving as a reminder that gun violence is a serious issue.”

Asked during a conference call what message the penalties sent, Stern said: “We mean what we say when we say that guns are prohibited from being in our buildings and on team business.

“You will be dealt with harshly because it’s very potentially dangerous to our players, to the other players and to anyone else who might be involved.”

“I felt that I should do something to keep Arenas from doing even further damage to himself and I told him that,” Stern said. “We also try to protect [players] from doing things that are foolish and damaging. I felt that Gilbert was in the process of doing that and it was incumbent on me to stop it.”

Okay, so now this is finally over.

The After Effects

Javaris Crittenton

Crittenton is a talented young point guard who hasn’t developed well at all during his first three seasons in the league. This is the final year of his contract and he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Wizards will not, in all likelihood, be interested in bringing him back. There will only be limited, and perhaps no, interest from other teams throughout the league.

Javaris Crittenton will likely have to ply his trade in another league, likely Europe, and work on his game over there. Once he proves himself there he’ll be given a chance to come back.

I’d be very surprised if he’s back in the NBA next season.

Gilber Arenas + Trading Arenas

Gilbert Arenas is virtually untradable until he finishes the suspension.

  • Why give up valuable assets for player now when you can get the same deal in the summer?
  • Washington would have to accept scraps for him. We’re talking about bad players on bad contracts. Very little talent, and very little cap relief. They are the type of offers Washington will get prior to the deadline.
  • In the summer, things will improve for Washington. Arenas will have low trade value but that is mostly due to his (1) injuries (2) contract (3) performance since the injury rather than this recent idiotic behaviour. The Wizards will be able to find a trade partner if they’re desperate enough then.
  • Washington is better off bringing Arenas back next season and letting him prove himself on the court. If he can do that, his trade value will increase and Washington will have more options.
  • In terms of rebuilding, the Wizards will not be given any high level talents or prospects in return for Arenas. Ergo, cap flexibility is their best rebuilding route. They would also have to tear apart the rest of their roster and go through a full rebuilding process (20 win teams, 2-3 top 5 picks in the draft).
  • Brendan Haywood is one of the most interesting free agents on the market this summer. Arenas + Washington’s decision to rebuild could push his future away from the team. He’d be an excellent MLE signing for a team in need of a true center. This is a situation to be watched very closely.

The time away from the NBA might be a good thing for Gilbert Arenas physically. Give him more time to improve his body post injury. If he uses the time well, this could help him get his career back on track.

2009-10 Washington Wizards

The Wizards are finished. They’re a 25-32 win team talent wise but they’ve been sucker punched in the stomach and under-performing all season so they’ll likely only perform like a 23-26 win team.

There is no chance for this team to make a run at the playoffs.

Punishment fit the Crime?

Honestly, I don’t give a damn. It is what it is. Let’s leave at that.

Ernie Grunfeld

How will Grunfeld handle this situation?

  • This is a hugely testing period both for how he handles Gilbert Arenas as a Wizards player and as a trade asset + how he decides to handle the team’s strategy from here on forward.
  • Does he keep the big three? does he blow it up? Does he rebuild around his youth? Or use them as assets to give his team a better shot at quickening the rebuilding process?

Grunfeld has consistently failed to lead the Wizards over the last 3-4 years. Does he deserve another opportunity? To prove himself again? To screw up? Does he have the backbone to blow this thing up sky high? Or will he look for a middle of the road solution like I expect him to?

The Wizards should fire Grunfeld and bring in a new voice from outside the organization to lead them.

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  1. You might feel for the Wiz organization But “allowing” players to have guns at work (and not knowing????) is a massive failure by the team!

    They earned their problems.

  2. Hey Brothersteve,

    This isn’t a bad situation for the Wizards, it’s a good one. Their team wasn’t strong enough to make a playoff run anyway. Their squad badly needs some personnel changes if not a complete overhaul. This situation could spur the Wizards into action sooner rather than later, which will improve their trade possibilities, as well as offering them a high lottery pick this summer. Both are opportunities which can help improve their team, and in particular help improve the long term outlook of the team.

    This is an advantageous situation for Washington.

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