Is Gilbert Arenas Asking for Too Much?

Arash AfkhamiContributor IJuly 3, 2008

Free agency started July 1, and the Wizards wasted no time signing the first piece to bringing Arenas back. Antawn Jamison signed a four year, $50 million contract. Now with the one all-star signed, the Washington Wizards now have to focus on their superstar.

Gilbert Arenas opted out of his contract in desire to sign a maximum contract with the Wizards. As soon as free agency started, a few teams had their eye on arenas. The Los Angeles Clippers wanted to make another run at Arenas after Arenas decided to reject the Clippers offer back in the 2003 free agency.

Though, the Los Angeles Clippers wasted no time trying to find a missing piece to their back court by verbally agreeing to five year, $65 million contract with Baron Davis. The Golden State Warriors wasted no time trying to replace Davis by offering Gilbert Arenas a five year, $100 million contract.

The Washington Wizards matched the Warriors pay by offering a six year, $127 million to Gilbert Arenas. That means Gilbert Arenas would be receiving an extra $27 million if he signed with the Wizards.

But Is Gilbert Arenas really worth $127 million?

If the Washington Wizards let Arenas go, they would be freeing up a lot of cap space. But do the Wizards need Gilbert Arenas to be Finals Contenders? When Gilbert Arenas re-injured his knee eight games into the season, many doubted that the Wizards could even make the playoffs.

They were wrong.

The Washington Wizards posted a 33-22 record while Butler and Jamison were in the line up together without Gilbert Arenas. Their defense significantly improved holding their opponents to under 85 points six times, after not holding their opponents under 85 points once the previous season.

The Wizards even held their opponents under 80 points several times. They beat the leagues premiere teams, including Boston twice, Dallas twice, New Orleans twice, and even beating Detroit once.

The Wizards record, chemistry, and their players individual performances improved without Gilbert Arenas. Many felt that Arenas didn't have the ability to make his teammates better.

Gilbert Arenas is also coming off two knee surgeries, questioning if he'll be the same old Gilbert Arenas. Gilbert's game is built on speed, having one of the quickest, if not the quickest first step in the NBA.

Coming off two knee surgeries really questions if Gilbert will have the same speed, agility, and first step. The Wizards could be paying Gilbert Arenas a max deal, not knowing if Gilbert Arenas will be the same, reliable, player that he once was.

Not to mention, Gilbert Arenas is a weak defensive player.

Even with a healthy squad, can the Wizards get past Boston, Detroit, Orlando, or even Cleveland in the playoffs?

There's no doubt that the Wizards have serious talent in their front court with Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. But can Gilbert Arenas use his weapons correctly and win games? If not, signing Arenas doesn't give the Wizards much chance to play in June.