After meeting with Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas on Wednesday, NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton without pay for the rest of the season for their involvement with having handguns present during a locker room dispute last month.
Lakers guard Derek Fisher, president of the NBA Players Assn., told the Daily News' Elliott Teaford that he and association Executive Director Billy Hunter today "will have a chance to talk about it and decide what course of action should be taken."
The Washington Post's Michael Lee reports in the linked story at the top of this post, however, that Arenas was informed of his fate during that meeting and that he told the players association not to contest the decision. ESPN's Marc Stein and Chris Sheridan add that Arenas told Stern during the meeting that he deserved the season-long suspension.
The weapons were not registered in Washington, D.C., and the guns being present at the Verizon Center violated NBA rules. Just recently, Crittenton learned he will serve a year of probation after pleading guilty for a misdemeanor gun possession. Additionally, The Times' Mark Heisler says that the incident turned for the worse before the Wizards' game in Philadelphia on Jan. 5 when Arenas participated in a pregame skit with teammates pretending to shoot one another.
It's been said that this whole incident wasn't as serious as the New York Post initially reported, which said both players pointed guns at each other. Nonetheless, the incident yielded serious consequences for obvious reasons. Arenas' 50-game suspension is the NBA's third most severe suspension not involving drugs, behind Ron Artest's 86-game suspension for his role in the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2004 and Latrell Sprewell's choking of Warriors Coach P.J. Carlesimo in 1997 that ultimately resulted in a 68-game suspension. Meanwhile, Crittenton's 38-game suspension is the league's fourth highest. Before this incident, Stephen Jackson's seven-game suspension for his felony count for criminal reckless driving and firing seven shots near an Indianapolis strip club in 2006 counted as the league's longest suspension for a gun-related offense.
Barring further incident, Stern told reporters in a conference call that Arenas and Crittenton would be eligible to play next season without preconditions, but Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix wonders which team would pick them up.
Lakers links (after the jump)