Ernie Grunfeld: Wizards Will Bring Gilbert Arenas Back Next Season


WASHINGTON — A day after Gilbert
was sentenced to 30 days in a halfway house for bringing guns
into the Washington Wizards' locker room, team president Ernie Grunfeld
reaffirmed that Arenas will be back with the club next season.

"We're not going to void his contract.
As I've said all along, he's going to be with us," Grunfeld said
Saturday night before a game against Utah. "Gilbert is a part of this
organization, he's part of our team, and he will be back with us next
year. I think people forget that he's still one of the best players in
this league."

Arenas avoided jail time for the
offense, instead receiving a sentence that also includes two years of
probation, a $5,000 fine and 400 hours of community service.

"I think this verdict brings a certain
amount of closure to the situation, and it's going to allow us to move
forward and focus on the rest of the season," Grunfeld said.

Grunfeld said he had not talked to
Arenas recently, although he spoke to Arenas' father this week. However,
Grunfeld said he expects to sit down with Arenas for a conversation "in
the near future."

Washington coach Flip Saunders also
said he did not talk to Arenas after the sentence.

"I think right now the best thing is
now that they've come out with a verdict, now he can move on," Saunders

Although Grunfeld was confident Arenas
will be with the Wizards next season, there is some question whether
Grunfeld will remain. Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is expected
to finalize a purchase of the team soon, and Grunfeld was asked if he
expects Leonsis to keep him on in his current capacity.

"I think I'm pretty good at what I do.
I have a pretty good track record at what I do, and we'll see when new
ownership takes over what happens," Grunfeld said. "If you look at what
I've done here and the other places I've been, I've rebuilt several
teams many times over. It's a good challenge, and I'm looking forward to

Washington entered Saturday with a
21-50 record and a team-record 14-game losing streak.

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