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Michael Klopman Headshot

Gilbert Arenas' Poor Judgment Could Be A Blessing In Disguise

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I've used poor judgment before. I believe most people have made a mistake or two at one point in their lives -- just like Gilbert Arenas. I spent a vacation in Mexico a couple years ago and my cell phone didn't have any service, making it useless. For some inexplicable reason, I brought it out one night, knowing it that I wouldn't be able to call or text anyone. When I got back to my hotel room later that night, I realized I had lost it. I had used bad judgment from the beginning by bringing my cell phone out when I clearly didn't need it.

But it was okay. A friend of mine told me that losing it was probably going to be a blessing in disguise because it was in bad condition anyways. I couldn't do anything about it and when I returned home, I got a new phone -- a much better phone. My friend was absolutely right.

(Side Note: Although the parallels between my situation and Arenas' poor judgment seem downright silly, when professional athletes try to joke around with their teammates by pulling out four guns, loaded or unloaded, that stupidity opens themselves up to all sorts of ridiculous comparisons.)

Nobody but the people involved knows exactly what happened in the locker room on December 21. All of the facts will be revealed once the investigation ends and Arenas' case goes through the legal process. What we do know is that Arenas brought four guns into the Verizon Center and stored them in a box in his locker, violating a league rule prohibiting players from bringing firearms into an NBA arena or practice facility. We also know he brought the guns out of the box after practice in the locker room. Whatever happens, Gilbert Arenas will be disciplined by both the NBA justice system. He has already been suspended indefinitely without pay by NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Fortunately for the Washington Wizards franchise, Arenas' poor judgment could very well be a blessing in disguise. That's right. In terms of the franchise and the goal of winning an NBA championship, this is exactly what the team needs. The team needs to be broken up and the front office needs to start from scratch yet again.

On Dec. 10, 2009, Charles Barkley explained that Washington is the most insane organization in the NBA during the Wizards-Celtics game on TNT. Barkley used Albert Einstein's definition of insanity to back his statement up, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

That is exactly what the Wizards have been doing over the last five years. Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld signed Arenas to a six-year contract worth $111 million in the summer of 2008 - expecting the core of Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison to lead the team in becoming a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Keep in mind; the offer was made after Agent Zero had one of his three knee surgeries (the front office clearly used poor judgment with that mistake).

It has been pretty obvious that this core isn't going to work out. It was difficult enough trying to have all three of them fully healthy and on the court at the same time. Arenas hasn't performed like he did before the injuries, Caron Butler's production is at a career low and the rest of the team seems like they have forgotten how to play as a team. So far this season, the team doesn't look like it's going to get any better.

Until now.

Committing to Arenas for $111 million was a gigantic mistake. But now that Arenas' quirky personality (stupidity) has turned into potential jail time, the Wizards might be in the clear.

The $111 million contract hurt Washington in two ways. First, they spent way too much money on a scoring point guard who is unreliable, immature and who clearly doesn't possess any leadership qualities.

(Side Note: Has there even been an NBA championship team with a starting score-first point guard? I think not.)

Second, the Wizards wasted an enormous amount of money that could have been used to sign a free agent in the summer of 2010; a summer in which the free agent class is filled with superstars. Before Arenas "joked around" with Javaris Crittenton using his guns, the Wizards were stuck with that mistake, keeping them from being able to sign anyone useful in 2010.

But now, Arenas' ridiculous antics have finally gotten himself into a bad enough situation in which Washington can erase that mistake.

Washington can void the contract by using the NBA morality clause, which gives a team an out if a players' actions are extremely out of line, like Arenas', whether or not he gets convicted of a felony.

Whatever happens, Ernie Grunfeld and the Wizards should be tirelessly trying to void the contract because it would give the team $80 million to use over the summer. At the same time, they would get rid of a distraction that is currently crippling the team's future. As it stands now, the Wizards would be crazy not to get rid of their $111 Million Man.

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