Washington Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, in discussing the trade of Gilbert Arenas to Orlando earlier Saturday, said of the relations between the player and the team of whom he became the face for the better part of a decade, "We're leaving on good terms.''
Hopefully that goes for the rest of the Wizards' beaten-down fan base and the rest of the D.C. metropolitan area.
Oh, it was time for him to go, no doubt. And who knows how to answer a Magic fan or an Orlando resident asking, "So, what should we expect from this guy?'' Expect? No one could expect with certainty that the trade that seemed so inevitable 11 months ago would happen this week, much less anticipate anything produced by the over-fertile imagination of Gilbert, the self-proclaimed "goofball.''
Over a span of seven years, nobody expected this one-time second-round draft pick, entering the NBA seemingly too early after two seasons at Arizona, to tag himself "Agent Zero'' or "Hibachi,'' or make jersey-tossing a sacred ritual, or be the centerpiece of a downtrodden franchise ... or, for that matter, relieve himself in a teammate's sneaker, bring guns into the locker room as a "joke,'' then push the humor meter further with the most infamous pregame huddle routine in league history.
Arenas is an original, in the NBA, in sports and in life. And as he approaches his 29th birthday in three weeks (and joins his third, and by far best, organization), it's still not crystal clear whether that originality is for better or worse, for him, his team and the league.
Honestly, though, most of the locals who have ridden the Gilbert rollercoaster are likely in agreement on this: they are grateful for what he was and what he did as a Wizard and hope he figures it all out in Orlando. Not many will be mad if he and his game are the perfect fit there, he settles into his role, and wins the way he came perilously close to winning in Washington.