By Michael Huberman
Struggling to find work in the NBA, former Wizards All-Star Gilbert Arenas may be looking to the Far East to secure a job. According to ESPNs Marc Stein, Arenas is considering playing in China this upcoming season.
The Los Angeles native had been working out in LA this summer in hopes of landing an invite to training camp with either the Lakers or Clippers. However, neither those two or any other NBA team has called, so Arenas has been forced to consider other options.
While China seems like a dramatic drop-off for a player who averaged 22.6 PPG just three seasons ago, Arenas has had well-documented issues both on and off the court. If he stayed in the NBA, Arenas would likely be looking at making the veterans minimum, while Chinese Basketball Association teams offer NBA players fairly lucrative contracts. During the NBA lockout, productive players like JR Smith, Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin left the US for China, knowing that the short Chinese season would allow them to earn money during the lockout. However, all three struggled with the cultural adjustment, and returned to the NBA when the lockout ended.
For Arenas, who averaged just 4.2 PPG last year in 17 games with the Memphis Grizzlies, China could either be a quick stop before a return to the NBA, or the last stop in the twilight of his career. If he does stay in China long-term, its entirely possible he becomes the next Stephon Marbury. Both are high-scoring guards, with outsized and marketable personalities. Marbury has since become a legend of sorts in China, leading the Guangdong Southern Tigers to the 2011-2012 CBA championship and embracing his Chinese fans. Knowing he may be reaching the end of the road, Arenas could thrive in China much like Marbury has done.
Whether he signs in China or fills out an NBA roster, its a far cry from when Gilbert Arenas was one of the NBAs best players.