Gilbert Arenas gets it. Or at least he is portraying himself as getting it. Or he is some kind of crazy that shows the kind of clarity that just makes sense. Or he might be all of these combined.
Arenas is an interesting character. If you have not been following his twitter feed (@AgentZeroShow), you are missing out live-tweet analysis of the show Basketball Wives, his workout updates and his planking war with Dwight Howard. In between all that Arenas does a really good job responding to fans and answering there questions.
It was here where Arenas offered a moment of clarity as the lockout begins to set in:
"I read a(n) article yesterday that said I'm the poster boy for what the owners are complaining about ... I'm going to explain it in everyday terms. If i put a shoe on eBay and i spent $100 for it and now people are bidding on that shoe and two people push the bid to $200 but the shoe is only worth $100 ... don't get mad at the shoes get mad at the bidders.
"So if I'm a free agent and 28 owners say I'm worth 50 mil but two owners really want me and they start trying to outbid each other and now I'm worth 85 mil because they pushed the value of me up. And now other free agents have a maker to go by so players who are better then me have to getpaid more then me. So one bad contract sets the playing field for future free agents. So instead of attacking the free agent go after the real problem: The bidders.
"So if someone wants to give me 85 mil but im only worth 50, the 29 other owners should pull out their rolled upnewspapers and say 'BAD DOG' lol and start hitting. But they don't. So they want to make it seem like we're walking in there and taking their checkbooks and signing our own deals. Rich people can't control rich people so they attack the workers. If they come together and stop over spending on players then we wouldn't need a lockout. If i offered you guys 100 mil right now, 100 percent of you would say 'Hell yeah.'"
Arenas, often politically incorrect and horribly blunt, nails the lockout pretty clearly. This lockout is very much an issue of the owners trying to control themselves. Yes, players are overpaid in a lot of ways, but like Arenas said they are just going after what the market says they can make.
And like Arenas said, his contract -- you know, the one that has potentially more than $62 million for the next three years and is keeping the Magic from making any trades in what resembles an offseason right now -- is a symbol of what the owners might be talking about. When Arenas signed his contract, he was an elite player and one of the best scorers in the league. He earned his contract.
Then he tore his ACL. Tried to come back. Got suspended. Tried to come back again. And was traded to Orlando.
It has been a long journey for Arenas and even he would admit he is not worth his contract right now (I think he deleted that Tweet from a few days ago). He wants to be though. That is why between his tweets about community fireworks displays, planking and shoe giveaways, Arenas has been working out. From all accounts, he is committed to getting his knee healthy, because he knows that is the first key to his success during the next season.
Arenas and Stan Van Gundy cleared the air after the season. Arenas' frustration stemmed from his lack of freedom in the offense. He felt he was always looking over his shoulder and worrying about fitting into the offense. Arenas has been pretty adamant that he was successful when he had the freedom to make plays -- regardless of whether he is coming off the bench or not.
From all accounts, Arenas wants to earn his keep. He has said nothing about his early termination option in 2012 (yes, it exists) and what he might do if he feels he is not earning his contract after this season.
Arenas wants to play and play well. He does not want to be the poster boy for why the owners are keeping up this lockout. More importantly, he is very aware of his value in dollars and cents right now.
The question is whether Arenas is going to start earning his keep once the 2012 season begins.
Photo via DayLife.com.