Gilbert Arenas: The Guy Who Signed the $111 Million Contract

brandon LamCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2009

When three-time All-Star Gilbert Arenas signed his $111 million contract this summer, he knew the deal would come with a lot of praise if the team played well and a ton of criticism if the team played poorly.

Well, since the team is 12-42, there is no question Arenas should receive most of the blame and criticism. The things Arenas has been criticized for are:

1. He made a promise to owner Abe Pollin that the team would put a championship banner up there for him, but he has broken his promise.

2. Since signing his contract he has yet to play a single second on the court.

3. When your best player is making over $100 million and your team is having a lottery season, you have to take the blame.

Arenas has had three surgeries on his left knee. He has had it drained, he has had shots, but the knee is still bothering him.

When Arenas was asked if he would come back this season, Arenas responded with two words: ''Would you?"

With the team struggling the way it is, Arenas was not bitter and looked at the situation like this:

"If this is one of those years we don't make the playoffs, we're one of those teams that's in last place the whole year, you know that's what happened to San Antonio and that's how they got Tim Duncan. If that happens with us, it's for the better."

After meeting with a knee specialist in Miami, Arenas has shown steady progress over the last couple of weeks. However, neither the Wizards nor Arenas have set a timetable for his return.

If Arenas ever comes back, he has to show the Wizards that he was worth $111 million. He has fallen under the radar with the injuries he has had. When people talk about the Chris Pauls and Deron Williams of the NBA, you don't hear Arenas' name in that discussion because he has not been healthy for almost two seasons now.

He also has to show leadership and take on the challenge of playing defense. Arenas has a lot of responsibilities when he gets back, trying to lead the team to the playoffs next season.

In 2001, Allan Houston signed a six-year deal worth $100.4 million with the New York Knicks. The Knicks made a big mistake signing him, because Houston was plagued by injuries and forced to retire in 2005.

Hopefully, the Wizards are not heading in that same direction with Arenas.