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 WASHINGTON (AP) -The Washington Wizards are committed to keeping Gilbert Arenas on the team, even after the All-Star guard said he planned to opt out of his contract.
Arenas told The Washington Post and The Washington Times that he will get out of the six-year, $65 million contract he signed in 2003 and become a free agent.
``As a three-time All-Star and one of the league's best players, we understand why a player of his stature would like to be compensated accordingly,'' Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement.
``Gilbert has made a significant impact with his exploits on the court and a sincere connection with our fans and our community because of his compassion and generosity. Gilbert has said that his intention is to remain with our organization and we are committed to having him spend his entire career as a Washington Wizard.''
Arenas said his motive was strictly business.
``To me, it's just a smarter business decision to play next season, opt out and then be able to sign a long-term deal that is going to keep me in one place,'' Arenas, who is recovering from left knee surgery, told the Post.
``I have children now and I want to make the right decision for them,'' he told the Times.
Arenas said he has no plans to hire an agent.

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