Sunday , Jan , 06 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Message For Gilbert Arenas: Don’t Return to Washington Wizards This Season

I’ve got a message for Gilbert Arenas: don’t do it. Don’t rush rehab. Don’t rush back from a second knee surgery to play this season. Don’t put your career at risk. Take this year off. Proceed with caution. Go to Maui for rest and relaxation. Just return in September, 2008 …

Message For Gilbert Arenas: Don't Return to Washington Wizards This SeasonThe AM Take: I’ve got a message for Gilbert Arenas: don’t do it. Don’t rush rehab. Don’t rush back from a second knee surgery to play this season. Don’t put your career at risk.

Take this year off. Proceed with caution. Go to Maui for rest and relaxation. Return in September, 2008. 

Forgive my bluntness. Only desperate pleas register with the talented and stubborn Arenas. We’re dealing with the NBA’s most eccentric and determined individual.

Arenas’ confidence and grit is why he’s successful. At the University of Arizona, he wore the number zero because the coaching staff told him he’d get zero playing time. Of course, he became a freshman sensation, lighting up the NCAA with his scoring.

Same deal with the league. The NBA hated on his size and combo guard game. He slipped out of the first round before eventually getting selected by the Warriors. Arenas then proved everyone wrong by giving Golden State a great season and a half of play.

As an unrestricted free agent, Arenas flipped a coin, signed with the Washington Wizards instead of the L.A. Clippers, and became a top player and personality in the nation’s capital.

Now, after two knee surgeries in less than a year, Arenas must ignore temptation. He must avoid his instincts and kybosh the Rocky-in-Russia training routine.

No 3am workouts. No hoisting a thousand jumpers per day. The Wizards, even with Agent Zero, aren’t making the Eastern Conference Finals. Think long-term. Pack this year in Gil. Lose the battle. Win the war.

Something else is at work. Arenas can opt-out of his contract this summer. Despite the injuries, he’s maintained he’ll exercise the provision and become an unrestricted free agent.

Could this be driving his desire to return? I hope not.  Arenas’ market value has declined because of the injuries. Teams won’t give a max contract to a star with a wonky knee.
 
Arenas should play next season in Washington. It’s the final year of his contract. If healthy, he’ll be an All-Star. His contract would expire July, 2009. By then, Arenas will have re-established his market value and can cash-in as an unrestricted free agent.

Gil, you’ve heard my advice. Park the Hibachi for the rest of this season. Your career and next contract depend on it.

Rest or return? What should Arenas do? Get at us in the comment box below or hit us up in our .

The AM Take is Oly’s morning thoughts on the NBA. All errors can be attributed to the time and his need for another cup of coffee. Click here to get his AM Take each morning and subscribe to his blog.