Although the New Jersey Nets are by far the worst team in the NBA, the club just ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings may be having a worse season based on an off-the-court distraction - one that will likely impact it for years to come.
Both players admitted bringing a gun or guns into the locker room - violating a provision added to the collective bargaining agreement in 2005 - after a dispute stemming from a card game on a team flight. Arenas pleaded guilty Jan. 15 to a felony gun charge after a confrontation with Crittenton at the Verizon Center.
More punishment may be on the way for Arenas, who is in the second season of a six-year, $111 million contract. Team president Ernie Grunfeld isn’t ruling out the possibility of voiding the remainder of Arenas’ deal.
“We’re still exploring all our options,” Grunfeld said. “We haven’t made any decisions up to this point. We’re seeing what we can do. I think it’s going to be a combination of many things to see which direction we go in.”
Washington lost its fourth straight Tuesday, 115-103 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Wizards players, though, insist there is still hope for this season without Arenas.
“We’re still going to compete,” said forward Antawn Jamison(notes), who said he has not asked to be traded. “We’re still going to go out there and play. We still believe that there’s a chance for us making the playoffs.”
The Nets (4-40) gave up hope of reaching the postseason long ago as they endure one of the worst seasons in NBA history.
New Jersey is coming off a rare victory, ending an 11-game skid with a 103-87 win over the Clippers on Wednesday. The Nets were tied with the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks for the league’s worst record after 43 games, and are trying to finish with a better record than the Philadelphia 76ers of 1972-73. That team went 9-73 for the worst 82-game mark in league history.
The Nets built their first double-digit lead at halftime since the season opener despite playing without injured starting guards Devin Harris(notes) and Courtney Lee(notes). Kris Humphries(notes) scored a career-high 25 points and Brook Lopez(notes) added 19 and nine rebounds.
“Did we need this?” Lopez said. “Are you kidding me? I mean we were 3-40. That’s not a tough question to answer.”
Harris missed his second straight game with a sprained right wrist while Lee was not feeling well after surgery to extract a wisdom tooth. Their status for Friday is uncertain.