After nearly a fortnight of coverage, the ongoing speculation about Gilbert Arenas appears to have finally come to a close. In a blunt statement on the Sharks official website, the organisation acknowledged that terms have been offered to the American- and baring something very dramatic- the one year contract will be signed and will cover Arenas for the 2012/13 CBA season. The deal arrives just in time for Shanghai’s first game away to Beijing on Saturday.
Momentum started to gather this afternoon when a Sharks official reportedly confirmed that the Arenas deal had been completed. The agent of Elijah Millsap, the player who would have been axed to make room for the former Washington Wizards point guard, then himself confirmed that his client would be leaving Shanghai as a result of Arenas’ finally agreeing on terms.
The arrival of the former All-Star is a real coup for the Sharks but one that was only made possible after the American’s contract talks with the Guangdong Tigers collapsed . Although Shanghai had already got their two overseas players for the year, increasing concerns about Millsap’s suitability within Coach Panaggio’s system and the availability of an evidently talented big name forced the Sharks to reconsider their options.
With Arenas now effectively a Shark, Millsap will now have his contract bought out as per a clause in his deal. A few figures have been quoted in the Chinese media as to how much this will cost but given the accuracy of these very outlets in recent days with regard to the Arenas deal, citing any of them seems to be a big reach- basically, it sounds like a six-figure sum will be involved to get Millsap off the books.
One of the main reasons behind the prolonged discussions was the Sharks desire to be sure of Arenas’ health. With a somewhat lengthy injury history, there was concern that the American could be relied upon to last a full season. Ye Xiangyu, the Guangsha Lions’ general manager even weighed in on the matter by saying that she thought there was no way Shanghai would sign Arenas if he wasn’t able to play starter’s minutes. Having looked at all the charts and scans, the Sharks evidently decided they could take that risk.
Arenas, who has only started two games since he infamously brought guns into the Washington Wizards dressing room in 2009 , now has the chance to be a critical part of an organisation once again whilst the Sharks are suddenly the talk of the CBA.
Moreover, Shanghai, well aware of the chaos that big name free agents like JR Smith and Kenyon Martin wrought last season, will have thought about this signing carefully and would not have brought in Arenas unless he was willing to be a team player within a young dressing room.
Arenas himself has been appeared keen to play in China and his $700,000 salary is probably below what he could have asked for and as he is still only thirty years old, a strong season in the CBA could return him to the NBA in March for a greater payday.
All said and done, this is an excellent bit of business for both sides and all that remains is the season to finally get underway.