Let's make one thing very clear. Gilbert Arenas' announcement should not be a shock to anyone. This is not the same as Kobe, who clearly is miffed by Lakers management. Gilbert is not acting like a malcontent, and he's not looking to be traded. He's simply hoping to maximize his own market value, just like so many other have done. The Wizards still have the best chance of signing him, and they were probably going to give him a raise anyway.
But something still seems kind of off about this whole saga. It's not even the timing, which I questioned earlier. After thinking about it more, I realize Gil could have picked a worse time to bring this up, like, say, if the Wizards started losing next year, or right before training camp. At least management now knows what to plan for when improving this team. The disconcerting this is that, because Arenas is representing himself, we have no idea what he's thinking.
Consider the statements he made to the Post and the Times, as I Want to be a Sports Agent does.
Here's what he tells Ivan Carter of the Post:
Then, he turns around and tells John Mitchell of the Times this:
Aren't those two comments a complete contradiction? They sure as hell sound like contradictions to me.
But why would Arenas tell two different papers in the same market two different things? One theory is that this is just Gilbert being Gilbert and speaking his mind without thinking. That seems to be what Carter thinks.
Another theory is that Gilbert himself could be confused. He knows that opting out will make sense, and he knows he likes playing in DC, but he also knows that the Wizards have been running in place for three years, and that he's getting impatient.
The final theory, however, is the scariest. It's entirely possible that Gil knows exactly what he's doing and is saying two different things to hide what he really wants. As Jake said in the comments section yesterday:
Why is this the scariest theory? Because this raises the possibility that Gilbert will completely screw the Wizards over. The Wizards would then be at the complete mercy of Gilbert, because we have no idea what's important to him. Gil has all the leverage, and the Wizards front office has no idea what could make him cave.
Each of those three theories are somewhat disconcerting. If this is just another example of Gil being Gil, how does that help the Wizards front office understand his demands? If he's legitimately confused, it clouds his future even further. If he's being manipulative, that raises the possibility of the Wizards making the wrong move.
Either way, this could become a real problem down the road. What happens if the Wizards struggle at the start of next year, and they aren't much better than before by the time the trade deadline rolls around? What if they again lose in the first round of the playoffs? What if Gil reaggravates his injury, and the Wizards suffer without him? How can the Wizards front office possibly read his thoughts?
So for right now, this isn't a big deal. If the Wizards improve significantly, it also won't be a big deal. But it's clear that Gil's going to be a confusing guy to work with. We probably already knew that, but in case it wasn't clear, the way he made the announcement provided all the confirmation we needed.