No matter how outrageous or unrealistic, pick a lavish gift and simply hope Santa proves more accommodating than the parents. And in Arenas' case, one of his hopes reportedly involves signing with the Lakers after the Orlando Magic waived him through the amnesty clause.
But the Lakers should make a list, check it twice and realize Arenas is more naughty than nice.
The Lakers can't wax nostalgic on Arenas dropping a career-high 60 points against them when he played for the Washington Wizards in 2006. They can't afford to hold optimism that Arenas will suddenly become an NBA all-star again. They can't allow Arenas' L.A. hometown roots and Hollywood personality to convince them he'll fit right in with the Lakers.
The Lakers, as reported by ESPN.com's Mark Stein, "continue to give the impression that they're hesitant to launch into a Gil experiment." The Lakers need to continue thinking that way because Arenas hasn't been good for goodness' sake.
He may have learned his lesson after earning a suspension for most of the 2009-10 season for his involvement with Javaris Crittenton in having handguns present during a locker room dispute. But there are concerns that go beyond that unfortunate episode. The Lakers may not have to absorb a weighty contract, such as his $111-million deal, but there are many signs that he carries lots of baggage far heavier than anything Santa's carrying.
Thanks to multiple knee surgeries on top of the suspension, Arenas has managed to appear in just 117 of a possible 328 regular-season games since signing his monster contract. After the Magic traded for him 24 games into last season, Arenas averaged only 8 points on 34.4% shooting the rest of the way, a steep drop from his career averages of 21.2 points per game on 42.1% shooting.
At a time when the Lakers' roster remains unstable, banking on Arenas returning to full form proves too much of a risky venture. He remains unpredictable and, whether he intends to or not, could unsettle a fractured locker room even more. That's why for the Lakers' sake, it's good it appears they don't want Arenas to come to town.
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Photo: Gilbert Arenas is no longer the player he was in 2006 with the Wizards. Credit: Mark Avery / Associated Press