Where are they now? A look back at the Gilbert Arenas-era Washington Wizards

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For most, Monday, October 31st went by, uneventfully. For Gilbert Arenas, the day marked the end of an era. The former, NBA-star turned pariah collected his final paycheck from the contract he signed with the Washington Wizards back in 2008.

The original terms of the deal were six years, $111 million, but the last year ended up getting deferred over an extra, two-year period. Arenas has been out of basketball since 2012.

NBA mega-contracts often end in headaches and regret for team executives, but Arenas turned sour in spectacular fashion. First, he missed all but two games of the subsequent season with an MCL-injury.

Everyone remembers what happened the following season. In January, 2010, Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton were suspended for their infamous, December gun-incident. The embarrassing-debacle will forever live in infamy for Wizards fans. The following season, Arenas and his monolith-contract were unceremoniously-dumped to the Orlando Magic.

In eight seasons with Washington, Arenas averaged 22.9 points a game. They made four-straight playoff appearances, starting in 2004-2005, but only advanced past the first round once (2005).

Throughout Arenas’ tenure, the team surrounded him with a rotating-cast of players. Here is a look back at a few of the faces, involved with the Wizards, during that run, as well as look forward to where they are now.

 

Abe Pollin, owner

Pedigree: The GW-graduate and construction contractor purchased the franchise in 1964, when they were the Baltimore Bullets, making him the longest-tenured owner in the league.

In 2008, Pollin made the decision to offer Arenas a max contract, rewarding the point guard for his past performance.

Where is he now?
Pollin was also the principle owner of the Capitals and Mystics. Sadly, he passed away in 2009, just shy of his 86th birthday.

Eddie Jordan, Coach

Pedigree: Before coaching, Jordan enjoyed a seven-year career in the NBA as a player. He was a defensive-stalwart, averaging 1.82 steals per game.

In 2003, he was hired to fill the Wizards’ head coaching vacancy, which he would hold until 2009. During that time, many players blossomed, under his tutelage.

Where is he now?

Jordan finished his Washington-tenure with a sub-.500 winning percentage, but led them to the post-season four times. Since then, he has made coaching stops in Philly, Los Angeles and – most-recently – his alma mater, Rutgers.

Caron Butler, small forward/shooting guard

Pedigree: Drafted 10th overall by the Miami Heat (2002), 2x NBA all-star. Butler overcame a rough childhood (he sold drugs at the age of 11) and got his life together when he discovered basketball. A grinder, Butler peaked in 2008, averaging 20.8 points and 6 rebounds.

Where is he now?

Effective, but never a true superstar, Butler bounced around the league, throughout his career. He also made stops in Miami, LA, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City and Detroit. He earned a ring with the Mavericks, in an injury-plagued 2011 season.

Nowadays, Butler – who studied business management at Duke – is now the owner of six, fast-food restaurants.

Antawn Jamison, power forward/small forward

Pedigree: 2x all-star, NBA Sixth Man of the Year (2004). Jamison was a stretch-four, before it became trendy (career .346% from beyond the arc). Statistically, he had some of his best seasons with the Wizards – including averaging a double-double in 2007-2008.

Where is he now?

Jamison was the other Wizard to receive an extension in 2008. Two years later they traded him to Cleveland. After a 16-year playing career, he now works as a TV analyst for the Lakers

Jamison has also been heavily-involved in the community, and has his own scholarship fund.

Kwame Brown, center

Pedigree: Drafted 1st overall by Washington (2001). Brown starred at his Georgia high school, and was ranked among the top, draft prospects. Then-team president Michael Jordan made the decision to take Brown with the number one pick.

Where is he now?

Brown struggled to live up to the hype, battling injuries and ineffectiveness, leading to his eventual trade in 2005. He is infamous as one of the biggest, draft-busts of all-time.

In August, Brown made the surprise-announcement that he is training for an NBA comeback at the age of 34. We’re not holding our breath.

DeShawn Stevenson, shooting guard/small forward

Pedigree: 20th overall pick by the Utah Jazz (2000). Stevenson went pro straight out of high school. In 2006, he signed for the minimum with Washington, and well-enough to earn a four year, $15 million extension.

Where is he now?

Stevenson won a ring with Dallas in 2010, playing effective-defense against LeBron James. He has been out of the NBA since 2013, when he was waived by the Atlanta Hawks. Most-recently, he made the news when it was reported he owes nearly $400,000 in unpaid, credit card bills.

Roger Mason Jr., shooting guard

Pedigree: 31st overall pick by Chicago (2002). The Maryland-born prep star blossomed in his second season in Washington, providing a deep-range threat off the bench. He finished his career, shooting .383% on threes.

Where is he now?

Mason’s pro-career seemed to suffer from bad timing. He was on good teams (San Antonio, Miami), but just missed the championship runs on both squads.

He retired and is now the deputy executive director for the NBA players union.

Etan Thomas, center/power forward

Pedigree: Drafted 12th overall by the Dallas Mavericks (2000). The Mavs traded Thomas to Washington before he had played a single game. There, he became a valuable role-player off the bench. He was particularly-effective on defense, averaging 1.3 blocks over a four-year-span (2003-2006).

Where is he now?

In 2009, Thomas was traded to Minnesota, in the swap that netted the Wizards Randy Foye and Mike Miller. The deal is memorable, because Washington also sent the Timberwolves the 5th overall pick, which the Wizards could have used to take some guy named Steph Curry.

As for Thomas, he played two more seasons before retiring. He has had an eclectic, post-basketball career. In 2011, he appeared with Gilbert Arenas in a Thornton Wilder play. Thomas is also a published poet. Currently, he is a blogger for the Huffington Post.

The other gunslinger

A sad epilogue cocludes this tale.  Things went downhill for Javaris Crittenton, after the fallout from the locker-room dispute. Out of a job, and without the financial-security enjoyed by Arenas, Crittenton was forced to the nether regions of basketball: the D-League and China.

The first incident was clearly an indicator of unfortunate things to come.  He is currently serving a 23-year sentence for manslaughter and aggravated assault.

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