This is officially the last front-page post about Gilbert Arenas' new contract. Jake's take is here, my rambling thoughts are here, and your takes are either here already or waiting to be placed there. But what do other key voices think of the contract? We know what John Hollinger thinks. What about others?
Michael Wilbon: For 111 Million, We Need More
Sooner rather than later we're going to come to the no-more-excuses portion of the program. This is the part where the key Wizards are expected to stay healthy the way highly paid stars ought to, where they actually play the kind of defense contenders play, where multiple all-stars gang up on supernovas like LeBron the way the Celtics did.
But in order for all these complementary players, role players and reserves to matter the way they should, the star has to be in place. That's the way it has been and probably always will be in the NBA. The Wizards have secured that player in their estimation. Arenas has no upcoming opt-out. There's no more testing the free agent waters. He is being paid an amount of money that doesn't seem discounted to the rest of us. It's time for him to listen to his coach, learn how to best use his teammates and take the Wizards deeper into May basketball, if not June. If he does that, he'll be worth $100 million-plus. If he doesn't, he won't be.
Tom Knott: Millions of Questions in Keeping Agent Zero
Gilbert Arenas was a difficult contract call and not merely because of a left knee that has undergone two surgical procedures in the last 15 months.
The rehabilitation of the left knee could be the least of the concerns with Arenas.
If Ernie Grunfeld is willing to bet $111 million on the complete physical recovery of Arenas, that is persuasive enough.
Grunfeld did not throw a bundle of the franchise's money to placate the team's fan base.
Those same fans who love Arenas today will not be so loving in the seasons ahead if the Wizards remain unable to win more than 41-45 games a season.
As it is, Grunfeld knows the team is mired in the one-and-done cycle of the playoffs, with injuries being the mitigating circumstance the last two springs. He knows a playoff berth no longer meets the expectations of a region that is desperate to have a serious winner in the NBA.
And he knows that anointing Arenas as the player who will lead the Wizards there is a loaded proposition.
Still, some Wizards insiders questioned whether the team was financially prudent in signing the 26-year-old Arenas to such an extraordinary contract considering Arenas has had surgery on his left knee in each of the last two seasons. While a fan favorite and legitimate all-star when healthy, he was considered an erratic distraction by some last season. "Gil does need to mature," Jamison said. "Cut out some of the crazy stuff."
None of that deterred Pollin and Grunfeld from retaining Arenas and Jamison to remain with Caron Butler and the rest of the cast for a fifth consecutive playoff run and a chance at loftier goals.
Dave Johnson on WTOP.com: Christmas in July
Gilbert has come out of his shell since then, and has given this town some incredible sports memories. Now with Arenas, the Wizards have at least a chance of bringing this town another NBA title. The Wizards without Arenas showed this year they could put together a little over 40 wins. With a healthy Arenas, along with Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, the Wizards have already shown they can contend for the Eastern Conference title.
Gilbert has come out of his shell since then, and has given this town some incredible sports memories. Now with Arenas, the Wizards have at least a chance of bringing this town another NBA title.
The Wizards without Arenas showed this year they could put together a little over 40 wins. With a healthy Arenas, along with Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, the Wizards have already shown they can contend for the Eastern Conference title.
This is a team content with putting rear-ends in the seats, grabbing some postseason gate receipt money, and hoping for the best beyond the first or second round of the playoffs. This isn't a team shooting for a championship, though their payroll may say otherwise.
This is, of course, entirely within Washington's rights. They're allowed to do whatever the heck they want with Abe Pollin's money, and with injuries and age and the pell-mell Eastern Conference, who knows what can happen once the postseason starts.
Still, if you're a fan of this team, you would seem to want a bit more than "who knows what could happen in a seven game series?" as the mantra handed down from on high, heading in 2008-09.
...even at this supposedly "discounted" rate Arenas is still vastly overpaid and it is questionable how much the Wizards will be able to do with that $16 million, an amount that could do a lot of good in the real world but does not necessarily give the team that much ability to significantly upgrade the roster. I commend Arenas for making that gesture but I still maintain that with him as the featured--and highest paid--player the Wizards will not get past the second round of the playoffs.
Good for Gil, good for the Wiz and good for us. They/we got our man, and for market value too (Golden State had offered five years and $100 million, which comes out to $1.5 million more per season).
And before you complain-blog about "keeping intact a mediocre team," and blaspheme this brilliant managerial move towards stability...keep in mind that this team has yet to truly harness their combined worth...while the big three were intact, the Wiz were in first place, and while the Wiz were in pieces, they beat the vaunted best team in the league. (Jamison in particular was beasting on the "intense" Garnett) Maintaining the structure of a first-place team is something that highly-approved team-constructors do.
Put any other reactions you find in the comments section.