Contradicting an earlier report from John Mitchell, Mike Jones writes today that the Wizards have no intention of getting rid of Gilbert Arenas and are preparing for a back court of Arenas and John Wall. What's more, Arenas, who has previously expressed great bitterness towards the Wizards for not helping him cover up his crime and then publicly stripping his face from team property, is apparently eager to get past all that and play for Washington in 2010.
Arenas was released from a halfway house in Montgomery County, MD earlier this month and has reportedly spent much of his time since then shooting and practicing inside the Verizon Center.] is that the Wizards should be willing to move Arenas if an offer comes along that gives the Wizards real value or if the offer includes a contract or contracts that expire at the end of the upcoming season. I'd rather have a back court of John Wall and Shaun Livingston, with the 24-year-old Livingston earning about $5 million per year, than Wall and Arenas, with Gil earning $20 million per year for the next four years. However, I'm absolutely opposed to giving Gil away for nothing or taking back contracts that don't expire after the conclusion of the 2010-11 season.
I can see a Wall-Arenas back court working, though. What we saw from Gil last year was that he can still score [over 22 ppg before his suspension] and is a threat from anywhere on the floor. He didn't have the same knack for making big plays at the end of games, though, and he wasn't finishing around the basket as he once did. However, that could all be part of working his way past his injuries and rehabilitations. With John Wall available to handle the ball more and assume the playmaking role, that could free up Arenas to focus more on scoring. The Wizards would have one of the quickest and most potent back courts in the NBA. Of course, defense might be an issue, but other teams would find it even more difficult to defend the Wizards with Wall and Arenas in the game at the same time.
In the end, I think the Wizards fully intend and expect to go into the 2010-11 season with Gilbert Arenas as their starting shooting guard, playing next to John Wall. I don't think the Wiz will get decent offers for Gil right now and considering all the question marks around him, that's not too surprising. But if Gil can keep his nose clean and play well with Wall for a few months, other teams will come calling around the trade deadline. Of course, if Gil plays really well, the Wiz might not want to trade him at all.
The wild card in all this will be free agency this summer. Some of the teams that have saved money and cap space to make a big splash are going to miss out on the bonanza. A few teams are going to go home very unhappy, having failed to land Lebron James or Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire. Desperate to make some noise to appease restless fans, one of those teams will call up Washington and make an offer for Gilbert. Will that offer be good enough? We'll see.