Gilbert Arenas' guns may not have killed anyone, but they are killing his bank account. The Wizards guard, who has been suspended indefinitely without pay by the NBA and could face having voided the $82 million left on his contract, now has lost another major income resource in his endorsement deal with adidas.
It can't be mere coincidence that adidas is partners with the NBA and has its logo exclusively on all official league merchandise. The move by adidas - which made the decision shortly after the former all-star entered a guilty plea to a felony gun possession charge Friday in District of Columbia Superior Court for bringing four guns to the Wizards' locker room at the downtown Verizon Center in December - could suggest that the NBA plans to drop a heavy hammer on Arenas once the investigation is completed.
"In response to Gilbert Arenas' guilty plea to felony charges, adidas has terminated its agreement with the athlete effective immediately," spokeswoman Stephanie Von Allmen said in a statement. "Beyond this statement, we have no further comment at this time."
Arenas signed an eight-year, $40-million deal with the three-stripe brand in 2003. The deal already has paid him $30 million for the first six seasons, but Arenas has to consider the potential future loss because the deal was expected to be renewed in 2011. He had been one of the brand's top NBA endorsees, along with Dwight Howard and Tracy McGrady.
To this point, David Stern has handed down only the indefinite ban; pushed by Billy Hunter and the players' union, Stern will have to put a timetable on the suspension after the legal proceedings are over. It seems a given that Arenas is done for the season, at the very least. But considering the fact that so many NBA players - and professional athletes - own guns, Stern might want to make an example out of Arenas to ensure this situation never happens again. Be sure it will be a topic of conversation in collective bargaining, which is expected to begin next summer.
The next issue to be resolved is Arenas' future with the Wizards, who could void the remaining four years and $82 million of his contract and really impact a player who is only 29.
The Wizards already have gone to great lengths to visually eliminate any connection between Arenas and the franchise. Signage with Arenas' likeness was removed from the Verizon Center, as were his jerseys from the team store. You can't even order a customized Wizards jersey on NBA.com and use Arenas' name on the back. Actually, you can't even get a Knicks jersey with Arenas' name on the back. Instead, you get "Your current entry cannot be processed. Please try again."
And to think ESPN already is trumpeting New York as the place where Arenas will get his second chance. The Knicks could do worse, especially if LeBron James decides to stay in Cleveland. Arenas fits a need at point guard and could work very well with David Lee in that pick-and-roll.