After losing Baron Davis to the Clippers, the Warriors decided to throw a barrel of money at Gilbert Arenas in hopes that he'd want to return to the team that drafted him. They offered a max deal worth $100 million over five years, which ultimately paled in comparison's to Washington's offer of $127 million over six years.
In the end, Arenas decided to take a bit less cash ($111 million) from the Wizards to give them more flexibility, but had the Wizards tried to make that decision for him, he might have bolted for his former team. From Janny Hu of the San Francisco Chronicle:
"I was close to going back," Arenas said. "If (the Wizards) would have flinched any, I would have gone back to Golden State. ... My injury, they felt like they didn't have to throw any money at me because there was nobody there. And then they found out (Baron Davis) opted out and realized (the Warriors) were still looking at me.
It would have been fitting for Arenas to return to the Bay Area considering the Warriors never wanted him to leave. If you recall, the way the salary cap worked at the time prevented teams from going over the cap to re-sign a second-round pick, so the Warriors never had a chance to match the contract that brought Arenas to Washington in 2003. That loophole has since been amended with the creation of the Early Bird Exception.
In hindsight, though, perhaps the Warriors dodged a bullet. Can you imagine the feeling of dread you'd have right about now if you invested $166 million in a starting backcourt starring Arenas and Monta Ellis? Neither of those guys are expected to play a single minute before January, and nobody can guarantee without a shadow of doubt either one will be the same player he was before getting injured. Some things just weren't meant to be, and in Golden State's case, that's not always a bad thing.
Gilbert Arenas Almost Returned to the Warriors originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on Wed, 26 Nov 2008 17:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.