Remember when Gilbert Arenas was known for his game-winning jump shots and 60-point performances instead of season-ending injuries, season-ending suspensions, and stupefying fines?
Yeah, I really don’t either.
We (Wizards fans of course) haven’t seen vintage Gil since Gerald Wallace fell onto his knee in 2007. For the past three seasons, things just haven’t been the same.
But at this point every year we get a false sense of hope. He’s looked so good in the offseason. His knee is completely healed. He has a new attitude. It’s all been said.
And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least holding out some hope of Gil’s return to greatness. What if he got that swagger back? What if he and John Wall instantly meshed? It’s a tantalizing thought. But not a realistic one.
See, Arenas is already throwing red flags up everywhere. First came the depressed Agent Zero, then came that hideous beard, then the fake injury. We haven’t even seen one regular season game yet, and Gil has managed to create a firestorm of national media attention not relating to his gun suspension from last year. That’s both remarkable and absurd.
I’ve always loved Gilbert’s quirkiness. He doesn’t give cut and dry quotes. He’s noticeably different personality-wise from the “Average Joe” NBA player. It was unrealistic to think that a suspension would change the simplest of facts–Gilbert Arenas is a weird dude.
But at some point, enough is enough. I’ve been open to at least trying the John Wall-Gilbert Arenas backcourt (especially since suitors for Arenas are few and far between to say the least), but if Arenas can’t stop with the strange outbursts for even a week at a time, this isn’t going to work out. He can talk about how this is John Wall’s team, but he isn’t acting like that’s the truth. It’s almost as if John Wall is a newborn son, and Gilbert is the two-year-old brother who resents his brother’s presence in the family. He hides his brother’s toys, sulks and cries for more attention, but deep down, he respects the new addition to the family. Too bad playing in the NBA requires slightly more maturity than a conflict between an infant and his toddler brother.
Gilbert was fined $50,000 for his latest antics after faking an injury to let Nick Young play more. Washington’s front office was obviously in a pickle–if they suspended Arenas, they risk isolating him into sulking upon his return. But by simply fining him, Washington failed too. That amount of cash means nothing to a guy owed over $80 million dollar for the next four seasons.
So what am I getting at here? That the Wizards are in a no-win situation? And that we’re just stuck with Arenas until John Wall is 24 years old?
I’m not ready to commit to any of that. But if Arenas is going to continue acting like a child, then treat him like one. Give him a scenario he can understand–three strikes and you’re out. The gun suspension was strike one (and boy he whiffed on that one). The fake injury was strike two. Lay it out in those terms–one more screw up, and Arenas can find new work. Take any value you can get for the former superstar, or simply cut him. If Gil wants to fall into line, then he’s more than welcome to stay. Otherwise, he needs to take his Hibachi Grill elsewhere. There’s only room for one superstar in D.C., and his name is John Wall.