Gilbert's Vendetta Against Flip Saunders
At this point, if the Wiz wanted to hire a coach against whom Gilbert Arenas has never declared a vendetta, they'd have to pluck the video assistant from Red Star Belgrade. So take all this with a grain of salt. Still, it turns out that Gilbert once had a vendetta against Wiz coach-in-waiting Flip Saunders, and thus declared that he wanted a piece of Detroit in the '06 playoffs.
"Yeah, because we only played him nine minutes" in the All-Star game, coach Flip Saunders said with a smile after Thursday's Pistons practice, repeating what he had heard Arenas say.
Saunders mentioned he played Pistons guard Rip Hamilton just over 13 minutes in the Feb. 19 game. "Maybe Rip doesn't want to play for me anymore, I don't know."
That was before a mid-March game that season; Gilbert responded with 34 points and six assists, but told the Washington Times it wasn't because of any vendetta. "When I looked at the [All-Star] roster, I knew I wasn't going to play a lot of minutes," Arenas said after that game. "I'm not holding anything against him."
Sure. Since here's what he told the L.A. Daily News that same month:
"You say (the selection) is about winning, and my team's above (Boston's) Paul Pierce and (Toronto's) Chris Bosh, yet somehow they get in and I don't,'' Arenas said. "They contradict themselves."
And here's more, from right after the Pistons game, via the AP:
Arenas said his teammates were fired up because of his ongoing revenge tour against Eastern Conference coaches, who as a group didn't select him for the All-Star game. Arenas made the All-Star game only as a late injury replacement, and he played the fewest minutes of any East player. Detroit coach Flip Saunders was the East's coach. "I said that I was going to get Flip back," Arenas said. "My team was behind me, they were ready to go. Easy way to get them riled up."
Of course, that all didn't stop Saunders from floating Gilbert's name as an MVP campaign the following season, during which Gilbert torched the Pistons for 36 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds in one game.
"Everybody talks about MVP," Saunders said in that season. "You've got (Steve) Nash, you've got (Dirk) Nowitzki, but if you put anybody in the league on his team, I don't know if they'd be where they're at without him...."He's always played with an edge. The first couple of years, he was trying to prove - he was a second-round draft pick - that a lot of people made a mistake by not taking him. Everyone in the league quickly became familiar and knew that he was one of the fastest guys in the league from end to end with the ball. He has the ability to shoot with great range and pretty effortlessly and he's go the ability to get to the hole and get to the free-throw line. He's an extremely difficult player to defend in one-on-one situations."
There are also times where Arenas talked about how Flip was a great coach, and anyhow, Arenas is now a mature 27-year old who never plays mind games with NBA coaches. By the way, anyone have any idea if he's playing tonight? Ed Tapscott?
On the plus side, rumored Flip assistant Sam Cassell has played with Gilbert at Barry Farms. See above.
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