Wizards star Gilbert Arenas faces up to six months in jail after pleading guilty in Washington, D.C. court to carrying a pistol without a license.
Arenas, 28, who created a firestorm in the NBA by bringing four guns to the team locker room last month, will be sentenced on March 26 after appearing in Superior Court to answer the felony gun possession charge. Having waived his right to a jury trial, Arenas leaves his sentencing in the hands of judge Robert Warren.
Legal experts say that Arenas, 28, could end up getting a sentence of 30 to 90 days after reaching a deal with prosecutors. However, his conviction in 2003 in California for illegally possessing an unregistered firearm, with accessible ammunition, could lead to a six-month sentence.
"He accepted full responsibility for his actions, acknowledged that those actions were wrong and against the law, and has apologized to all who have been affected by his conduct," said Arenas' attorney, Ken Wainstein, in a statement released after the hearing. "Mr. Arenas appreciates the professionalism of the authorities handling this matter."
Wainstein says prosecutors agreed they won't seek a sentence longer than the low end of sentencing guidelines. A pre-sentence report isn't done, but it's estimated the low end calls for no more than six months behind bars.
Arenas was suspended indefinitely without pay last week by the NBA for his involvement in his locker room confrontation with teammate Javaris Crittenton.
The NBA, which had investigators at the hearing to aid in their probe of the case, had no immediate comment and might not have a ruling Friday on what they will do with Arenas.
Once a player enters a plea or is convicted, then the league steps in to levy its punishment. Several sources said that the league will banish Arenas for the rest of the season. The Players Association will fight a season-ending suspension, according to executive director Billy Hunter.
Although the Wizards could try to void the remainder of Arenas' contract, his guilty plea to a felony is not considered serious enough to have his contract terminated.
The Arenas case rocked the NBA, which was horrified by Arenas' behavior after the incident. He joked about the incident and even play-acted shooting teammates with a gun during a pre-game huddle in Philadelphia.
As a result of Arenas' actions, Stern levied the indefinite suspension by declaring Arenas "not currently fit to take the court" and said Arenas' conduct will "ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse."
The three-time All-Star has admitted to storing four unloaded guns in his locker at the Verizon Center, a violation of the league's rules. He said he wanted to keep them away from his young children and didn't know he was in violation of the city's strict gun laws. He says he took them out of the locker Dec. 21 in a "misguided effort to play a joke" on Crittenton.
Crittenton, who is out with a foot injury, makes $1.47 million this season and is unsigned for next year. Although he reportedly had a gun and loaded the chamber during the dispute, police failed to find a weapon when they searched his residence on Thursday.
Stern levied the indefinite suspension by declaring Arenas "not currently fit to take the court" and said the 28-year-old player's conduct will "ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse." Stern has not yet taken any action against Crittenton, 23, who is out with a foot injury.
Arenas and Crittenton reportedly drew their weapons over a gambling dispute. Crittenton also was alleged to have loaded his gun, although he has maintained his innocence.
The Wizards might seek to void Arenas' contract, which has four years to run at $80 million. This season, he was making $16 million.
Crittenton makes $1.47 million this season and is unsigned for next year.