Echoing what I wrote for SBNation this morning, Bullets Forever blogger and SB Nation contributor Mike Prada checks in with a thorough discussion of Arenas' future with the team. Namely, he might not have one:
Gilbert Arenas officially crossed a line when he brought guns into the locker room. He crosses that line if his version of the story (he brought them in to diffuse tension with Javaris Crittenton and it didn't work) holds up, and he crosses that line if it was worse than that. Having guns on team property is against NBA rules. It's arguably illegal in DC. It threatens the perceived safety (i.e. it doesn't matter if the guns were loaded or not) of the locker room for your teammates, your coaches and, as Matt Moore pointed out to me on Twitter today, even the journalists and bloggers like myself who cover your team. It's a major no-no under any circumstances, and image problem or not, the league should respond harshly. Intent isn't important here, because the lapse in judgment is so awful.
And with the Wizards currently in disarray anyway, Gilbert Arenas should get no second chance to prove himself as a Wizard again when the inevitable harsh (read: season-long) suspension from the NBA comes. Maybe in another situation, he could. Maybe if the Wizards were 21-10 instead of 10-21, he could. But not here, and not now. This team needs a facelift anyway, and the face of the previous edition of the Wizards cannot possibly lead that facelift when he's coming off such a colossal error in judgment like this.
But Prada preaches caution, as well. Just because Gilbert doesn't fit with future doesn't meant we should suddenly question his character.
Arenas deserves a second chance somewhere else because his issues are workable. We should be very careful to make sweeping judgments about his character that would require linking his lapse in judgment with the guns to his eccentric personality, his recent Twitter binge or his mini-dramas on and off the court. That's unfair to Arenas, and it would be two-faced of us, who once celebrated his crazy side and told him never to turn it off.
It's a pretty fantastic discussion of all that's gone on, and how the Wizards might proceed. There's some differences of opinions between Prada and I, but on the whole, the conclusion is the same: after this latest controversy, Arenas' tenure with the Wizards will never recover. It's a sad commentary on the how quickly relationships between a superstar and a franchise can devolve, but then again, it's also a testament to just how reckless it was for Arenas to bring guns to an NBA arena.
As Stephen Jackson, the NBA's resident hothead, said to AOL Fanhouse, "Even I can't imagine that." When a star player's behavior makes Stephen Jackson blush, there's something seriously wrong.