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Gilbert Arenas' joke could lead to the 'Bonfire of the Wizards'

Mark Heisler goes coast to coast in the NBA.

January 17, 2010

Bonfire of the Wizards

Day 27 of Gilbert Held Hostage . . . .

With sentencing put off until March, the prosecutors got what they needed, insisting Gilbert Arenas plead guilty to a felony, not a misdemeanor, recommending only six months in jail.

That must be the difference between getting busted in the District of Columbia and the suburbs, like Cleveland's Delonte West.

West was charged with four misdemeanors for carrying two loaded handguns and a loaded shotgun on his motorcycle, may beat jail with his bipolar history and is playing, amid no controversy.

With Arenas now universally inconvenient, media people who doted on him dive out of his way. Adidas dropped him.

If his suspension lasts all season, he'll lose $9.9 million and the Wizards could try to void his contract.

For a dumb joke with four unloaded guns, I'd say justice has been served, or over-served.

As far as posing a threat to society, it's safe from Arenas, who's a problem only for his teams.

Voiding his contract wouldn't have come up under the late Abe Pollin, the kindly owner who gave it to Arenas, who had just sat out a season.

Now the Pollin family is keen to distance what it calls "the legacy of Abe Pollin" from this season.

Meanwhile, if they can't dump $8 million in salary, incoming owner Ted Leonsis' first official act this summer will be forking over that amount in luxury tax.

This won't just be a fire sale, but the Bonfire of the Wizards.

They have no shot at trading Arenas, but everyone else is available to be gift-wrapped.

They could even make the Antawn Jamison-Zydrunas Ilgauskas deal, donating their best player, lone grownup and Abe's favorite to Cleveland for a backup center on an expiring contract.

Not that the rest of the conference is worried, but this could be the Pau Gasol Trade of the East, shoring up the Cavaliers for a year or two . . . long enough to keep LeBron James in Cleveland.

That makes this the dumbest joke that ever threatened to abort a career and change the balance of power.

In this league, that's saying something.

Who ya gonna call?

New York's Jared Jeffries, who averages 4.5 points, and Eddy Curry, who didn't play, told the New York Daily News they couldn't sleep the night before their 106-88 loss in Oklahoma City after hearing ghost stories about their hotel.

Thunder center Nenad Krstic then told the Daily Oklahoman he thinks his team's hotel in Milwaukee is haunted. Krstic: "I don't really believe in [ghosts], but when you hear stories and you're by yourself in your room and you need to go to sleep, it's not very comfortable."

Any night light makers want an NBA hookup?


The Spurs won in Oklahoma City as Manu Ginobili drove to the hoop, remembered he was 0 for 10, and hit teammate Antonio McDyess in the back with a bailout pass.

With the ball heading out of bounds, Ginobili dived over the baseline with arms outstretched like Superman flying two feet off the ground, reached the ball before it landed among the photographers and whipped it back to George Hill, who passed to Richard Jefferson, who made the game-winning shot with 9.1 seconds left in overtime.

For one of the great messed-up plays ever, search for "Ginobili Oklahoma City" on YouTube.

-- Mark Heisler

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