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Thursday, November 29, 2007

NBA Barometer: No Joy in Wiz-Ville

(Originally published on

The NBA lost one of its most entertaining players – and one of fantasy hoops' superstars – when Gilbert Arenas suffered another knee injury last week.

Arenas' progress in rehab will be one of the most interesting hoops stories of the next three months or so. Reading between the lines of Arenas blog on, we get the vibe that he thinks he was cleared to play before he was really ready. Any hint of distrust between Arenas and the Wizards' medical staff is significant; Arenas has an opt-out clause in his contract that will allow him to test free agency after the season if he so chooses. If the Wizards fall out of contention, Arenas may decide not to risk his health – and his possible fat free agent contract – playing out the string for a loser. The chances of him testing free agency would seem to increase exponentially if he thinks the team is putting his long-term health and earning potential at risk.

On the other hand, he might feel the need to come back and drop a few 40s and 50s down the stretch, just to show potential suitors that his knee is 100 percent.

In the meantime, look for the rest of Arenas' Wizards teammates to pick up the slack – and there's a lot of slack to go around. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler will get the most immediate boost, but they're not available. Antonio Daniels might be – and Arenas' injury makes Daniels a highly-productive assist man as Washington's starter.

Another Wiz to watch is Andray Blatche, who showed enough skill and potential replacing Antawn Jamison late last season and Brendan Haywood more recently to merit some additional run.

Read the full article, and all of this week's upgrades and downgrades, on (subscription required).


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