Happy 28th, Gil!
The punishment comes as no surprise in the wake of the locker room incident dating back to December of last year which featured Arenas producing firearms from his locker in the name of a joke. However, the statement from Stern leads me to believe that the suspension is due to Arenas' conduct since the incident rather than the incident itself.
"Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse," Stern said. "His ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game."
In short, Stern is punishing Arenas more for his foolish Twitter posts, nonchalant responses to the media, and pointing his index fingers as if they were guns in a pre-game warm-up scene during Washington's game against Philadelphia on Dec. 5.
Further consequences could be on the horizon for Arenas, as the NBA is conducting their own investigation in addition to the investigation being carried out by federal and local authorities.
So what does this mean for the Wizards?
They can't void Arenas' contract because there is no grounds to execute the moral turpitude clause. They can't afford the cap hit they'd take if they released him. No GM with half a brain would accept a trade for him and I don't think suspended players can be traded anyway.
The Wizards are smack dab in the middle of the proverbial rock and a hard place.
With Arenas out of the picture for the time being, the Wizards will be forced to insert an army of different players into the vacated guard position. They might find the best luck in rotating different players in and out of the line-up and figure out the best option that way.
Randy Foye brings starting experience from his days in Minnesota, Nick Young is a dynamic young player who can score with the best, and Earl Boykins has the veteran savvy necessary to lead the offense.
A revolving door of starters is hardly the answer to the big question of "What now?" the Wizards are no doubt asking themselves.
The season wasn't completely lost before Arenas' lapse in judgment, but there was very little promise for a successful turnaround. Barring some miracle, the Wizards will finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, and the NBA at large. So much for those high expectations.
The remaining starters for the Wizards will have a lot more pressure to deal with as long as Stern chooses to keep Arenas out.
The pressure now is no different to when Arenas was out for two years from his knee injury. They didn't know when he'd return then and they don't know when he'll return now. Of course, in the two years the Wizards were without Arenas, they went 62-102.
There is little hope left for this season, even with many of the starters still available. The Wizards haven't won without Arenas in quite some time, and this current absence should be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
The Wizards cannot succeed with the players they have invested so much in.
Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison have been unofficially shopped around by the team. The team hasn't received much interest, but with fewer options presenting themselves as the season progresses, it is only a matter of time before one or both of them are sent elsewhere.
The Washington Wizards have become the biggest mess of a franchise in the NBA, beating out the LeBron hopeful Knicks and the success-challenged Nets by a mile. Dysfunction breeds chaos unless change is made.
Big changes are in store for the Wizards, for better or for worse, and we owe it all to "Wild Gil Hickok" (Credit to Chad Dukes for the zing).