Wizards ready to embrace Gilbert Arenas, as if they have a real choice

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NBA_arenas.jpgTed Leonsis, the new owner of the Washington Wizards, wants to give Gilbert Arenas another chance.

He’s said it before, and he said it again during his introductory press conference Thursday. The brilliant Dan Steinberg at the D.C. Sports Bog (part of the Washington Post) has the quote.

“There will be a time when we should spend quality time with me and with Gilbert,” Leonsis said. “Gilbert is the biggest asset that the Wizards have in terms of contract. And statistically, if you looked at his contribution, he is a great player. Both as being a star, and also his productivity.

“And last year was a very difficult year for the organization, and for Gilbert and for just everyone around it. And so one of the first things I did was reach out to Gilbert. And we have had several conversations, and now we’re e-mailing back and forth.

“And it think it’s very important that Gilbert be re-embraced as a person and as a player. So suffice to say that Gilbert knows that the most important thing for him to do is to get in shape, and to be a great teammate, and to be a pillar of our community, and that he will show atonement. But his major deliverable is to come back and be a great part of this next generation Wizards franchise and what we’re trying to accomplish.

“And what I feel comfortable with is that we communicate very well, and he knows the expectations. And I kind of liked him, you know? And so that’s a first part of it, if you have mutual respect and you like each other and you can communicate. So I think we’re gonna be ok.”

Leonsis is being big hearted. He also really has no choice.

Arenas is owed $80 million over four years and nobody is taking on that contract. The Wizards are stuck with him. And he can still ball when healthy. He has played only 42 games in the last three years, but before the gun-related suspension last year he was scoring 22 .6 points per game and keeping up a solid shooting percentage considering the crazy amount of the offense he had to take on (a usage rate of 31.9 percent, which would have been in the top 10 in the league).

He could be a good fit along side John Wall. The Wizards are going to embrace him and pray that he can.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.