Where Are They Now, 2010; Part 7
January 7th, 2010

Gilbert Arenas was suspended indefinitely today, where “indefinitely” is implied to mean “for the rest of the season at least.” I don’t really have an opinion on that, apart from to state the obvious. Which I won’t do.

But here’s one thing to note; the financial repercussions of the suspension.

Disregarding the possible voiding of the contract for a moment – I’m not a lawyer and won’t profess to understand all the technicalities behind this – the suspension impacts the Wizards’ current salary situation too. As things stand, the Wizards are about $8 million over the luxury tax threshold, and with no obvious means of getting under it. The players they want to dump (Mike James, DeShawn Stevenson) are undumpable, and they have nine players earning $3 million or more, tied with Portland for second in the league (the Knicks have ten). But this suspension gives them a means with which they can get nearer to getting under it.

50% of money not received by players suspended by the league is deducted from the team’s number for tax calculations. If a player loses an even $1 million in salary through suspension, then a team can deduct $500,000 from their luxury tax calculations. So by being suspended, Arenas has inadvertently aided the Wizards in their previously futile quest to dodge the luxury tax.

One thing I don’t actually know is whether salary lost due to suspension is calculated based on games or days missed. It doesn’t make a huge amount of difference to the general point though. So far in the season, 71 days have passed (not including today), and the Wizards have played 32 games. Therefore, regardless of whether you use 32/82nds of Gilbert’s $16,192,079 salary ($6,318,860) or 71/170ths ($6,762,574), the fact remains that the suspension will cost Gilbert over $9 million if it is season long.

So if Arenas is indeed suspended for the remainder of the season, the Wizards will get about $4.5 million nearer to dodging the luxury tax. At that point, it becomes attainable.

How do the Wizards feel about this? Happy, surely. Must be. They needed to blow the team up because they built a bad one. They were losing, woefully underachieving, ill-fitting and WAY over budget. They mismanaged it badly, spending money badly and wasting basketball assets, compiling an inefficient roster of shooters and sulkers, and they were the most fail franchise in the NBA. Even more so than the 3-31 Nets, who at least had a plan and some youth. Now, they’ve gotten an out clause. The Lord had mercy. Not sure why.

Sucks for the fans, though. The fans always are the victims. Sorry, people. Maybe next year.


Andrew Betts

Betts is in Greece playing for Aris Thessaloniki. He is averaging 8.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in the EuroCup, alongside 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in the Greek league. At age 32, Betts is not the player he once was, but he’s still got a lot of love to give.


Patrick Beverley

Heat draft pick Beverley is with Olympiacos. He started the year on the bench, played a bit, then moved to the inactive list as the team is only allowed to suit up six non-Greeks for every Greek league game. Beverley became the inactive list guy in late November, yet fought back to win the spot from Von Wafer, and ended up playing decent minutes for a couple of weeks. But then he was returned to the bench, as Olympiacos continue to have a rotation as consistent as Spencer Hawes. On the season, Beverley is averaging 4.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.9 steals in 17 minutes per game in the Greek league, along with 3.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 1.0 steals in 13 minutes per game in the EuroLeague.


Tyrell Biggs

Pittsburgh graduate Biggs is also in Greece, as a team mate of A.J. Abrams, Kasib Powell and the insatiable Mark Dickel at Trikalla. His season to date has been pretty poor, however, averaging only 6.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 20 minutes per game and shooting 36% from the field. If you need a 36%-shooting power forward who grabs 4.6 rebounds per 40 minutes, then Biggs is your man, but you probably don’t need that. Biggs was great in high school, so much so that he was a member of the Under-18 USA National team. But since then, not a whole lot has gone right.


Nemanja Bjelica

I’ve tried not to mention too many upcoming draft prospects in this list; if I was going to do them all, I would have spent a good 14,000 words or so declaring my undying love for Dogus Balbay already. But Nemanja Bjelica is one that I will cover, mainly because I don’t quite get it.

On the season, Bjelica is averaging 5.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 fouls and 1.6 assists per game in the Adriatic League for Crvena Zvezda, alongside 6.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 fouls and 1.2 assists in the EuroCup. I have seen two EuroCup games of his this season, as well as multiple times in international competition for Serbia. And either I’m only catching him on bad days, or this guy is not the next Toni Kukoc after all.

For all his supposed ball-handling skills in a 6’10 frame, Bjelica never actually does much ball-handling; more than anything, there’s lots of standing in the corner, and very few touches. He defers the ball-handling to the better ball-handlers, which is kind of noble, yet also worrisome, because there always are some. He’s not a very good shooter, is slender, and is offensively awkward. Can’t say I see the intrigue here, really. Not until he refines his skill to the point that he can actually be a mismatch.


Joseph Blair

Blair has not played since March 2009 when he left Spartak St Petersburg. In the season up until that point, he had averaged 8.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 1.5 apg in only 24 mpg, with the season’s major highlight being his initiating of a brawl that to 16 players being ejected. Somehow, Joseph was not one of the 16. Good times.

I don’t know whether he’s retired, injured, or just out of work. What I do know is that neither of his websites work any more; both and now both redirect to a picture of this blonde:

EDIT: Retired, apparently.


Lavell Blanchard

Former Michigan standout and Raptors signee Blanchard is in the Ukraine playing for Khimik. He averages 17.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in the EuroChallenge, alongside 13.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the Ukranian Superleague. I like the way some leagues like to prefix the word “league.” Gives it a slight dictatorial whimsy to it.


Corie Blount

Still in prison.

It’s hard to know for sure, but Corie Blount seems to have a Twitter account. On it are no Tweets, but there IS a picture of a man that looks decidedly like Corie Blount wearing a sombrero. Happy about that. But is it the best potentially-real NBA player Twitter account out there? No; that honour belongs to James Posey, whose only two tweets are pretty divine.


Tony Bobbitt

After two years out of the game, Bobbitt reappeared in the D-League this season. For the expansion Maine Red Claws, Bobbitt is averaging 8.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 20 minutes per game, shooting 44% from the field, 46% from three-point range and 93% from the foul line.

Despite a jury’s recommendation that the man who killed Bobbitt’s mother in a premeditated murder should be given the death sentence, the judge overruled the decision and instead sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole. I’ve never written that before.


Dejan Bodiroga

Bodiroga, who retired in 2007, was the general manager of Lottomatica Roma until recently. He left the team in June 2009 and is currently a candidate for the vacant role of President of the Basketball Federation of Serbia.


Calvin Booth

Booth spent last between Sacramento and Minnesota, for whom he put up a PER of 39.8. God bless one-minute sample sizes. He is now retired, if not officially, and is trying to get a post-playing basketball career going. Booth is in the NBA Players Association Coaching Program, and attended the Reebok Eurocamp on his own dollar, to enhance his knowledge base and his credentials as a scout. What all this crescendos to, we’ll wait and see.



Will Blalock

Blalock is in the D-League, a teammate of Bobbitt’s at the Maine Red Claws. He got back into the NBA this October as a training camp invite of the Nets, but he never stood a chance of making the team due to the Nets’ contract situation, a contract situation which is also currently preventing them from trading Eduardo Najera’s 2010-unfriendly contract to the Mavericks. For the Red Claws, Blalock is averaging 6.3 points, 5.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 turnovers in 24 minutes per game, while struggling a bit with his weight.

But there is a reason for all of that.

In last year’s Where Are They Now series, I wrote the following:

Will Blalock averages a piddly 5.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists for Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck.

In the summer, I wrote this:

……while Will Blalock is very much a point guard, I don’t think the answer to the Pacers’ point guard problem lies in a man who averaged 4.5 points and 2.1 assists in the German league last season.

And at the start of training camp, I wrote this:

He spent the 2007/08 season mainly in the D-League (with a brief Israeli flirtation in there somewhere), and then he spent last year in Germany, where he averaged 4/2 for Quakenbrueck. That means he’s gone from 4/2 in the German league to a spot on an NBA roster. Strange times.

What I was too busy being flippant to notice was that Will Blalock had a stroke in March 2008. I keep my ear pretty to the ground and have almost no life outside of basketball, yet somehow I did not know about this. It seems to have gotten MSM coverage at all, and while this article carries the story, it wasn’t written until over a year after the fact. Therefore, the news completely bypassed me until Jonathan Givony told me about it yesterday.

Sorry, Will Blalock. And congratulations on your comeback thus far.

Also, there’s some good news in there somewhere. Blalock is not what he was – yet – but he has returned from a stroke to play professional basketball to a pretty good standard. Another former NBA player to have had a stroke was Juaquin Hawkins, who suffered one in January 2008 while playing for the Gold Coast Blaze in Australia. He returned to play in Australia the following season, and also played in the IBL this summer. He was not as good as he was before the stroke, but that might well be explained by the way he just turned 36. The downward progression in his statistics is pretty normal for a man of that age.

This, therefore, should be good news to former Wizards and Hornets big man James Lang, who suffered a stroke only six weeks ago. Those two have returned to play the game coming back from the same ailment as he. And so for Lang, it’s not over either.

Posted by at 5:43 PM