It’s the biggest question of this offseason for the Washington Wizards. Should Gilbert Arenas, who just a few years ago was the face of the franchise, be shipped out of town after a series of missteps and the arrival of John Wall?
For the past few months, there wasn’t any chance of a deal going down. Arenas was thought of as an unmovable contract, and with good reason–he’s got four years and 80 million dollars left on his current deal.
Recently though, that belief has changed. Teams like the Magic and Knicks have quietly expressed interest in Gilbert Arenas. Perhaps after free agency, desperate squads looking for star power might take the plunge and acquire the former superstar who is desperate to make a return.
Read the complete breakdown after the jump…
The Pros to Trading Gilbert Arenas
- The Wizards can be cleansed of all off-the-court issues–Arenas’s gun scandal put an unwanted blemish on D.C. basketball. Next season, as Gilbert returns, it will be hard to get the spotlight off his criminal record, no matter how well he plays. Without Arenas, that’s no longer an issue.
- The rebuilding process would truly begin–Arenas is 28 years old, and has four years remaining on his contract, which is worth 80 million dollars. He doesn’t fit in with Washington’s new youth movement, led by teen John Wall. Getting rid of Arenas means this team truly turns the page to a new era of basketball.
- Benefits John Wall’s Development–There’s a chance Gilbert Arenas and John Wall form a spectacular backcourt and thrive off each other. More likely, however, is that Arenas holds Wall back a bit. Gilbert has never been known as much of a passer, and wants the ball in his hands at all times of the game. But this isn’t his team anymore. John Wall needs to take big shots as a youngster, so that when the Wizards become more of a contender, he has the necessary experience to get them over the hump.
- Possibility of acquiring draft picks or expiring contracts–One rumored trade before the NBA draft was Gilbert Arenas for Vince Carter. Carter’s contract is off the books after the season, and would allow Washington to go after high-priced free agents in a brand new CBA. By the time the trade deadline approaches this season, contenders may be willing to give up draft picks and expiring contracts in exchange for Arenas. That would seem to be too good of a deal for Washington to pass up.
Cons to Trading Gilbert Arenas
- Chance he returns to superstar form–It seems like eons ago, but Arenas used to be one of the best players in basketball. He scored 60 points against the Lakers, hit tons of buzzer beaters, and even started in the all-star game. Now, Arenas is attempting to return from a string of knee surgeries and a year-long suspension. If there was ever a time for a comeback, it’s going to be the 2010-2011 season. There’s no question “Agent Zero” will try to prove the doubters wrong, and his knees are certainly fresh after missing so much time in 2009-2010. The Wizards could end up trading a superstar for expiring contracts, and that would be devastating. It’s an unlikely scenario, but possible.
- Arenas and Wall could possibly work–As I mentioned earlier, there’s a much better chance that Arenas hurts Wall more than he helps him. But if we don’t give the two a chance together, how will we ever know? What if Wall and Arenas develop into a feared tandem? Both players are undeniably talented and both players want to live up to expectations.
What the Wizards should do: I’ve struggled with this question for months. I think the best course of action is to try out the duo of John Wall and Gilbert Arenas, unless an amazing deal presents itself in the near future. If Wall and Arenas seem to be clicking, then problem solved. If they aren’t working, but Arenas is putting up 20+ points per game, then Ernie Grunfeld should aggresively offer up Arenas at the trade deadline for expiring contracts and draft picks. If Grunfeld is unable to find suitors at the trade deadline, I’d suspect he could get a deal done next summer at the very least. At that point, Gilbert will (hopefully) have proven his worth, and would have three years left on his contract instead of four. That might help skeptical teams pull the trigger.
But what do you think? Should the Wizards try to trade Gilbert Arenas? Vote in the poll on the sidebar to the right and leave comments below–I want to hear everyone’s opinion on the matter.