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Report: Arenas Lost $60K, Could Face Grand Jury

Jan 4, 2010 – 2:27 PM
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Anthony Olivieri

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Gilbert Arenas
The alleged gun showdown between Washington Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton was spawned by a gambling debt owed to a third player, JaVale McGee, according to Mike Jones Sports.

The blog by a former sportswriter from the Washington Times reported that both Arenas and Crittenton had lost money to McGee on Dec. 19, when the trio played a high-stakes card game on the team plane on the way home from Phoenix.

According to Jones, Arenas bailed on the game after a dispute over its rules, leaving Crittenton to pay the pot. The blog did not specify how much money was owed, but the New York Post reported Monday that Arenas' losses totaled $60,000.

Jones said that Crittenton was displeased -- wouldn't you be? -- about having to assume Arenas' debt and tried "earnestly" to get Agent Zero to pay up.

The Post, however, took it one step further, suggesting that there was a dispute over the nature of Crittenton's payment to McGee. Crittenton saw it as a loan to Arenas despite voluntarily picking up the tab, the newspaper said.

The incident continued at practice on Dec. 21, when Jones reported that Arenas took four guns -- weapons that the star guard said he brought to a locked box at the Verizon Center to keep from his children -- and placed them on a chair near Crittenton's locker with a note that said 'pick one' attached.

Despite Arenas claims that it was a joke, Crittenton didn't see it that way, the blog said. Crittenton reportedly took one of the guns and threw it across the room while exclaiming, "I have a gun of my own," before the confrontation was defused.

The incident was relayed to Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld, who then reported it to the league office. Jones reported that Grunfeld, in the immediate wake of the situation, considered voiding what remains of Arenas' six-year, $111 million contract that was signed in the summer of 2008.

Grunfeld, though, calmed after hearing more details about the incident, according to the blog. The team is waiting for the U.S. Attorney's office, D.C. authorities and the NBA to rule on the incident.

Citing sources, TMZ reported Monday that there is a plan in place to convene a grand jury to determine whether the Wizards' duo will be charged with crimes. The gossip site reported that Washington head coach Flip Saunders and a team security official will be called as witnesses in front of the D.C. grand jury, which has its cases presented by the U.S. Attorney's office.

The report said that the grand jury may be convened as early as Monday.

Arenas, for his part, has commented on the situation via Twitter, where he has downplayed its seriousness and accentuated his penchant for constant goofiness. No one, it seems, is laughing.

D.C. gun laws, by most accounts, are among the toughest in the country -- meaning that, if the authorities don't see the humor in the situation, Arenas could be staring at a felony. It remains possible, however, that it will be determined that no harm was meant since the guns reportedly were unloaded. Such a determination likely would amount to a slap on the wrist in the form of a fine and/or community service.

Either way, Arenas likely will be hit with a stiff penalty from NBA commissioner David Stern, who has had little patience for such image-tarnishing behavior, especially since the Ron Artest melee in Detroit just over five years ago.

Arenas' aforementioned cap-clogging contract still could be voided, according to Jones, thanks to a morality clause within each NBA player's contract. There are a lot of ifs, ands, buts and wait-and-sees before this incident is over.

One thing is for sure: The Wizards have become a dysfunctional group on and off the court.
Filed under: Sports