Addition by subtraction


To the myopic Wizards fan, having your star player “suspended indefinitely,” following league Commissioner David Stern’s proclamation “that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game,” would probably elicit feelings of hopelessness about the team’s future prospects. Indeed, to put it modestly, the Wizards will not be competing for a championship this season: an obvious conclusion following the loss of their leading scorer, the face of the franchise, someone whose past play earned him an $111 million contract.

While still a productive player, coming off a pair of serious knee surgeries Gilbert Arenas is no longer worth the $147,208 he collects per game. There are numerous highly-paid players around the NBA who are regarded as albatrosses: players whose guaranteed contracts necessitate some unfortunate team to commit a huge portion of their salary to a player who is no longer worth his salary. In the NFL, such players could simply be cut from a roster and that would be the end of it. Thanks to an influential players’ union, and much to the anguish of team owners, all NBA player contracts are guaranteed.

Simply put, Arenas was going to collect the $80 million remaining on his contract whether or not his level of play truly warranted it.

Fortunately for everyone not named Gilbert Arenas, by bringing guns into an NBA arena, he violated a paramount stipulation NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. Breaching this agreement that governs the terms of employment for all NBA players, Arenas’ transgression could result in the voiding of his bloated contract, freeing the Wizards from their contractual obligations. As it is currently constituted, this team has proven its ceiling to be the second round of the playoffs, ridding itself of Arenas would enable it to get a fresh start.

If this were to happen, the Wizards would have a vast sum of money to spend on a superstar free agent this offseason. LeBron James is a free agent, so is Dwyane Wade; both would be unlikely to come to Washington. A more likely possibility is signing Kevin Durant, the absurdly-talented 21-year old forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who is likely looking to escape the small market of Oklahoma City.

More importantly, Durant is originally from the Washington area, elucidating the main reason why he would like to play for the Wizards. With Durant the Wizards would have one of the league’s best scorers to build a championship caliber team around and the ability to free themselves from the quagmire of mediocrity they have been entangled in for nearly two decades. The thanks should go to Arenas for setting in motion the events that would ultimately allow it to happen.