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Wizards prepare for Bulls, thinking of Arenas

Antawn Jamison is saddened and scared about what the future holds for his teammate Gilbert Arenas, as Arenas prepares to plead guilty to a felony gun possession charge this afternoon at D.C. Superior Court. But as the Washington Wizards prepared for the Chicago Bulls with a morning shootaround at United Center, Jamison said that he hopes that people, athletes in particular, can learn from Arenas's situation.

"The Michael Vick situation should've opened up a lot of eyes. This is another situation that should let you know you have to do things a certain way," Jamison said. "You're under a microscope. You're a role model. People, kids look up to you. I hope it opens up a lot of people's eyes, let them realize, you have to cherish the moments. You have to make smart decisions. These couple of incidents in the last couple of years have shown, if you don't make the right decision, you can be in deep trouble."

The Wizards don't know what punishment Arenas will receive for his guilty plea, but Coach Flip Saunders said the team has prepared to be without Arenas ever since NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended indefinitely the three-time all-star on Jan. 6.

Arenas's guilty plea places his future with the Wizards in jeopardy, with speculation that the team could look to void the remaining four years and $80-million left on his contract. He has already lost nearly $1 million sittiing out the past five games.

Jamison and several of his teammates have reached out to Arenas in the past week or so, but Arenas has yet to reply to their phone calls and text messages.

"I haven't talked to him," Jamison said. "When he reaches out to me, I'll be there for him. But in the time being, I'm still checking in on him, seeing how he's doing. I hope he's doing better than I would be doing in this situation. One thing about Gilbert; he's a tough-minded individual.

"It's still going to be tough. We miss him," Jamison said. "This is a guy you wish he was out there playing with you and he's not. [Arenas's guilty plea] doesn't make the situation better or make us sleep better at night. Something serious has happened and you wish it never did happen."

As players walked from the team bus to the basketball court, they still managed to crack jokes and laugh with each other, but Saunders said that the bus ride over from the team hotel to the United Center was much different.

"We had probably the quietest bus ride over here. It's almost trying to catch their breath a little bit," Saunders said. "This has been a surreal situation for the past two weeks, until there is closure and everyone knows what the ramifications are, I think then you'll see maybe more of the true emotions come out at that point."

Saunders heard the laughter from his players as they walked behind him. "You can tell they are loose, but they are mentally drained," he said. "Players have gone through a lot individually, the meetings with lawyers and the grand jury, and those things. It's only been a couple of days since they got that done."

Saunders said he hasn't spoken with Arenas since the suspension. No matter what happens in the courtroom this afternoon, Saunders realizes that the team is still far from reaching closure with this situation. "I think right now, we don't know. Everyone is kind of waiting to see what happens," he said. "We're still going through the legal situation and the situation we have with the league."

He then said, "Today is no different than yesterday."

Jamison added that the distraction would remain for some time. "It really hasn't changed. No matter where we go, right before the game, after the game, it's still the same questions," he said. "But for us, we know it's something we've got to deal with and we've got to handle it a certain way. We've seen it on ESPN yesterday. Just when you think you can get away from it, something new comes back. We're kind of used to it right now, but for us, we've got to really concentrate on playing basketball.

"I got a job I got to do. Whether I have good distractions or bad distractions, you still have to do a job," Jamison said. "My teammates are relying on me, the coaching staff, the fans. To be honest, those three hours are an outlet just to have fun and do the thing I love to do, which is compete."

When asked if having a game so quickly after Arenas's hearing would be good for the team, Saunders said, "I hope so."

The Wizards are just 1-4 without Arenas this season, Jamison winning these games would be better than just playing them. "It's the only cure," he said. "If we win eight or nine games out of 10 or 12, it goes away a little bit. That's the only thing -- I don't want to say make it go away -- to make it easier to come to work on a day in and day out."

By Michael Lee  |  January 15, 2010; 1:33 PM ET
 
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Comments

Blurred & divi3
What the hell are both of you talking about. I dont want big Z. You do the trade to get out of Antawns contract. If we did the trade I hope he never suit up for the team, plus him and bredan hate each other, so you have to buy him out. Another thing you can get additional 1 round draft pick out the deal. Its time to rebuild. Plus Blair/Antawn contract dont match, so try again.

Posted by: dsquare | January 15, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

If you don't know that Jamison (I hate to repeat it, but...) a proven, year in year out 20+/9 player is worth more than a 1st round pick, you should never post here again because your ignorance has already been proven.

On another note, how can you be so sure that Z and Haywood hate each other? I doubt Haywood can muster the passion to hate anybody or anything, except maybe putting in 3 days hard work in a row.

lastly..the Blair comment was a joke.

Posted by: Blurred | January 15, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

First...BRING BACK GIL!!!

Posted by: Gooddad | January 15, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Whew! It's bad, real bad. I can't believe I'm saying it, but it may be that this team does need to be blown up to change the culture. Who to keep? Depends on who we can get. I know none of the above is new, but I had thought things would sort themselves out by now. Instead, they keep auguring down. When will Leonsis take the helm?

Posted by: 7snider7 | January 15, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

jamison needs to go, a gunning 4 with no defense isn't gonna help a team that isn't close, and all such delusions about the wiz are dead

Posted by: bford1kb | January 15, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Ted Leonsis: Nope, we have a long way to go. Last season, as an example, we inceased player payroll more than we increased revenues, hence, we actually lost more money last year than the year before. But we can't spend any more on players as we are at cap max, so our losses should go down over the coming years

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | January 15, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

No denying the importance of positive cash flow, but none of this takes into consideration the internal rate of return; ie: the appreciation of the value of the club. I am not sure what Leonsis paid for caps, but I am guessing they are worth at least 2x as much now. So...I am not crying for him.

Posted by: Blurred | January 15, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

bford -

I am not saying Jamison needs to stay, only that we need to get more than a 2011 1st rounder and Z for him.

Posted by: Blurred | January 15, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

If Jamison goes I hope he goes to a team that makes it to the finals. Hes been such a nice guy and professional around DC I hate to see his career end like this. Best wishes to you jamison

Posted by: jefferu | January 15, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Bring back Gil!....and let Crit shoot him in the face

It makes me SICK that Gil is getting away with this crap yet again. That guy is never held accountable for his actions or words.

Posted by: Max_in_Missouri | January 15, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Keep Gil. Fire Ernie. Save us, Ted.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | January 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Jamison is always so judgemental and self righteous. Last year be beat up on the young guys instead of encouraging, blaming them for the teams fall. This year instead of supporting Arenas he has basically thrown him under the bus with the rest of the organization. Now he wants to "reach out". I wouldn't return his call either. When your friend is in trouble you provide support and encouragement. It could have easily been the other way around, just a different set of circumstances. Arenas made an error in judgement, not a malicious act. Others have done much worse. He should be punished with fines and suspensions, but he should have been counseled and supported as well. As long as Jamison gets his 20pt and 9 reb, he's fine with himself.

Posted by: garrybrown | January 15, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Jamison is always so judgemental and self righteous. Last year be beat up on the young guys instead of encouraging, blaming them for the teams fall. This year instead of supporting Arenas he has basically thrown him under the bus with the rest of the organization. Now he wants to "reach out". I wouldn't return his call either. When your friend is in trouble you provide support and encouragement. It could have easily been the other way around, just a different set of circumstances. Arenas made an error in judgement, not a malicious act. Others have done much worse. He should be punished with fines and suspensions, but he should have been counseled and supported as well. As long as Jamison gets his 20pt and 9 reb, he's fine with himself.

Posted by: garrybrown | January 15, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse


And why didn't Jamison get fined like everyone else in the picture?

Posted by: onemikeclark | January 15, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

It's funny that Caron Butler, the other co-captain has offered not one single word of support for Arenas. I really believe he was tired of Arenas's immaturity and would love to be back with DWade or a tam more mature in how they go about things. Not one word of support from Butler. We have heard support from Steveneson, Jamison, Young but nothing from Butler. What's that tell you?

Posted by: ptp23 | January 15, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Irreconcilable now, but what happens when EG is shown the door and Leonsis takes over? Isn't this the real question? Wouldn't Gil be open to coming back, and won't Leonsis prefer not to eat Gil's remaining 80 million. If so, the duration of Gil's suspension/jail time and the date of Leonsis' acquisition become very important.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | January 15, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"We have heard support from Steveneson, Jamison, Young but nothing from Butler. What's that tell you?"

Nothing, really.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 15, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

BRING BACK GILBERT!

Posted by: iamse7en | January 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I'll take a 1st round pick from Cleveland next year after LeBron leaves for Jamison - lol.

Problem is when the league knows you might be having a fire sale the other GM's are looking to get a bargain. Not really in a position of strength. But, I'm sure EG will use the tick tock of the deadline approaching to sweeten the offers he may receive. I'll be shock if two or three players are not gone by the trade deadline.

I'll also be shocked if the team does not at least attempt to void his contract. Pretty sure pleading guilty to a felony is enough grounds to do so.

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 15, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Arenas made an error in judgement, not a malicious act.

Very well said!!! So true!!! It's pathetic that Gil is being made an example! This is CRAZY!!! So many NBA players have done far worse this is just nuts!

BRING BACK GIL!!!

Posted by: Giorgos1 | January 15, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

TMZ.com reports that as soon as Gil plead he received a text from Wizards stating he is in violation of his contract & they will attempt to terminate.

WHAT A POS Ernie Grunfeld is... F Ernie!

http://www.tmz.com/2010/01/15/gilbert-arenas-pleads-guilty-to-felony-gun-charge/#continuedcontents

Posted by: tony325 | January 15, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Tony325---

You're misreading TMZ. It says that a Wizards official sent that test to him shortly after the incident itself (ie, in December). Not today after the plea. This whole thing is dramatic enough.

Posted by: Urnesto | January 15, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Our prayers and thoughts should be with the team and with Gilbert.

Posted by: maz3 | January 15, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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