Report: Gilbert Arenas to sign with Guangdong Southern Tigers in China
By Ben Golliver
Fresh out of second and third chances domestically, Gilbert Arenas is reportedly poised to head overseas.
Arenas, who was suspended for the majority of the 2009-10 season after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards’ locker room following a gambling dispute with then-teammate Javaris Crittenton, is close to signing a one-year contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, Yahoo! Sports reports. He would join former NBA players Stephon Marbury and Tracy McGrady, among others, who are already playing in China.
A departure for China would signal, almost certainly, the end of an 11-year NBA career that began with promise, included three All-Star appearances, and hit a high point when Arenas averaged nearly 30 points per game for the 2005-06 Wizards. He seemed destined for a long run at stardom when at 25 he was named to the All-NBA second team in 2006-07, but he would miss most of the following season with knee problems. It was all downhill from there.
Arenas, 30, spent the 2011-12 season coming off of the Memphis Grizzlies’ bench, averaging 4.2 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 17 appearances. Robbed of his athleticism by multiple knee surgeries, Arenas never found a sturdy role in Memphis’ rotation and the Grizzlies’ backcourt youth movement this summer — drafting Tony Wroten, signing free agent Jerryd Bayless and trading for Wayne Ellington — made it clear they were going a different direction.
Many observers believed Arenas would never get the chance he did with the Grizzlies. A close relationship with Otis Smith, then GM of the Orlando Magic, helped Arenas land a second chance with the Magic after a December 2010 trade, but Arenas didn’t make much of an impression in Florida, and the Magic waived him using the amnesty clause in December 2011.
Known for his quirky, Internet-friendly personality and constant pranking of teammates, Arenas holds career averages of 20.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. He earned more than $119 million in NBA salary.