What is the Gilbert Arenas Rule?

The Gilbert Arenas Rule helped a lot of teams after its introduction.

Gilbert Arenas was a problem in his prime.

He was one of the best clutch shooters –much like Damian Lillard– in the NBA and when he got hot, there was no stopping him.

Arenas played a modern type of game, where he shot a lot of threes (attempted 7 per game), but was also adept at shooting the mid-range and attacking the basket.

He was big and strong and athletic and there weren’t many point guards that could defend him when he drove downhill.

Between 2004 and 2007, his All-Star and All-NBA years, he averaged 27.7 points on 43 percent shooting.

However, as great of a player as he was, the Gilbert Arenas Provision has nothing to do with his game.

(So, I guess talking about his skills was kind of pointless. Sorry for wasting your time. Anywhoo…)

It wasn’t a rule created by the league to curb his dominance, much like how the NBA created rules to make the game more difficult for players like Charles Barkley or Shaquille O’Neal.

Rather, it is a rule that deals with player contracts.

This rule was created in 2005 to help teams retain restricted free agents who didn’t come off of standard rookie contracts (i.e. players who signed 2-year rookie contracts).

It does this by forcing rival suitors to only be allowed to offer players coming off of these types of contracts an amount that doesn’t exceed the incumbent team’s non-player mid-level exception.

The History of the Gilbert Arenas Rule

So why is this rule named after Arenas?

Well, it’s because his situation was the most high-profile one.

He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the second round in 2001 and wasn’t expected to produce much. And that seemed to be the case in his first season with the team.

He played 25 minutes a game and scored 11 points per. He was sub-par (or as the kids today like to say, he was “mid”).

But in his second year, in 2002-03, his skill level took a big leap and he averaged 18 points on 43 percent shooting. He also played and started in all 82 games that season.

As a result, he won the Most Improved Player of the Year award that season.

But more importantly, the Warriors now envisioned him as part of their future. It was his contract year and they planned to bring him back.

However, there were other teams who also wanted him in their future.

So when free agency came around, many teams made offers. But the one that caught Arenas’ eyes was a contract from the Washington Wizards.

They offered him a six-year $60 million contract and he agreed.

But since he was a second-round pick coming off of a two-year rookie deal, he didn’t have Bird rights and the Warriors couldn’t match the offer.

That contract was too expensive for them; they didn’t have a salary cap for it.

So, he joined the Wizards and had a fantastic career with them.

And this was the event that triggered the creation of the Gilbert Arenas Provision, which was introduced in 2005.


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