Gilbert Arenas Charged With Felony: Expect a Wizards Firesale

Bryan ToporekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2010

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 19:  Gilbert Arenas #0 of the Washington Wizards reacts to a call from referee Tom Washington during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 19, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Washington Post just broke the news that Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas has been charged with a felony for "carrying a pistol without a license outside home or business."

This means that the Wizards now have legal grounds to terminate Arenas' contract instantly, according to the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.  If a player "at any time, fails, refuses, or neglects to conform his personal conduct to standards of good citizenship, good moral character, and good sportsmanship..." his team can void his contract with no reproach.  

You better believe a felony falls under that "neglecting to conform to good citizenship" clause.

It appears that the presumed upcoming battle between NBA Players' Association president Billy Hunter and NBA commissioner David Stern has been extinguished before the fire could ever be started.

The Wizards are certain to void Arenas' contract, as his six-year, $111 million deal was already viewed as one of the most un-tradeable contracts in all of the NBA before the gun incident.

With Arenas gone, the Wizards will likely kick their firesale into fourth gear, making sure to trade either Antawn Jamison or Caron Butler (if not both) before the Feb. 18 trade deadline.

Earlier today, ESPN's Chad Ford already ranked Jamison as the most likely player to be moved before the trade deadline, and Butler the fourth most likely.  With Arenas not ever coming back to the team, Butler may end up bumping Troy Murphy and Tayshaun Prince down Ford's list.

Jamison, a stretch power forward that can play inside or out, has been drawing a great deal of interest from some of the NBA title contenders, especially the Cleveland Cavaliers.  If the Cavs could work a deal where they trade Zydrunas Ilgauskas' expiring contract for Jamison, it'd be hard to see them turning that opportunity down.

(And if the Wizards assure the Cavs that they'd waive Big Z, allowing him to come back to Cleveland after 30 days, the deal would be done tomorrow.)

Ford wrote that Butler had slightly more desirability than Jamison because he's younger and his contract ends sooner, but that the Wizards aren't willing to simply give him away.  The Wizards may in fact decide to build around Butler for the time being, but make no mistake, there's not a single player on the Wizards' roster who isn't at risk of being traded over the next month.

And with nearly $20 million worth of expiring contracts in Mike Miller, Brendan Haywood, and Mike James, the Wizards could virtually re-do their entire roster by opening day of next season.  

As if the Wizards weren't already expected to be one of the major players in free agency...Arenas' felony opens the door for a complete firesale of the team.  It's hard to imagine the Wizards management not seizing the opportunity.

A series of first round playoff exits with the core of Arenas, Jamison, and Butler does conjure up a question that bears asking: could Arenas' foolish gunplay end up being a blessing in disguise for the Wizards?

Whatever may happen with the rest of the roster...with this felony charge becoming official, Gilbert Arenas has played his last game as a Washington Wizard.