Arenas avoids jail time

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UPDATE 7:08 pm: Gilbert Arenas’ lawyer, Ken Wainstein, released this statement:

“Judge
Morin’s decision was fair and measured; it reflected a deep
understanding of the relevant facts … Mr. Arenas is grateful to the
court and looks forward to serving the community and once again being a
force for good in the District of Columbia.”

4:53 pm: The Washington Wizards released a statement on the Arenas sentencing:

“We are confident that he has learned something significant from the experience and we now look forward to moving on and focusing on building this team into the contender that our outstanding fans deserve.”

4:40 pm: WTOP.com has up some of the details from inside the courtroom.

“You have demonstrated genuine remorse and you’re basically a good
person,” Morin told Arenas.

Before his sentencing, Arenas cried to the judge and apologized for the
incident.

“I am very sorry. Every day I wake up, I wish it didn’t happen. I
thought by lying, I could protect those I consider family by taking a
fall. I know it wasn’t right. What I did that day was stupid.”

4:02 pm: If this had been an NBA game, Gilbert Arenas would have been jumping around at half-court, mobbed by teammates.

He won.

His sentence on gun charges in the District of Columbia is 30 days in a halfway house and two years probation. No jail time. It’s not like he gets off scott free, he also has to donate $5000 to a victims of violence fund, do 400 hours of community service and registration as gun offender.

However, Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin is not sending Arenas to jail.

Prosecutors had sought jail time, while Arena’s attorneys and the court’s probation office had argued for just probation. In the courtroom Friday, Arenas’ attorneys went on for more than half an hour, making a last second case to the judge. Morin split the difference between the requests with 30 days in the halfway house. If he violates his parole, Arenas would spend 18 months behind bars.

This is a lighter sentence than some observers expected. Arenas had a prior gun charge in 2003 in California, plus may have conspired with Javaris Crittenton to cover up the incident. That led some to think Morin would come down harder.

The punishments stem from the charges that Arenas brought guns into the Wizards locker room at the Verizon Center on last Dec. 21 to confront teammate Crittenton over a gambling debt. Arenas pled guilty in January to carrying a firearm without a permit, which is a felony.

There had been speculation the Wizards would use jail time as an excuse to void the four years, $80 million remaining on Arenas’ contract. That may be moot as the halfway house sentence does not appear to give the same pretext for voiding a deal. If the Wizards do try it (whether or not he had gone to jail) there will be an intense legal battle between the team and the Players Union.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has already suspended Arenas for the remainder of this season.

Russell Westbrook threw it down all over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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A rough night for the Thunder will not stop the Russell Westbrook highlights.

The Thunder had another poor game and fell to a Hornets. Westbrook tried to push the team back, but the Thunder defense that has kept them in games all season was not good enough against Charlotte, and the OKC offense was once again up and down.

Westbrook had 30 points on 22 shots on the night, and none of them were as impressive as this transition throwdown on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Jahlil Okafor excited about fresh start with Nets

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jahlil Okafor finally got the fresh start he wanted.

Okafor was the consensus No. 1 high school player in his class, won a national championship at Duke, and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds in his rookie campaign for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Then things changed drastically.

Okafor struggled with injuries and a logjam at his position in his second season.

“When I first got drafted there, we already had Nerlens (Noel) there, Joel (Embiid) was there, so we’re trying to have three starting centers on the same team,” Okafor said Monday at his introductory news conference with his new team, the Brooklyn Nets.

“It just never really was the right fit.”

The 76ers traded Okafor along with seldom-used guard Nik Stauskas and two draft picks to the Nets on Thursday. Philadelphia got forward Trevor Booker from Brooklyn.

Okafor also had off-court problems during his time in Philadelphia. He got a speeding ticket for driving 108 miles per hour and was suspended by the 76ers for two games after in an altercation outside of a Boston nightclub with a heckler.

“Speeding obviously is illegal,” Okafor said. “I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do. I guess you just learn how the page can turn on you and how everything can flip. I can’t really say I learned anything, because you know going in that’s not right. You just learn from your mistakes, but (it was) a tough thing that I went through, I got past, and I’m looking to better times now.”

Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, joins D'Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the same draft class, on the Nets.

“We’re just very excited to get on the court together,” Okafor said. “You never would’ve thought the number two and number three picks would be playing on the same team a few years after, but like I said, everything happens for a reason and I’m really excited.”

Russell also had problems on and off the court with the team that drafted him. He was criticized for recording a video of former Lakers teammate Nick Young that aired sordid details about Young’s private life. The Lakers gave up on Russell and drafted Lonzo Ball as his replacement.

“I feel like we’re similar in that we have a lot to prove,” Okafor said. “I know he’s working his (butt) off as well. Right now he’s rehabbing, trying to get back on the court. I think we both have a chip on our shoulder and we have a lot to prove. We’re definitely similar in that regard.”

Okafor understands he has areas to improve, mainly defense and rebounding.

“I’m not a perfect player,” Okafor said. “I’m 21. There are things that I need to work on, that I have worked on and that I’ll continue to work on.”

He’s excited about fulfilling his potential with a new team.

“I feel really motivated right now, but I’ve always been motivated,” Okafor said. “This is the first time where people are against me in a sense because I’ve always been the hyped-up guy. It’s something new for me to experience, so I’m glad that I am experiencing it.”

 

Report: Celtics’ Marcus Morris to miss “extended time” to let knee heal

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Marcus Morris missed the Celtics’ first eight games of the season in an effort to get healthy. Upon his return he’s been solid, first as a starter, then coming off the bench, but his left knee continued to be an issue.

Morris was out Sunday when the Celtics beat the Pistons, and he’s going to miss more time trying to get a troublesome left knee right, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

How much time is “extended time?” Probably at least a couple of weeks.

Morris has averaged 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game this season, with a true shooting percentage of 52.5, which is right around the league average.

This could mean more run for rookie forwards Semi Ojeleye and Daniel Theis, both of whom have played well in limited minutes.

Tristan Thompson expected to return to Cavaliers Tuesday, come off bench

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson could play for the first time since Nov. 1 on Tuesday against Atlanta.

Thompson has been sidelined with a strained left calf. The team initially said Thompson would be out for up to four weeks, but he said Monday that timeline was inaccurate and that his injury was more serious. Thompson did not divulge any other details about the injury.

Coach Tyronn Lue says Thompson will not start when he returns, meaning Kevin Love will remain at center. Thompson says he’s fine with a reserve role and made it clear he’s willing to do whatever Lue needs.

The Cavaliers have won 14 of 15 and their defense has improved dramatically over the past month.

Thompson says he’ll have the same mindset on the floor as always and “just be myself. Being myself has worked out pretty well for me.”