It's hard to score the news that Gilbert Arenas will avoid jail time for bringing guns into the Wizards' locker room as anything other than a major victory for Arenas' legal team. However, it is worth noting that, if Arenas violates the terms of his probation, he would go to jail.
As Paul Duggan of the Washington Post reports:
[The judge] sentenced Arenas to 18 months in jail, but suspended that part of the sentence. He ordered the star to serve two years probation to begin with 30 days in a halfway house, He also ordered Arenas to serve 400 hours of community service and pay a $5,000 contribution to a crime victim's fund.
In other words, if Arenas does not fulfill his terms of the sentence, he will go to jail. Duggan reports that correction officials will decide which halfway house Arenas will attend in the next few days. Arenas will be able to leave the house only with permission and only to fulfill his community service.
The Wizards also released a statement on the matter:
"We believe today's sentencing of Gilbert Arenas can help bring closure to the unfortunate situation that has played out over the last three months. Gilbert has admitted his mistakes and will now pay his debt to our community. We are confident that he has learned something significant from the experience and we now look forward to moving on and focusing on building this team into the contender that our outstanding fans deserve."
SB Nation's Bullets Forever tweets the following:
I need time to comprehend all of this. For now, I'm just happy for Gil that he avoided jail. Hopefully he can put his life back together.
Arenas was apparently crying in front of the judge, according to WTOP, saying that he wakes up every day and wishes the incident didn't happen.
The elephant in the room is whether the Wizards decide to void Arenas' contract. Marc Stein reports that, while new owner Ted Leonsis hasn't yet weighed in, it's looking like it's increasingly unlikely the Wizards pursue that route.
The prospect of the Wizards trying to wipe out the remaining four years and $80.2 million on Arenas' deal can't be completely ruled out because the team has a new owner: Ted Leonsis. And Leonsis, according to sources close to the situation, hasn't weighed in yet with the Wizards' current management about his Arenas plans or views.
Multiple league sources, however, still maintain that it is highly unlikely that terminating Arenas' contract is something Washington will pursue. That likely would have been the case even if Arenas had received 30 days of jail time, if only because most league and league experts felt that a jail sentence spilling into next season was the only basis for a successful void attempt.
One source with knowledge of the Wizards' thinking told ESPN.com that the Pollin family -- which has maintained operational control of the team this season after the death of longtime Wizards owner Abe Pollin in November -- had abandoned the idea of trying to terminate the contract after assessing its options. It is assumed that Leonsis will also concede that a void attempt has little to no shot of succeeding, especially after Arenas receive zero jail time at Friday's sentencing hearing, but that technically must still be classified as an assumption until Leonsis -- who only agreed to terms on Thursday with the Pollins on purchasing the franchise -- settles in.
Yet you can safely call it a very strong assumption. Reason being: Since Arenas has already been suspended for the rest of this season by NBA commissioner David Stern and because Arenas' main legal obligation (those 30 days in the halfway house) will undoubtedly be completed well before he has to report to training camp on Sept. 27, Washington won't be able to claim that Arenas' sentence prevents him from rendering services and thus breaching his contract, which is widely regarded around the league as the only basis that the Wizards would have for trying to void it.
Stein also writes that these last 48 hours have actually been good ones for the Wizards, because of the ownership situation and the clarity on Arenas' sentence.