Friday, January 22, 2010
Updated: January 23, 10:45 AM ET
Sources: NBA to detail Arenas ban
By Chris Sheridan
NEW YORK -- Gilbert Arenas will know his fate -- at least in terms of how long he'll be suspended from the NBA -- by the end of next week, ESPN.com learned Friday.
Multiples sources said the wheels were already in motion for the Arenas case to take its next turn, although the question of whether the Wizards will subsequently attempt to void Arenas' contract may remain unanswered.
One source said Javaris Crittenton, the other player involved in the now infamous handgun incident in the Wizards locker room last month, will have closure in his case, too. Crittenton has been under investigation by authorities after he allegedly chambered a round in his handgun during the standoff with Arenas.
Definitive penalties for Arenas and Crittenton would then be announced by commissioner David Stern, possibly as early as Wednesday, one source indicated.
The developments came as Derek Fisher, president of the NBA players union, said he wants a number attached to Gilbert Arenas' suspension, saying a bad precedent would be set if Arenas' "indefinite" suspension remains indefinite much longer.
The NBA has concluded its own investigation of the incident, and a comprehensive report on the episode was expected to be submitted to Stern by the end of this week.
Friday night marked the 10th consecutive game Arenas missed since Stern suspended him indefinitely for his behavior in the aftermath of the incident in which Arenas brought four handguns into the Washington locker room, and Crittenton allegedly responded by pulling out a handgun of his own and chambering a round.
Arenas has since pleaded guilty to a felony weapons possession charge and awaits sentencing March 26 in the District of Columbia. His sentence could range from probation, community service and a fine to a maximum of five years' imprisonment.
Removing the "indefinite" tag and putting a defined number on the length of Arenas' suspension will be a welcome development for Fisher, who said the union has been growing increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of Arenas' suspension remaining indefinitely indefinite.
"I don't know if there is a magic number of a certain amount of time, but I do think it's something we have to keep an eye on, because I don't know if it's about fair or unfair, but if it sets the right precedent to indefinitely suspend someone and just kind of keep it hanging without putting a name or title or number on it and moving on from there," Fisher told ESPN.com prior to the Lakers' game against the Knicks.
"[Union director] Billy [Hunter] has been consistent with his message and his tone of really kind of waiting until the NBA comes out with what their position will be going forward, and until then we can't respond. But I do know that we're definitely keeping an eye on the indefinite part of the suspension, because I think everyone agrees that there will be a punishment that will fit the crime or the mistake he made, and what that should be, I don't know if anyone knows exactly, but hopefully we'll find out."
Fisher said he had no opinion on what a proper punishment would be, because no player has ever been penalized under the gun prohibition clause that was added to the league's labor agreement in 2005.
"It's never happened before, so there isn't anything you can match it to, per se," Fisher said. "If I was commissioner? Well, I'm not privy what he has to balance, what all is at stake in terms of what message he sends to fans, to sponsors, to team owners. So there's a lot more on his plate to contemplate before he makes a decision. We respect that process, but from a union perspective we have to protect the short term and long-term rights of our members, and when members do wrong things or make mistakes, they'll be rightfully punished, and we're just here to make sure that that doesn't go beyond what it should be under the circumstances."
Chris Sheridan is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.