Is Gilbert Arenas gun deal much ado about nothing?

Is that all there was?

For all the hysteria it provoked, the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton incident now looks less like the Gunfight at the NBA Corral than the comic duel in "Love and Death," between Boris Grushenko (Woody Allen) and Count Anton Inbedkov, rivals for the notorious Countess Alexandrovna.

Scary as it is to see children play with guns, it doesn't look like the two players drew on each other, as reported only by the New York Post and recycled endlessly.

In a comprehensive report based on two eyewitness accounts, the Washington Post's Mike Wise wrote that Arenas placed three unloaded pistols in Crittenton's cubicle with a note that said, "Pick one."

Crittenton reportedly wadded up the note, got his own gun, loaded it, even chambering a round - but didn't point it at Arenas.

According to Wise's account, both players appear to have treated it as a joke, throughout.

Nevertheless, in the Age of Hysteria, the image of players pointing guns at each other may be the one that endures.

Personally, I'll remember Gilbert pretending to shoot his laughing teammates in a pregame skit and a mushroom cloud going up over the league office.

With the Gunsmoke scenario dominating the papers, you could see where Arenas, whose sense of humor is out of control, anyway, might think it was funny.

With all the furor, you could see why Commissioner David Stern let Arenas start his vacation early.

If it lasts all season, it will cost Arenas $9.9 million, enough to have chartered an ocean liner for the time he's away.

It was actually timely for the Wizards, who needed to break up this team two years ago, rather than give Arenas an $111 million deal coming off back-to-back knee surgeries.

For the NBA, emerging from the Auburn Hills and Tim Donaghy embarrassments,this went from a calamity to a farce. In the age of steroids, mistresses selling their stories to tabloids and bent referees, farce isn't that bad.

Get your red-hot Wizards: If they're about to break up that gang of theirs, here's how it looks:

•They would love to dump Arenas, but with four years worth $80 million left, he's the least tradable player they have.

•At 33, Antawn Jamison still can average 20 points (he's at 21.3 now along with 8.2 rebounds). The Cavaliers are dying for him, hoping the Wizards will take Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his expiring contract to cut their payroll.

Caron Butler is having a bad season and doesn't fit with Arenas. His contract - one year after this at $10.6 million - is pricey but not crazy.

Mike Miller, recovered from a calf injury,is a good player on an expiring contract. He's going somewhere, during the season or after.

Randy Foye has the same deal as Miller, which was why the Timberwolves traded them.

Brendan Haywood's not bad, if you can't get a good center. He's on an expiring $6 million contract and probably headed elsewhere.

•As for Andray Blatche, picture a bigger, more talented Tim Thomas who doesn't see himself as an inside player. The Wizards still may see him as their future.

Nick Young is still really talented. The Wizards still hope he will grow up.

•Talented, young 7-footer Javale McGee will need a year or two and rarely plays. Other teams keeps asking for him and the Wizards keep saying no.